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Week 2 Overview: Participate and Share

(Image by Michael Dornbierer / Creative Commons)

During week 2, we will start to dig into our own inquiries about digital writing and learning, participation and sharing. We will do this by:

  • exploring the ways of approaching and sharing inquiries into practice;
  • continuing conversations raised about what it means to participate in the digital age;
  • becoming resource creators within NWP Digital Is and exploring the possibilities;
  • considering the ways and means of supporting and sharing your inquiry online through curation.

Task Discussion

  • Joe Dillon   March 21, 2012, 3:53 p.m.

    Here is an activity that I planned to use at a workshop I was giving recently on 21st Century texts. As things turned out, I had more planned than we needed and I pitched this activity. Later I posted it in my blog and even had a few people create an example and add to the Prezi. 

    .prezi-player { width: 550px; } .prezi-player-links { text-align: center; }
  • Tellio   March 20, 2012, 10:12 a.m.

    Here is a reflection on the NWP main site on week two of our course together here at P2PU.  Thanks to all of you for opening up so many doors. 

  • KevinHodgson   March 19, 2012, 6:18 a.m.

    Richard Byrne (at Free Tech for Teachers) just posted this: Three Tools for Students to Collaborate on Research. But the sites fall right in line with some of our discussion around tools for collecting and curating, too.


  • Janet Ilko   March 18, 2012, 12:56 p.m.

    I would define myself  "a lurker" as my middle school students would say about participating on this site these past two weeks.I haven't posted much, butI have read so many interesting posts and comments and the discussions and links continue to take me back to the fundamental  idea of currator, and what that means. It has been floating around my brain all week.

    Indeed, the idea of giving our students the opportunity to be curators of their own learning is intriguing to me, yet always a challenge in my classroom.

    So I looked up the definition of curator on


    [kyoo-rey-ter, kyoor-ey- for 1, 2; kyoor-uh-ter for 3] Show IPA
    the person in charge of a museum, art collection, etc.
    a manager; superintendent.
    Law . a guardian of a minor, lunatic, or other incompetent, especially with regard to his or her property.
    Now teaching my eighth graders this week, I find definition 3 particularly interesting especially in regards to some digital footprint issues this week, but I digress.
    I don't think we can truly teach in a classroom where students can have full access to curate their learning, although I strive to give them relevance and choices. Do my biases show in the materials I select to present to my students, how could they not? It is a good question to keep in the forefront of my mind as I select things to enhance a classroom lesson, through what lens am I presenting this information and why?
    I am such a beginner in this digital world. I was on Twitter this morning, following a discussion from Bud Hunt about digital textbooks from a conference he is attending.
    The future of education will be filled with curation,another wrinkle to the puzzle will be the use of digital "textbooks" and the redefinement of that whole concept. What we do with that responsibility in the age of testing and accountability is something else to consider entirely.
    So as usual, more questions than answers, but imporant things to continually discuss and consider.
  • Christina Cantrill   March 21, 2012, 10:10 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Janet Ilko   March 18, 2012, 12:56 p.m.

    Hi Janet! We are excited that you are here, in what ever way works for you to be here, and that you also posted to share your thoughts too.

    The bridge between the conversation here around curation and the conversation happening in other spaces around textbooks is very valuable I would say -- a key question we all need to think more about together. So thank you for bringing that into the discussion! There is enormous energy behind digital textbooks now -- from corporate to federal to open source and everything in-between -- so as Bud prompts us to do, let's really get clear about how we are defining the terms we are using first, ie. "resource," "textbook," even "curriculum. "

    It's an important discussion. We would love it if you wanted to share this connection and your reflections on your students learning and your teaching further too (no pressure, of course ... just a thought since it could be a great next step as we are in the "share out" part of our third week! :)

  • Kim   March 16, 2012, 8:58 p.m.


    These are some tentative thoughts--not fully formed yet...

    I'm particularly intrigued by the power/censorship aspects of the role of curator.  it leads my thinking back to why diversity becomes so important (in my opinion) in our lives.  My hopes are that no one person/perspective is responsible for curating resources (digital or otherwise) and that the interaction of different collections has the potential to broaden our view of possibilities.

