Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Online Highlighters

I've been investigating online highlighters for the purpose of teaching summarization stategies. Though Diigo and iLighter are more sophisticated, I'm leaning towards Awesome Highlighter which can be used without a plug-in download and is straightforward and user-friendly in operation.

Try Awesome Highlighter out here.

What has your experience been?


Ed Latham said...

Jim I love the Awesome highlighter. As a student doing research I always had a problem with that documentation part that teachers would keep bugging me about. I wanted to learn stuff not track where I learned it from. This highligher stuff lets me collect the info I need from a site, package it up nice and tidy for me, and it gives the url for where the info was gathered! I love it. Some media specialist out there would be pointing out that the info given is not in MLA format nor is it completely appropriate, but I counter that the info given by this little application is so much more than I bothered to put down in my notes when doing research in school.

Thanks again for sharing this wonderful app!

Jim Burke said...

Thanks for the feedback, Ed. All three services (iLighter, Awesome Highlighter & Diigo) have their strengths, but as I said, Awesome is the easiest to get started on . . . no download or sign-up necessary.

I've been working with Darlene Bassett < http://hometown.aol.com/__121b_VURfYs71lNkDot4+6WGVDQRCdlGLYecI > on the utilization of this for the Summarization strategies that she uses in literacy professional development. The idea is to bring these same skills from the paper and pencil world to the digital world.

It has not been easy. We have met several times at Jay Middle School to thrash out the possibilities . . . lots of dead-ends . . .and then digging deeper for other possibilities. I know on the surface that it might seem rather straightforward but, believe me, it is not. We want methods that will stay true to the process of the strategies while at the same time will be user-friendly and actually be used. Don't want technology to actually get in the way!

We met this morning . . . thinking that Awesome Highlighter, by itself, would do the trick, but there was the issue of collecting both the highlighted words AND the notes in a suitable format . . . without the original text. After attempting several other solutions, we realized that the obvious answer was right there on the laptops: Stickies! Interestingly enough, despite my position :), I am much more apt to using a hardcopy sticky (post-it) than the digital provided right there on my machine. Habit I guess . . . but also handy for moving to other places. Anyhow, the combination of Awesome Highlighter and the laptop stickies (rather than the "notes"from Awesome) makes what we want to do possible.

Such a simple thing in the end, but sometimes it takes time to figure out what the best solutions are.


Jim Burke said...

One other point. Originally we thought that Noteshare would have everything we needed, but unfortunately, only the teacher MLTI laptops, at the high schools we will be working at, have Noteshare. The student laptops don't have it for the most part. That's when we decided to use web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, highlighters, google apps, etc.

Ed Latham said...

Interesting point Jim, my class was excited about the highlighter (so much more fun then boring old blogs) so they all wanted to check things out with the highlighter. We found that there were serious errors including the fact that my screen had other teachers log in name! We registered to see if some of the bugs went away, but we saw that intermittently we each ended up seeing us logged in as each other. We suspect it had to do with IP Addresses and how the school shares those. Interesting stuff but no clue how to fix it now.

Jim Burke said...

Yikes, Ed, that doesn't sound good. Sure glad you alerted me about it before we use it with a group. Two of us had no issues like that at Jay Middle School . . .but might show up when we have twenty or twenty-five in the room. Hmmmmmmmm. . . what to do. . .

You had other teaches' names showing before you registered/loggedin?

Punting. . . . :)


Slim Amamou said...

try also http://markkit.net
in conjunction with http://stikkit.com


Scott Love said...

Just a quick FYI: NoteShare Express Editor is coming this September.

It will allow any student using a web browser to work on a shared notebook. This means that high school teachers using NoteShare on their Macs can share and publish notebooks while high school students using PCs or other systems for example can gain access to them via NoteShare Express Editor to edit, share and collaborate as well.

Jim Burke said...

Thanks, Scott. I'll be watching for it.