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Lilly West 2012

We're presenting at the Lilly West Conference on 16 March on

#TaggingAnna: The Use of Social Annotation to Support Student Reading of Class Texts

You can find the workshop materials here.

Participants will discover first-hand how online tools for annotating texts can be used to sharpen students’ attention, help them collaborate in making sense of complex material and increase their confidence and articulacy. Our students described working together on these ‘social texts’ as being like additional classroom time. We concluded these practices improved seminar participation, and provided valuable, formative writing practice.


The objectives of this workshop are:
  • To give participants the opportunity to contribute to the social annotation (highlighting, glossing, tagging) of a text (we have developed face-to-face analogue of the key aspects of the online ‘shared  texts’ and mark-up software we have been using with our students for the purpose of highlighting the pedagogic issues in this workshop). Participants will experience first-hand the affordances of these platforms for student preparation in terms of attention, collaboration, debate and sense-making.
  • To discuss, on the basis of discoveries in the workshop, the pedagogical implications of a) some notable obstacles to the classroom study of extended texts which students are instructed to prepare beforehand, and b) the contribution to student comprehension, spoken and written articulacy as well as confidence that is made by prior collaborative work on the text which foregrounds precise attention and peer-discussion.


Presentation activities consist of a very short orientation, followed by groups of four participants reading and annotating a text through the lens of one of our two on-line social annotation technologies, both of which will be modelled using pen, paper, and face-to-face contact. Groups will spend twenty-five minutes in total on the four iterations of the exercise, progressively engaging with the contributions of each of the other group members.
Plenary discussion of the pedagogic implications will draw on the evidence of the 'social texts' created in the groups, particularly on their differences. Subsidary practicals introduced at this stage will allow participants to experience both models of supporting close student attention to the text, and the different kinds of annotation and discussion they foster.


  • ‘Marginally Better: Software Uses Side notes to turn Books into Discussions’, Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 September 2007, A 23
  • Sarah J Mann, The Student’s Experience of Reading’, Higher Education, 39.3 (2000), 297-317.
  • Roger Saljo, ‘Reading and Everyday Conceptions of Knowledge’ in Marton, F., Hounsell, D. and Entwistle, N., (eds.) The Experience of Learning: Implications for teaching and studying in higher education. 3rd (Internet) edition. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Assessment. pp. 89-105.
Subpages (1): Workshop