    Makes me think of my role as writing project director.  If I were the sole curator of resources for TCs, that would be scary--but with a diverse leadership team contributing different collections, we offer a wider view of what teaching can and should be.  BUT--as a project we have to make intentional efforts to be and stay diverse to guard against narrowing to a single mindset/view.

    One of the beautiful parts of my co-teaching situation in my classroom is that my students get at least two views since the two of us curate the classroom--and then work to open possibilities for our students to add to/contribute their own collections.  

    One of the reasons I like Twitter is that I can follow a variety of people with differing interests and perspectives--I get a glimpse of lots of views and resources.  Of course, I did curate my own list...

    Clearly more thinking needed...

  • Troy Hicks   March 17, 2012, 3:37 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Kim   March 16, 2012, 8:58 p.m.


    Your closing comment -- "Of course, I did curate my own list..." -- becomes increasingly important as we think about how and why we create our personal and professional personas in Twitter, Linked In, and other networks. Do we end up following the people that we would want to hear anyway ("similar to...") or do we actively seek alternative opinions? How do we help students consciously choose to seek different perspectives?

    It is telling, perhaps, that in these times when the internet opens us up to the entire spectrum of political, philosophical, and personal opinions -- not to mention the variety of sources that report data -- we seem to be further and further caccooned in our own echo chambers. It reminds me that my social media stream needs, ideally, to mimc the best of what we would hear in the balance of ideas and opinions from a trusted news source like NPR


  • KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 2:58 p.m.

    This is a completely different angle of thinking here, but as I was doing some writing about what it means to be a curator of digital information -- and how that role is important for focusing a reader's attention on the flow of materials -- I had this thought of the "dark side" of curation, too (cue soundtrack).

    I'm not sure if I can articulate this in a way that makes any sense, but it seems to me that one potential problem with giving someone the authority to cull and gather information  on our behalf is that what they may leave out of their curated piece is completely biased by their own judgment of what is important or not, right? The curator has all the power, all the agency. The reader/viewer is given a highway map with no sideroads shown, and little indication that they may exist.

    Which is not say we don't ramble those byways anyway (we do), but as we talk about the potential of the curator of digital information as a way to lead to new thinking and new experiences, we need to acknowledge the opposite may be true in some cases as well. I was mulling over this thought in the lens of some teachers who want to limit exposure and information for students, and they could be considered digital curators, right? (follow this link and stay there, then follow this link, stay there, etc ...)

    We don't want curation to become censorship.


    And now back to the regularly scheduled program ...



  • Troy Hicks   March 17, 2012, 3:26 p.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 2:58 p.m.


    Your concerns here are important, as I think that I referred earlier to Eli Pariser's idea of the "online filter bubble." In other words, the algorithms and Facebook and Google are curating for us, whether we like it or not. So, your concern that a human, particularly one who has malicious intent, might "curate" materials in a certain manner (bordering on censorship) is a very real threat.

    Also, there is the legal/ethical/academic questions surrounding content that is curated. How to we ascribe attribution to what it is we have mashed-up, remixed, pinned, or otherwise borrowed? This "The Curator’s Code: A Standard for Honoring Attribution of Discovery Across the Web" is one idea that came across my RSS this past week. (Although, I couldn't tell you who sent it my way as I found it through my Twitter feed, through Flipboard, then forwarded the link to myself as an email.)

    Hence, what are we obligated to do as curators? What about with materials that are curated for us? Should I be able/obligated to tell who helped connect me to an online resource?

    All smart things to think about as we teach our students to be both critical consumers, thoughtful curators, and creative producers of web content.


  • Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:24 p.m.


    In thinking about my own inquiry questions related to digital literacy, I am currently quite interested in the idea of "curation": what does it mean to "curate" materials? Is curation a literacy skill/habit of mind on par with creating or evaluating materials? What are the legal and ethical issues related to curating content from one website and placing it on another (given the recent concern over Pinterest's End User License Agreement)?

    As a digital reader and writer, I think that "curation" is a natural part of what we do. We follow the digital breadcrumbs of others and also leave our own trails. Some of us do this with Facebook or Twitter, and our trails may weave all over from status update to status update. Others may use tools like Evernote to gather all kinds of digital detritus and organize it in some reasonable fashion. Still others use social bookmarking and tagging tools (like Diigo), citation managers (like Zotero), and online poster boards (like Pageflakes or Stixy). Lately, more and more people are interested in tools that are designed for curation of websites, like and Pinterest. 

