Top Tech for Digital Annotation

There are countless uses for digital annotation in the classroom: Both teachers and students can mark up text, images, songs, websites, videos, and more. You'll be giving students a voice as they develop close-reading skills, provide analysis and opinion, become fact-finding web detectives, engage in peer review, and practice essential research techniques. And with these tools, teachers can highlight important points, promote critical thinking through video, inspire inquiry, observe student confusion, personalize grading, and streamline the paperless classroom.

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Top Picks



Rich collaboration and discussion site engages students and teachers

Bottom Line: It's a versatile discussion platform for teaching, peer reviewing, and fostering active reading, and offers much more than traditional word processors.


Easily collaborate and create with voice, video, or image

Bottom Line: A powerful tool for kids to create, collaborate, and share all kinds of multimedia.


Crop, customize, and remix online videos for your classroom

Bottom Line: If you're using online video in your classroom, you'll want to look into EDpuzzle as a way to layer in more learning opportunities while students watch.

Actively Learn

Empowering social ereader keeps kids actively, independently engaged

Bottom Line: Far beyond the average ereader, this tool helps students connect and stay engaged while teachers easily measure progress.


Versatile annotation tool helps users critically connect with content

Bottom Line: Kami is an effective way to promote student interaction with texts, authentic documents, and pictures.

Smithsonian Learning Lab

Discover, create, remix, and share Smithsonian resources

Bottom Line: This thoughtfully crafted, open-ended curation and creation tool has a place in most classrooms.

Adobe Reader

Cross-platform tool for creating, reading, editing, sharing documents

Bottom Line: Versatile tool is a must-have for classrooms working with multiple device platforms.


Useful Chrome extension lets teachers add interactivity to websites

Bottom Line: A potential go-to tool for teachers focused on building critical reading skills, especially those in Chromebook classrooms.

Browser extensions add layer of annotation and discussion to the web

Bottom Line: Free, user-friendly tool opens up the web to in-context annotation and discussion.


Add a hint of fun to note-taking or annotating images

Bottom Line: It's easy to annotate images and screenshots, take handwritten notes, and organize it all with Evernote.


Unique annotation tool adds learning depth to images, videos

Bottom Line: It's unlike anything else out there, helping students and teachers produce interactive multimedia presentations embedded in images and videos.


Social bookmarking encourages discovery, collaboration, and sharing

Bottom Line: With a Diigo educator account, teachers and students have a safe space to organize, customize, and share Web content while learning about a variety of subjects.


Collaborative tool lets kids annotate songs, literature, news

Bottom Line: Students can collaboratively engage in the process of annotation and analysis with various texts.


Targeted discussions can help make video content more interactive

Bottom Line: This time-based video discussion tool increases interaction for traditional, flipped, or blended classrooms, but might offer more in the way of built-in instruction and assessment features.


Browser extension helpful for annotation and research organization

Bottom Line: A solid -- with room to grow -- annotation and research tool; serious users will need to pay for premium.


Sheet music goes digital with helpful organizational tool

Bottom Line: For already devoted music students, this is an ideal spot to store all things musical, share, and get feedback.


Cool annotation tool has an overwhelming array of features

Bottom Line: With some significant instruction and serious intentions, a cool tool for annotating text.

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