2 min read
Web annotation tools are not really that new, but have mostly been utilized for contextualized commenting or personal note taking. A more innovative use of these tools is for constructive criticism or group critique. Tools like hypothes.is can allow people to annotate publicly or privately in a closed group. For example, see this problematic article on the relationship between teachers and students, and how many have critiqued the article for a fascinating discussion (this particular critique example was started by Dr. Maha Bali). Instead of commenting on articles at the end, people can comment on specific parts, and then interact with others who also comment. Probably a much better system than typical discussion forum assignments - and also ultimately probably what many instructors want discussions to be like in the first place. The video above goes into more detail about the vision behind open annotation. In general, it is an idea that can subvert commenting and distribute the power of commenting. Of course, it could also empower abuse as well. But the ability to comment on specific sections of a web page rather than just the end, and then to start a discussion with anyone or a private group is intriguing.