    With all of these choices, the question remains: what is a curator to do?

    I think that there are a few questions that we, as curators of content, can ask to help us choose the best tool for the job. While I hesitate to categorize tools in narrow ways, and I recognize that setting things up on a continuum is sometimes not as useful a strategy as we want it to be, I offer a few possible extremes to analyze the usefulness of these tools, based on the "free" version. Of course, as users pay for more services, there are more possibilities for how to use them:

    • Private to Public: the extent to which users can create private content (for their use only) through publicly available work, usually accessible from a standalone URL
    • Social to Academic: the extent to which a tool is meant to be used for sharing links for social networking purposes as compared to citing sources in an academic manner
    • Personal to Collaborative: the extent to which a tool is functional for only one user, to a small group of users, to completely public and collaborative
    • Standalone to Integrated: the extent to which a tool is separated from or integrated in to the web browser. For instance, having an "add on" or bookmarklet allows a tool to be fully integrated into a web browser. 
    • Proprietary to Open Standard: the extent to which data is stored within the application as private and unaccessible as compared to being available for download or transfer via an open web standard such as XML. 

    I am sure that I will develop some more categories as I continue to write this, but for the moment it is a good start. Over the next few days, my hope is to analyze a few of the tools mentioned above (and, perhaps some more that you all can recommend), and discuss the ways in which these tools match up along these lines. What categories should I add, refine, or delete?

  • Tellio   March 15, 2012, 11:51 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:24 p.m.

    Just a quick response for now.  Some interesting definitions from the OED.


    1. One who has the care or charge of a person or thing.

    2. One appointed as guardian of the affairs of a person legally unfit to conduct them himself, as a minor, lunatic, etc.; used in Roman Law, esp. for the guardian of a minor after the age of tutelage; hence a current term in Scotch Law.

         1651 Hobbes Leviath. i. xvi. 82 Mad-men that have no use of Reason, may be Personated by Guardians, or Curators.   

    3. One who has the cure of souls;  

    4. A person who has charge; a manager, overseer, steward.  

    5. The officer in charge of a museum, gallery of art, library, or the like; a keeper, custodian. In many cases the official title of the chief keeper.

    I especially liked the Hobbesian idea that we curate for those who have no reason.  I also like the idea of stewardship.  I have a farm and the idea in Roman law that the property owner only has 'usufruct' over the land rather than dominion.  We only have use of the fruit of the land.  To extend that analogy curators are only taking the fruit of the idea not the idea itself.  As long as we do not diminish the idea ( I read this as give ample credit and links) then all is well.


  • Christina Cantrill   March 16, 2012, 8:23 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 15, 2012, 11:51 a.m.

    The power dynamics inherent in these definitions of curation are challenging to me. Especially in a moment where the ability to bring together so much rich content in new and dynamics ways and share so broadly and publicly is so possible. Your stewardship description is certainly more along the lines of how I tend to think of it when I talk about curation these days ... but I also know that curation is probably all those things at once. So what that leads me to think more about is how we need to be aware of the power dynamics ... uncover them, be explicit about them, question them. Yes, one can bring things together and make meaning or allow others to make meaning between and among ... but how do we curate in a way that truly allows for others to make their own meaning is a question that it leads me to.

    Started this morning reading Grant Wiggins on curriculum, How does curation relate to 'learning to perform in the world’?

  • Christina Cantrill   March 16, 2012, 2:24 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:24 p.m.

    Hi Troy.

    In danger of sounding like a Digital-Is-broken record here <sheepish grin> I wanted to also take a moment and turn to our shared "text" of Digital Is that we are using to think about curation too and see how this might also relate to what you outlined above.

    For instance, there are resources that I tend to think of as curations within Digital Is -- ie. a collection of other narratives and stories such as Digital Is (K)not by a group of teachers at the UNC Charlotte Writing Project.

    There are collections here that we formally tend to call "curated" that sometimes surface resources form the site itself like Katherine Frank's Learning to Sound One's Barbaric Yawp! ... or that pull resource together from other parts of the web, like Green Computing: Internet Energy Use to tell a story that might not otherwise have surfaced yet in the site itself.

