How to use social annotation in the classroom

Want to make online readings a little more engaging? Social annotation (SA) may offer one solution.

SA tools allow students to highlight and comment on online course materials, sharing questions and ideas with each other as they read. When used effectively, they can help boost student motivation, reading comprehension, and more. And students seem to like them: our lab’s research suggests they see these tools as useful for learning and for building community in the classroom.

If you’re curious to try social annotation but unsure how to start, check out these two introductory videos. The first is a basic introduction to social annotation: what it is, how it works, and how to use it to enhance learning. The second offers simple instructions for how to use Hypothesis—a popular SA tool—for online reading.

Introducing Social Online Annotation

A basic overview of what social annotation is and how it works. To skip ahead to what you should do with SA, jump ahead to min 10:45.

How to use for Social Online Annotations

An overview of how to use one popular SA tool: Hypothesis. Watch the whole video or skip ahead to a specific section:

  • Creating an account – 0:40
  • Add to your browser – 1:20
  • Add to Google Chrome – 2:17
  • Joining a Group – 3:35
  • Making an annotation – 4:00
  • Formatting annotations – 5:24
  • Adding a hyperlink – 6:30
  • Adding an image – 8:08
  • Adding a video – 9:28
  • Replying to an annotation – 9:57
  • Annotating PDFs – 11:07
  • Annotating PDFs that are on your computer – 12:30

Find out more about social annotation on our blog or check out the research study here.