Annotation. A New Learning and Collaboration Tool

How many times have you read a book, or an article, and used your yellow high-lighter to mark up important passages, or used sticky notes to post comments? Or even written notes in the margins? I’m sure many of us have done this to support our learning and prepare for tests.

A few weeks ago Terry Elliott, who I met through the Making Learning Connected cMOOC (#CLMOOC) introduced me to on-line annotation, and a tool called

Today I spent an hour listening to Terry and a few others talk about another annotation tool, called Below is the video of Google Hangout is below.

As a result of listening to the Hangout, I followed a path of learning, to several other web sites:

First I went to the Vialogue page where participants were holding a live chat while the Hangout was taking place.

That pointed me to Joe Dillon’s “learn, teach, repeat” blog article.  Joe was the moderator of the Hangout.

In addition, the Vialogue pointed me to this article on a blog titled “Keven’s Meandering Mind” which I’ve been following for several months.

Kevin’s article encouraged readers (and me) to read this New York Times article about annotation, which provides many strategies for applying this process in classroom learning, and real world collaboration and problem solving.

The Hangout took place the day prior to the 2016 State of the Union Address, and it’s goal was to encourage people to participate in a group annotation of the SOTU speach, using  Many did, and here’s the link.

Terry, Kevin, Joe and the other Hangout participants, as well as the people I’ve met in the Making Learning Connected cMOOC, are all educators. I understand how they see this as a powerful tool for motivating students to dig deeper and engaged with what they are reading, line by line, and word by word.

I’ve participated in a few MOOCS like the #CLMOOC since 2013, and sadly, very few educators from Chicago and other big cities seem to be participating.

However, my focus is expanding the network of adults who help kids succeed in school and in life, beyond the adults the meet in a classroom, or their immediate family.  Thus, while I see very few educators in these on-line learning communities, I see even fewer people who are leaders, volunteers, donors and/or board members with the various tutoring and/or mentoring programs operating in Chicago and other cities.

I wrote an article about Hospitals as anchor organizations a few weeks ago and showed how Terry was annotating articles I’ve written.

Using and to do annotation is one way to learn and collaborate.  In another article by Terry Elliott I found this screencast, in which he was highlighting information on a blog article by Bryan Alexander which is a mega-list of different podcasting platforms.  What a fantastic way to share what one person is reading and learning with thousands of others.

My goal in sharing these articles, and this information, is that others will take time to read my articles and share them with others.  Imagine if a volunteer, or a student, from every non-school tutoring, mentoring and after school club in Chicago, or other cities, were reading this article, annotating it, digging into the links I point to, and sharing all of this with others at his/her location.

Perhaps hundreds of volunteers would begin to draw students into newspapers, blog articles, text books, etc. to support their own habits of deeper learning, collaboration and idea sharing., Imagine if those students began to take those habits into their schools and classrooms, demonstrating their greater learning to teachers and peers, and sharing the tools they were using to learning, and pointing to this blog, and the sites I point to, as their reference material.

Imagine how many lives we might transform. 

Note: One of the reasons I wrote this article was to create a single reference point for me to include in this section of the Tutor/Mentor Web library.  Occasionally I’ll add links to new sites focusing on annotation,  using the comments box. Feel free to add links that you’re aware of using the comments, or using an annotation platform.