    Are these curations in the same sense and if so, do these surface more categories maybe -- something related to what is being brought into a conversation and what is being surfaced from within and reorganized in new ways? ... Also I was thinking about the narrative quality of  and between these curations within Digital Is ... something I notice that is missing when I collect up things in Pinterest, or even Diigo, for example.

    Hmmm, just thinking about where this all might fit too. Interesting ...

  • KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 3:08 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 16, 2012, 2:24 p.m.

    I agree -- I look for the narrative element that is the glue that holds the parts together.

  • Tellio   March 13, 2012, 7:28 a.m.

    I am interested in digital annotation and marking. I am interested in ways to share that marking.  I want to know how make annotations more useful.  That is my inquiry.  I would like to create a resource for others that reflects this passion.

    I think that I can share what I have done, but much more importantly I would like to know what each of you has done or considered doing with digital annotation.  And I would also like to know if you haven't taken up this tool and what obstacles are in the way toward your doing so.

    I have begun a personal social bookmarking list on Diigo and a group bookmarking site at Zotero, the research database tool. 

    These are my first steps.  I would love to know yours and help if I could.  Below is a sample of some annotation I have been doing lately with the marking tool Explain Everything.

  • Christina Cantrill   March 13, 2012, 8:28 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 13, 2012, 7:28 a.m.

    Hi Terry. This focus on annotation is so interesting and there are such powerful tools available now to support annotation and sharing in the way that you are doing here. As you mentioned earlier too, these combination text, audio and drawing tools can provide so many interesting possiblities.

    Here are a few examples of annotation that I thought were really powerful:

    Bud Hunt set up this Wordpress document to provide a space for annotating the ELA Common Core Standards (note that he did this as part of a previous P2PU course called Deeper Learning for All)

    Katie McKay, in this resource Lights, Camera, Social Action!, uses voicethread to share and comment on the action of her students ... this is something I think is really exciting and has a lot of potential for us to think more together about too!

    Voicethread overall offers many interesting possiblities. Here, 4th grade students use Voicethread to share their work and get response from community members, including those they initially interviewed during this Letters from the Internment Camps project.

    And this High School Collaborative Writing screencast was done years ago by Paul Allison in NYC but I still think it's still a powerful example of using a screencast to share the story of collaborative composition in a wiki.

    Lots of potential here! Do you have other examples you have found interesting too?

  • Tellio   March 13, 2012, 10:14 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 13, 2012, 8:28 a.m.

    There is a lot of legitimate discussion over whether hardware actually delivers (Larry Cuban, et al), but there can be little doubt that these annotation tools help learners and help teachers do the stuff of sharing that is at the heart of learning. 

    I highlighted Bud's CommentPress version of CCS in a blog post for the Kentucky Writing Project  site on KWP Connect so I am very aware of that.  I have commented and I wish that something like this had been available before they were implemented.  Sighs all around.  And I will be using that in a retreat this weekend with other teachers as we plan our summer tech academies.  Thanks for the reminder.  Annotating can serve as Bucky Fuller famously remarked as a trim tab for the future of CCS.  Annotation as feedback not assessment, right?  I go back to Bud's site at least once a week to see what others have noted there. 

      Katie McKay's voicethread is digital literacy at its best.  If one's goal is to evoke an emotional response, these kids win.  And more importantly they do it in a medium they understand and can share.  How many learners of this age could get their point across as effectively as these guys and gals do with text alone?  VoiceThreads is very learner friendly and can fold in other digital media as well as digital response tools.

    I gave up on VoiceThread when they went all "paid" on me.  Sad, too, but I didn't find the money to carry on... but now that you bring it up again, I may have 'found' some PD money to do it for a year.  So...I will get that ball rolling up that hill again.  Call me Sysiphus or Ishmael as you prefer.  Perhaps, as you suggest, we can share a 'voicethread' as a response here?

