Hypothes.is – a digital annotation tool for collaborative and active reading


To define annotation it is when you add notes, comments or opinions about a piece of writing,  or a drawing, photo, or diagram. Often these are critical explanations to add extra insight about something. These explanations can be necessary to understanding writings in which the language might be difficult to make sense of without clarification.

The term reminds of my time at school whilst taking English Literature and trying to make sense of Shakespeare in particular. The study guides which provided annotated notes were invaluable!

Hypothos.is is an online tool that enables users to digitally annotate the open web and save these notes. This can be an individual or social learning activity where users can annotate in either public or private groups.


To get started, you will need to register an account. Then see the resources at the bottom of this post. These explain how to use Hypothis.is in more detail, including how to create the Chrome extension you need to use this tool.

Essentially Hypothis.is provides the user with a text box in which you can add notes. The tool bar allows users to bold or italicise text and to add “pull quotes”. These can also be hyperlinked to the source. The notes made can be structured in numbered or bullet points. To supplement the text images can be added.

Another feature is being able to add tags. This enables you to add keywords to highlight thematic elements. As a shared class or group collection of annotations you can add an agreed ‘hashtag’.

Below you can see an example of the text box to be used for capturing the annotations. On the left is the paper open on my screen – Engagement or Distraction: The use of Social Media for Learning in Higher Education. On the right is the annotation space which pops up when you click on the Hypothes.is chrome extension at the top of your screen.

using hypothisis

If you click on the share icon you can easily share a link with others to collaborate on the annotations.  The options allow you to simply grab the link or share via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or email. There is also a drop down menu next to Public where you can choose to share with a specific group (which you can easily create).

Share options

Uses in the classroom

Hypothesis can used in an education context to collaboratively annotate course readings and other internet resources.  Below is a list created by Hypothes.is providing ten suggestions on how the tools could be used in the classroom:

  1. Teacher Annotations
    Pre-populate a text with questions fro students to reply to in annotations or notes elucidating important points as they read.
  2. Annotation as Gloss
    Have students look up difficult words or unknown words or unknown allusions in a text and share their research as annotations.
  3. Annotations as Question
    Have students highlight, tag and annotate words or passages that are confusing to them in their readings.
  4. Annotation as Close Reading
    Have students identify formal textual elements and broader social and historical contexts at work in specific passages.
  5. Annotation as Rhetorical Analysis
    Have students mark and explain the use of rhetorical strategies in online articles or essays.
  6. Annotation as Opinion
    Have students share their personal opinions on a controversial topic as discussed by an article.
  7. Annotation as Multimedia Writing
    Have students annotate with images or integrate images and video into other types of annotations.
  8. Annotations as Independent Study
    Have students explore the Internet on thier own with some limited direction (find an article from a respectable source on a topic important to you personally), exercising literacy skills (define difficult words, identify persuasive strategies etc.)
  9. Annotation as Annotated Bibliography
    Have students research a topic and tag and annotate relevant texts across the Internet.
  10. Annotations as Creative Act
    Have students respond creatively to their reading with their own poetry, prose or visual art as annotations.

You can read the full article here.

Help Guides

Quick support guide: https://hypothes.is/quick-start-guide/

Hypothesis for educators: https://hypothes.is/education/

Posted in Social Learning | 1 Comment

A virtual presentation at #BETT2017 in a 3D Lecture Theatre using @mirradorltd’s ALiS Online #ALiSOnline

This post shares the presentation I gave virtually at #BETT2017. The topic was ‘Using social media for learning and teaching’. Below you can view a recording of this presentation and experience the fantastic virtual space it took place in. The interactive talk takes place in a 3D  Lecture Theatre, and was followed by live conversations and networking in a 3D Gallery environment. Here the artifacts on display were individual slides from my presentation.

The sessions in this space can be very interactive, encouraging participants to ask questions using a mic or through text. There is also a feature that allows you to create polls.

