Social Annotation and Digital Literacy

Screenshot of annotations on Catherine Pierce's poem, Probably It Will Be Summer Again in 32 Poems Magazine.

The term digital literacy refers to people’s multimodal use of technology to engage with, respond to and also create new media, messages, and meaning. Hypothesis social annotation supports a range of digital literacy practices, as students and instructors produce multimodal commentary, link to media resources across information contexts, and visualize thinking with peers and other learning communities. As Dr. Amanda Licastro — an Emerging and Digital Literacy Designer at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries — has observed: “In the changing landscape of higher education, we need to give students a flexible, collaborative space to research and debate texts. From teaching the history of media, I have learned to value the longstanding social function of annotations, and therefore have come to privilege this function of marginalia.”

Watch digital-literacy experts on using social annotation: Amanda Licastro, Emerging & Digital Literacy Instructional Designer at the University of Pennsylvania; Cherise McBride, Researcher of Digital Literacies and Teacher Learning at the University of California, Berkeley; Mary Klann, Adjunct Lecturer at UC San Diego, San Diego Miramar College, and Cuyamaca College; Jenae Cohn, Executive Director, Center for Teaching and LearningUniversity of California, Berkeley; and Paul Schacht, Professor of English and Assistant to the Provost for Digital Learning and Scholarship, SUNY Geneseo.