    As always Paul Allison breaks the mold.  He did this screencast in 2005!  He goes all 'meta' on us as he draws back to the ten-thousand foot view to demonstrate how audio and video commentary (just another form of annotation, right?) can be used to understand how a digital tool works.  That is the power of wiki's, isn't it?  They fairly scream out for historical analysis.  It also occurs to me that etherpad-like collaborative tools do much the same thing with their 'timeline' function.  Some pretty powerful video and audio annotations could be done using that tool, too.  The combinations beg to be studied.  Which is better text annotation to video/audio or audio/video to text?  Yeah, that is a false dilemma, but you get the idea.

    I love how you reference Digital IS Resources.  I am seeing how others are creating their resources by looking at the sources you suggest. I see what you did there devil.  I will be scouring others' resources in Digital IS to find some other examples before I go outside the boundaries. 

    Thanks, Christina.  More grain to grind for the cake.  I am looking for other examples right now.  You will find them on the Diigo list I mentioned above.



  • Christina Cantrill   March 13, 2012, 10:32 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 13, 2012, 10:14 a.m.

    Wow -- Paul Allison and his students are at it again! See "Annotating together: Articles about KONY 2012"

  • Jack Zangerle   March 13, 2012, 7:50 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 13, 2012, 7:28 a.m.

    I've been thinking a lot about digital annotation lately. While I like Diigo and such for this I also wonder what we should be considering for situations when students do not have these digital annotation systems at hand. Specifically, i'm wondering about the testing situations that will be imposed  by both local 3rd party assessments and the eventual PAARC assessment. Should we be thinking about some kind of blended annoation system.... digital and paper?

  • Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:11 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 13, 2012, 7:50 p.m.

    Jack, you raise an important question about the assessments that are coming down the pike.

    Sadly, my guess is that they will not allow outside resources, print or digital (ironic, of course, since the tests will be given on computers).

    Still, helping students become better readers, annotators, and users of what they find onine is critical. What are the skills/habits of mind that we need to teach them in order to help them both prepare for these types of assessment tasks as well as be smart digital readers and writers?

  • Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:16 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 13, 2012, 7:28 a.m.

    Hi Terry,

    I very much appreciate your idea of using a screencasting tool, like Explain Everything, as a way to create annotations for formative assessment (or, perhaps, even for summative assessment). The idea that you, as teacher, or students themselves could use this tool to offer commentary and critique is essential. 

    The manner in which the tool itself allows you to annotate is much different than the kind of annotating you can do with Diigo or Zotero. Those are useful tools, too, but the ability that screencasting has is the interactivity and voice recording. Diigo and Zotero can rely on highlighting and text-based comments. So, these are two different processes. 

    I am curious to hear more of your thinking about annotations and their possibilities in assessment, as Jack hints at below. 


  • KevinHodgson   March 14, 2012, 5:55 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:11 p.m.

    At our writing project this week, we dove into the draft of the PARCC model, and you are right: with research and inquiry at the heart of what the new Common Core is all about, I suspect that having systems available for students to not only research, but document and annotate will become critically important uses of media and technology.

    I use Diigo, but don't do much annotation. I have used the annotation feature on Youtube, but not for making notes -- more for creating links to other videos. I guess I have some exploring to do around annotation.


  • Joe Dillon   March 14, 2012, 9:08 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 13, 2012, 7:50 p.m.

    Should we be thinking about some kind of blended annoation system.... digital and paper?


    I  like this question. I think that asking students to practice annotation strategies in both digital texts and paper texts supports them in seeing the possible transfer of the skill. Your question suggests to me that we might show students how Diigo allows us to annotate for our individual purposes and close reading, and that it also allows us to share and collaboratively annotate. If we try to do those two different types of annotation with paper, the collaborative approach would look dramatically different than the individual approach. 

  • Tellio   March 15, 2012, 12:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 13, 2012, 7:50 p.m.

    I am reminded of how I first taught students how to blog with paper and pencil and good ol' sneakernet.  When they switched over to the digital blogs it was usually smooth.  I always teach post-it annotation as Plan B when I show Diigo annotation.  The problem comes when you realize that digital annotation is only very roughly comparable to analog notetaking and marginalia. 

    Having said that, I think that if I teach them now to create summaries with Diigo that the deep work of making someone else's text your own (close reading and close writing) is a skill that transcends the tool.  In other words I don't think that there will be a problem, but I suspect I don't really understand the context of the your assessments.  Sadly, we teachers are often accused of only teaching what we assess so I find it hard to imagine any standardized test that is actually looking for a student to demonstrate workflow management.  And isn't that the power of digital annotation--what you can do with the bits and bytes after you have created them? 

