Annotation with Digital Devices Motivates Learners to Dive Deeper

Annotation is the key to helping learners evaluate what they read online.
Publish date:
Social count:
Annotation is the key to helping learners evaluate what they read online.

Getting students to care about seeking and spreading the truth is one of the key topics in my new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies: 10 Ways to Launch EdTech Missions. How do we motivate our students to spend a few extra minutes evaluating all the information they consume with a critical eye? Annotation is the key to helping learners evaluate what they read online. Many free mobile apps and web tools allow students to digitally mark up, highlight, and jot down quick thoughts about what they are reading. My students annotate every reading in our class so that their brains learn the process.

Snapchat is one of the coolest ways to get your students to annotate their readings. Students can subscribe to popular publications, such as National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These publications will send them multimedia visual and video snaps of their top articles. Students can mark up these articles using the highlighting tools, emojis, and stickers as shown in the image below. Get students to add smileys next to points they agree with and angry faces next to points they disagree with. They can also star the main idea or add question marks next to words that are unfamiliar. Try this yourself for a week to see how much fun you have marking up snaps by these major publications. I guarantee you will know more about the world around you! Then challenge your students to do the same.

Image placeholder title

If Snapchat isn’t allowed at your school, then get students to use Newsela or OwlEyes to digitally markup assigned articles, current events, and literature. These websites were created for educators. For more resources, check out my article and the slide presentation below, Critical Reading with Digital Devices, posted on ESL Library.

Teach Critical Reading Skills from Shelly Sanchez Terrell

cross posted at

Shelly Terrell is an education consultant, technology trainer, and author. Read more at