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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Annotating Online: Reading and Writing the Web (Apps)

Annotating Online: Reading and Writing the Web

February 7, 2014

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like today’s students are being asked to read more nonfiction and compose more “informational” writing than ever.

The NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts advocate for classrooms where students gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of print and nonprint sources (Standard #7). The Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard for Reading (#1) asks students to “cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.” The CCSS Anchor Standards for Writing (#7-10) stress that students need to be able to conduct short and more sustained research using multiple print and digital sources and to participate in shared research projects.

If your students are like mine, most of them are doing the majority of their research online. And, if yours are like mine, they could use a little help. I’ve found that my students appreciate being introduced to tools that help them manage and organize the information that they’re finding. The good news is that there is a plethora of new tools available. Recent IRA TILE-SIG blog posts have touched on some useful applications for annotating online text. In “Using Apps to Extend Literacy and Content Learning,” Jill Castek discussed the app DocAS, as a way to mark up reading materials to show students’ emerging ideas. And in “Literacy Practices Through the UDL Lens, Part 2,” teacher Monee Perkins noted that her seventh grade students use Adobe Reader’s annotation feature to address complex text and provide them with another representation for text commenting.

I’d like to add a few online annotation tools that I’ve used in my teaching and in my own research that are worth a look.