Hypothes.is: A collaborative web annotation tool

I recently attended the Indiana University IST Conference put on by Graduates in Instructional System Technology and was introduced to this nifty tool by Ph.D. student Christoper Andrews during the Learning Science Symposium.

Tool: Hypothes.is

The skinny:
An open source web-based tool that puts a note taking layer on top of, among other things, any web page or PDF.

A little more about it:
Annotation in the “olden days:” We’ve all experienced ourselves annotating in the margins of our books. Whether we knew it or not, we did this to aid in our own learning and possibly to help ourselves reference back to a great point later.

But how do we do this on the web…? This is where Hypothes.is comes in.

Annotation today: Using this tool, you can highlight and add comments. And, you can see other people’s thoughts and comments–and then comment on their notes.

How we might use it:
At this point, it’s primarily a tool used in academia, but I think we in workplace learning could find some pretty cool applications.

For example, imagine you need to teach a team how to fill out a specific report. Using a tool like Hypothes.is, you could create a sample report with typical mistakes and then ask learners to annotate the report pointing out what works and does not work about the report.

The powerful thing here, from a pedagogy standpoint, is that not only are learners able to draw their own conclusions and “think out loud,” but also seeing the conclusions of other and engage in a conversation contextualized right in the content.

Further inspiration: 

  • A nice article written by Jeremy Dean where he shares 10 ways to annotate with students. (Note–pun intended–the annotations along the right side of your browser.)
  • An animation (2.5 min) that explains a little more about web annotation.
  • A  tutorial (3 min) on how to use Hypothes.is.
  • A longer webinar where a few professors share how they use this tool in their courses. Take a look… it might trigger some big design ideas for you!

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