The uses are seemingly endless, but one thing InsertLearning lends itself to is vocabulary building. Teachers can click on a vocabulary word, leave a definition or other insight, or add a sticky note where they can embed anything in it (for example, a Quizlet game they created previously). Teachers can also use this tool to help build fluency with their readers by adding an audio clip of the teacher reading the article or create a docent with a Google Doc to explain assignments. Most importantly, teachers can use InsertLearning to question students. Good readers always think about what they've read, and questioning students throughout the reading helps students think more critically about what they've read. Teachers can also hold discussions on any site where students can respond and see other's responses in real time.Continue reading Show less
InsertLearning (formerly DocentEDU) is a Chrome extension (with companion iOS and Android apps) that lets teachers turn any site into an interactive online lesson. There's a free trial available, but extensive use will require the paid version. (That being said, it's one of those tools that some teachers can use every day.) InsertLearning can be loaded quickly by the user clicking on the browser extension icon and opening the toolbar. Once the toolbar pops up, teachers and students can add annotations, embed videos into websites, add maps, quizzes, discussions, and do much more. Ultimately, the goal is that teachers can guide student learning with questions or class discussions online so students can learn outside the classroom and teachers can help the next day in class.
The toolbar consists of a few features: an assign button, highlight and sticky note buttons, and question, discussion, dashboard, and feedback buttons. All features allow for manipulation of a site, but the amount of manipulation and additional features added to any site is up to the teacher. There is a teacher dashboard where teachers can see their docents, copy others' docents, and assign them to students. Teachers are also able to view student annotations to docents, their answers, and interactions in discussions.
Literacy in all disciplines is a top priority for teachers, and with InsertLearning teachers of all disciplines can help students think more critically about what they read. The most important part of creating a docent is to ask higher-level thinking questions to promote critical thinking and comprehension skills. This responsibility falls on the teacher, and so as long as the teacher is willing to put forth the effort to create meaningful docents, this tool can be very effective in allowing students to think critically about the material they read. It is important to note that there is a notable time investment in creating meaningful, thoughtful, and relevant docents.
The ease of creating a docent will entice teachers. More importantly, InsertLearning's ability to fit so nicely in with Google Classroom and Drive and a plethora of other educational tools and products makes it a great tool. It would be nice if there were more feedback given to students while they're working through a docent or if the teacher could reply to questions students have to help facilitate better understanding while they try to work independently.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
Reading Informational Text
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; provide an accurate summary of the text distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Speaking & Listening
Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.