    I am a bit muddy here in my own thoughts, but what exactly do your tests assess?  I suspect they could give a damn about digital anything much less annotation so I guess that you teach these skills at your peril.  Mebbe not.  The idea that we should have anything more than feedback especially in the lower grades is big can of wormy sausage to open.  Perhaps current assessments not only don't allow digital objects of any significance larger than a text box or worse aren't even aware of them.  If so, then there really isn't much to be done above ground.  Underground?  Well, that is another story.

  • Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 7:37 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Joe Dillon   March 14, 2012, 9:08 a.m.


    How would you describe the way the paper annotation would look different?

  • Joe Dillon   March 15, 2012, 8 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 7:37 p.m.

    To replicate the individual annotation process on paper, you just use sticky notes. The paper product would have the same type of result as the individual annotation process online. If I pull a book off of my bookshelf that I have marked up quite a bit, my annotations help me navigate the text for selective rereading and also remember how I responded. Looking at something I've annotated online for my own purposes wouldn't be dramatically different.


    On the other hand, when a group annotates a digital text and shares the annotations on Diigo, or collaboratively marks up a text on Google Docs, everyone has access to one another's notes all the time. Since paper annotations don't synch or automatically copy, it becomes harder to replicate the digital work on paper for collaborative work. I would have to sit right next to you to see your annotations as you do them. I would have to copy your notes or meet with you to benefit from them during asynchonous work. Still, there are potential benefits to asking a book group, for example, to place all their sticky note annotations for a week's worth of reading on one chart, so the group can see all the annotations that can support a book group discussion.   


  • Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 8 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 15, 2012, 12:13 p.m.

    Tellio ,

    I really appreciate your comparison between the worlds of digital annotation and analog annotation. With respect to our assessment context, the answer is that we really don't know. The glimpses behind that curtain that the Parcc People have offered seem promising, as Kevin mentioned above, we are able to start thinking about them, but it is my hope that they allow for more of the process of making meaning from digital texts. This may be a pipe dream though. 

    I might draw a comparison to the "planning page" currently offered by our state assessment. Students are told that what they do of this page does not "count", but of course it helps them to create a better product. In the pen and paper world students are provided a way to make meaning through annotation and planning prior to writing. Maybe test makers will see the inclusion of some kind of unscored annotation system as an important inclusion in their test design. Maybe...


    Btw-- Does anyone else picture the "game makers" from the Hunger Games every time they think about the people designing the Parcc? Appropriate? 

  • Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 8:04 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Joe Dillon   March 15, 2012, 8 p.m.

    Yeah that is the comparison I imagined. Also- I love that book club idea to assemble weekly sticky notes. Give studnets a chance to draw connections etc. Cool idea... Consider it stolen or borrowed...

  • KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 3:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 13, 2012, 7:28 a.m.

    Although I was part of Bud's CC group and active in the annotation effort, I have not yet done enough to figure out how to best bring it to my classroom and make it effective for my sixth graders. Something I need to think about as we move towards more research-based writing and learning.

    One problem is that we need to go back and revisit the annotations. I sometimes make notes with Diigo and that is the last I see of my notes. They go into the ... Diigo drawer (official technology term, I am sure), never to be seen again. If I am doing that, how will my students make good use of their own annoations and community/collaborative annotations.

    I need more thinking time ...

  • KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 3:15 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 8 p.m.

    now that you mention it ... (Hunger Games reference)

  • Katherine   March 18, 2012, 8:16 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Christina Cantrill   March 13, 2012, 10:32 a.m.

    I just did some exploring of this annotation project.  I'm struck by how much reading and writing is accomplished in a short period of time.  I find the various layers of writing, reflection, thinking, and communication striking as well.

    I will say that with many annotation and discussion tools/platforms, it does become difficult to "follow" the conversation.  And, perhaps this is part of the issue:  various strands of conversation emerge, and there are different moments in the conversation that either create emphasis, stand alone, or move the conversation or focus in a new direction.  Different writing genres emerge as does a new reading experience.  Perhaps it is the latter that I'm working through with these comments.

  • Katherine   March 18, 2012, 8:41 a.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 3:13 p.m.

