Our White Paper on Social Annotation in the Classroom
Hypothesis has just published its first research white paper: “The Value of Social Annotation for Teaching and Learning: Promoting Comprehension, Collaboration and Critical Thinking With Hypothesis.” Authored by Dr. Remi Kalir, Associate Professor of Learning Design and Technology at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education and Human Development, the paper focuses on research around and outcomes of using social annotation in post-secondary classrooms — with an additional, though lesser, focus on the practice in K-12 education.
The publication comes at a time when the education landscape is changing, broadening out to make way for a new paradigm for how students learn — through community and collaboration, whether in face-to-face, hybrid or hyflex classroom settings. In short, the way students read and interact with one another is shifting, and a door has been opened to the understanding that students learn best when they learn together.
Download The Value of Social Annotation for Teaching and Learning: Promoting Comprehension, Collaboration and Critical Thinking With Hypothesis, and feel free to share it with colleagues interested in social annotation.
Hypothesis has spent the last decade making social annotation available across countless digital documents and for thousands of students. So a white paper highlighting the research around this game-changing pedagogical practice is a natural step in our evolution as an open source project helping to build a collaborative annotation layer over all knowledge for the benefit of students in particular and, more broadly, society as a whole.
At last count, more than 1,200 higher education and secondary institutions throughout North America and the world are using the Hypothesis social annotation tool in their LMS. At these partner schools, social annotation is making reading active, visible and social for students.
- Active because annotation fosters active reading of and closer engagement with assigned texts
- Visible because it enables students to see their and their peers’ (and instructor’s) thoughts in the margins
- Social because it fosters collaboration and community: peer-to-peer knowledge sharing where students learn from one another
Finally, we are deeply indebted to the many educators, instructional designers and others lending their voices to our research white paper:
Annotation supports deep and close reading of digital materials, facilitating conversation between students, flipping the expert/novice paradigm, and finding low-stakes incentives for students to engage in course content.
—Dr. Amanda Licastro, Emerging and Digital Literacy Designer, University of Pennsylvania
When I landed in the writing classroom, I would say things like, ‘Writing is a social activity,’ and ‘It’s a myth that the writer operates in isolation.’ But there’s a difference between being able to say that and being able to show it. And even though I would do group work in the writing classroom, I felt that social annotation was a tool to take it back several steps: It allows students to realize that reading [is] key, but thinking and having conversations about what one is reading is really what pushes one forward in the writing process.
—Dr. Noel Holton Brathwaite, Assistant Professor of English, Farmingdale State College SUNY
Many students that I have, I know have great thoughts. And I think that’s what the annotations help bring out; that they can put their thoughts down in writing. And then I’m telling them, ‘This is a great thought, can you explain more to the class?’ And so it’s starting out as a positive, instead of, ‘I don’t know how good my thought is. Do I want to really share that?’ And I say, ‘No, I know that it’s good. So now you can speak with the class.’ I think that’s what’s been helpful for me.
—Cory Duclos, Director of the Keck Center for Language Study, Colgate University
I’ve found social annotation to be one of the most effective tools for engaging students in course readings — actually doing the readings, asking questions and starting conversations with each other. I’ve used it for both primary and secondary historical sources and found it to be really helpful in getting students to hone their skills in analysis. I also love the fact that I can have conversations with students about the reading in the margins.
—Mary Klann, Lecturer, Department of History, UC San Diego
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