I have previously posted about Rap Genius, an easy-to-use tool that lets you annotate pretty much any text. It’s initial focus was on rap lyrics, but you could also upload others — this use of it for the Gettysburg Address is a perfect example of how great it could be for education purposes.
As I said in my original post, however, I doubted the site would get past many School District content filters because of the classroom inappropriate language present in so many rap lyrics.
They just changed their name to Genius and are now encouraging people to document all sorts of documents. They’ve also created a special Education section that has lots of neat features.
The problem, though, as far as schools are concerned, it still appears that students can freely access all parts of the website even though they might start with the Education section. I personally don’t think that would be a problem for most teachers — we can certainly have conversations with our students about appropriate use of the site and supervise student work. However, it seems to me that the site just wouldn’t pass muster in many District offices, though I’d be happy to be wrong. I’m looking forward to checking next month if students can access it at our school.
There are other sites, though, that provide annotation ability and are unlikely to be blocked. Check out:
Best Applications For Annotating Websites
The Best Online Tools For Using Photos In Lessons has tools to annotate photos.
A Potpourri Of The Best & Most Useful Video Sites contains tools to let you annotate videos.
Let me know if you think my pessimism about school access to Genius is overblown or not….
Larry, I agree with your assessment. Great tool, but too much content that would be deemed inappropriate in an educational setting. Thinglink might be a better option in this case.