    Yes, Kevin, I agree regarding "use" of annotations--how we use them, and then how we might ask students to use them.  The "collection" process is interesting, and I think about how I curate a collection, for example, in Digital Is--what my process is.  It involves bookmarking and notes and self-imposed structure and time constraints.  The latter--self-imposed structure--is what is most important for my process because I tend to lose myself in the collecting and then find curating difficult; in other words, I lose sight of my goal and find my thinking quite impossible to manage. 

    Likewise, when I use annotation and discussion tools/platforms in classes, I often find it difficult to navigate my way through the various strands of the discussion, and I know that students experience the same frustration at times because they are vocal about it.  So, without detracting from the power of the annotation process, how do we make it both meaningful and usable for the students?  And, perhaps it is simply about the process itself--that is where the power and significance exist.  Quite possibly I am doing what I try to teach my students not to do when it comes to their writing--focusing on the product and not the process...

    When I look back at this post, I see that I am writing in circles, but I also see that I've landed on a central and historical tension (process versus product).

  • Tellio   March 18, 2012, 9:59 a.m.
    In Reply To:   KevinHodgson   March 16, 2012, 3:13 p.m.

    Do you use Evernote?  I have been pushing my diigo bookmarks to Evernote for the last month and I think I will keep using it.  I use ifttt to connect my Diigo account to Evernote.  It creates a separate folder there which I can then return to for whatever purpose suits.

    I am also gathering with a mac app, PasteboardRecorder3E.  Any item that I Control-C gets copied into it. And the program also connects to Evernote.  Anything I want to save I simply highlight and copy.  At the end of my work session I upload what is worth saving.  Handy as a pocket on a shirt. 

    I think what our students need is a reason to make those annotations and to collaborate with others in the making of them.  Otherwise, why bother, right. Annotating is just a way of responding to "text" defined in its largest terms.  And that can be done many ways. 

  • Tellio   March 18, 2012, 10:21 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Jack Zangerle   March 15, 2012, 8 p.m.

    Or perhaps this scene from Harry Potter:


  • Tellio   March 18, 2012, 11:27 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Troy Hicks   March 13, 2012, 11:16 p.m.

    I was re-reading what you said here this Sunday morning about the differing natures of annotation.  I tend to think of 'texts' to be annotated in increasingly larger terms.  English as an academic discipline tends, like Bottom in A Midsummer Nights' Dream, to want to play all the parts.  What I mean is that the whole world is a text.  I even used a textbook with that title one semester. 

    I think a note on a text is just a sharing no matter the process or tool used.  It is classic left brain 'manipulation' of the world.  The right brain insists on a very different take on the world.  Since it doesn't like discrimination, the right brain is always looking for contexts and above all, gestalts.  We have gotten ourselves into a world of pain by denying the right hemisphere its due.  I suppose it is why when I teach literature that I give equal weight to explication (noting the text of a poem) and actually creating whole poems. 

    Assessments takes us away from whole. It is partly true--what we dissect we destroy.  I remember in Kentucky in the early 1990's when I began teaching we went through a massive reform here.  The initial assessments had many sensible suggestions--performance events, open responses, portfolios in addition to the classic multiple choice questions.  Writing was assessed using a 'holistic' scoring guide.  In other words while we might discriminate purpose, audience, organization, and mechanics/grammar we also were required to use examplar papers and benchmarks (wholes) to assess writing.  In fact we were specifically trained to step back during our final assessment to not just add up the parts to get a score, but to look at the text in a holistic fashion.  Marvelous.  I had high hopes.  But over the last 20 years that assessment has been whittled away into what amounts to teaching to the ACT. 

    As long as annotation serves the larger passions of the right brain I am fine.  Einstein put it better," The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.  The question we should ask of any of these tools is the one philosopher Iain McGilchrist asked, "Have we created a society that honors the servant, but has forgotten the gift?" 

  • karen   March 18, 2012, 6:18 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Tellio   March 18, 2012, 9:59 a.m.

    I totally love Evernote! I am using it for all kinds of things including forwarding emails and tweets for future reference and/or action.

    One really cool use for it I've seen is student portfolios. See

    Evernote also nicely brings together text, annotation, and multimedia.