'Yellow Annotation' photo (c) 2010, Morten Oddvik - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I’m always on the look-out for web tools that can mimc a key instructional strategy I use with students in the classroom — having them use post-it notes to annotate books or articles so they can demonstrate their use of reading strategies (asking questions, making connections, etc.).

I thought it would a good subject for another “The Best…” list.

In order to make this list, it had to be available free-of-charge, be accessible to English Language Learners, and not require any downloads of any kind.

Here are my choices for The Best Applications For Annotating Websites (not in order of preference):

Rooh It! is the newest addition to this list.  Since the Make Use of blog has written a good post describing it, I’m going to encourage you to read their explanation. One new change, though, is that you now have to register in order to use it.

I’d like to highlight a couple of great features, though. One, you don’t have to register for it. And, two, all you have to do is put “roohit.com/” before any web URL address and you can start highlighting and leaving notes about it.

The only negative I see is that it looks a little “busy” — English Language Learners could be a bit confused by all the initial options and text. But a short teacher explanation should take care of that.

Good News, Bad News & Good News On Website Annotation Tools

Could “Microsoft Edge” Be The Magic Bullet For Annotating Websites?

Bounce was off-line for awhile, but is back and works very well.

“Actively Learn” Looks Like A New Tool My Students Will Be Using A Lot

Back to School with Annotation: 10 Ways to Annotate with Students is by Jeremy Dean.

Skills and Strategies | Annotating to Engage, Analyze, Connect and Create is a great new resource from The New York Times Learning Network.

“Annotation Studio” Looks Like A Nice Tool For Online…Annotation

eMargin is a free tool developed by Birmingham City University in the United Kingdom. You can upload any text and have students annotate it, and the same text can be annotated by a closed group. In addition, you can “upload” a web address and annotate it, as well. The lay-out can be a bit funky with websites, but it’s still workable.

NowComment seems like a good tool for students to use when annotating online documents and they can see the comments of others, too (teachers can create private groups).  The  only way you can annotate a website is by copying and pasting it, and I’m not sure if that’s legal or not.

Diigo is a superior  bookmarking tool (I use both diigo and delicous to back-up all of mine). My grip against diigo has been its requirement for a downloaded bookmarklet in order to annotate saved webpages. Recently, however, you can now annotate saved webpages without installing anything — you can highlight, make comments and share them.  It’s a great development.

Edji lets you upload any text and have readers annotate it with comments. You can make all the comments public to readers, or keep them private.

Prism also lets you just annotate text to upload, but in a very dynamic way.  Here’s a video describing it:

“Annotator Tool” Is A Good…Tool For Online Annotation

You can annotate any webpage with Genius:

Put genius.it/ in front of any URL to annotate and read other Genius annotations on any page on the Internet. You don’t need to download anything!

It’s super-easy, but I have previously written about problems with Genius – see Rap Genius Expands Service, Changes Name, Adds Education Features – I’d Still Be Surprised If Teachers Use It.

I learned about this annotation tool from 8 Ways to Annotate Readings, Websites and Online Articles with Examples by Shelly Terrell.

Using Crowd Annotation to Close-Read the World is from Middleweb.

Shelly Terrell has just shared a list of tools for annotating texts that are online. Two are new to me and look particularly intriguing: Owl Eyes and Active Textbook.

Get Liner lets you highlight and make notes on online text.

FiskKit lets you upload articles or url addresses, create a virtual classroom, and let students annotate them.

Annotate Text in Google Docs is a lesson plan from Google.

Now Comment is a free tool that “turns documents into conversations.”

Kami is an annotating tool.

The Pundit Annotator

Annotation is a new book about…annotating texts.

Social Annotation in the Digital Age appeared in Edutopia.

Redefining annotation: Ditch That PDF and hyper-annotate is from Ditch That Textbook.

Making Annotations with Less Pain, More Meaning is by Sarah Cooper.


Spade lets you annotate webpages.

Instacap lets you annotate websites.


MetaNote is a Chrome extension for annotating web pages.

Annotate PDFs With Lumin PDF – Free for Teachers is from Richard Byrne.

Web Highlighter lets you annotate webpages.

Web Highlights is a Chrome extension that lets you highlight webpages.

Snip is a Chrome extension that lets you highlight text on any webpage and then link to it.

As always, feedback is welcome.

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