A big thanks to Dr Richard Pountney who invited me to present and both Andys from ALis Online. I’d initially been quite cautious about virtual spaces having had a quite strange and uncomfortable experience in Second Life. However this was totally different. The software is very intuitive and takes you directly to the Lecture Theatre, with the added option of going into the Gallery to talk to participants. I can see this being a great space to help students build confidence presenting to others.


The slides are also available on SlideShare


ALiS Online at BETT

In association with Sheffield Institute of Education (SIoE), ALiS Online have put together a fantastic programme of immersive and interactive ‘Expert Sessions’ and ‘Ambassador Tours’. which will take place daily at 11am & 3pm respectively during the Bett Show 2017

To find out more follow ALiS Online on Twitter and visit http://alis-online.com/

Posted in Collaboration tools, Communication tools, Technology | Tagged | 4 Comments

Social Media Etiquette [Infographic]

The infographic below (Credit: TollFreeForwarding) provides tips for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Whilst aimed at business there are some useful pointers for everyone to take away. In short good manners are equally important online in these social spaces as they are face to face. Attributing others work should be a given. Thanking people when sharing something interesting that they have shared can be simply done using h/t (hat tip).

Note: This was produced in 2014 so daily user stats are now out of date. However the tips still stand.

social media etiquette guide

Credit: TollFreeForwarding

Posted in Social Media, Tips | 3 Comments

115 facts about social media [infographic]

Thanks to Josh Wardini, Community Manager at Skilled.co who contacted me to share this rich infographic.  The research highlights the continuing annual growth of internet users, unique mobile users, social media users and mobile social media users. Social media is used not only to network but as a source for news and increasingly a space to shop. The most popular platform is still Facebook, followed by Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and then Pinterest.

The infographic provides some useful stats on global penetration, daily logins, use by gender, as well marketing and recruitment related information. It includes a caveat that these stats are accurate as of the date they were included in the infographic, December 2016. One thing for sure is that the growth of social media shows no signs of slowing down. Whilst users may move from one site to another this form of social networking and sharing has indeed permeated the daily lives of many.

Source https://skilled.co/resources/social-media-facts-infographic/

115 facts infographic


Posted in Social Media | 2 Comments

Student feedback on #SocMedHE16 Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference

This post is re-blogged from a post I submitted to ACES News – This is a news packed blog led by Yve Appleton containing stories about students and staff in the Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering, and Sciences (ACES) at Sheffield Hallam University.

SocMedHEStrat workshop

The day also coincided with Christmas Jumper Day, hence the perhaps odd outfits some are wearing in the photos!

On the 16th December 2016 the 2nd Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference was held at Sheffield Hallam University. The event attracted educators from across the UK and abroad. This year’s theme was ‘The Empowered Learner’. Ten places were allocated to Sheffield Hallam students. Four of the successful applicants were from the Department of Computing – Information Technology with Business Studies students. Each had personal and academic interests in social media having either taken or currently studying Digital Marketing. One student, currently in his final year, is researching how social media is being used for recruitment and communication within higher education for his dissertation.

The students took an active part in the workshops and attended a variety of short papers. They also contributed to the Twitter conversations making good use of the conference hashtag #SocMedHE16.   Below you can read about what they gained from attending their first academic conference.

Ola Mazur (2nd year)- Information Technology with Business Studies

For me the best part was getting to know other people that are as passionate about digital marketing as I am, and listening to their own experiences and how they use social media – this gave me a lot of new ideas to explore.

I learnt that the digital world is ever growing and I need to use it more to my advantage in our studies, such as having a twitter page for each of our modules and using twitter polls to enhance our learning experience.

“There were so many good ideas!”

Writing our ideas into a report based on the four pillars of making social media work in HE, inspired me to think of ideas which we could use ourselves, or that we already use. I will be looking back on the document and telling my peers about it to inform them of the new ways in which we could learn

I think social media can definitely empower learners due to having 24/7 access while on the go we can constantly keep learning, meeting new people online who have the same interests can also open new ways of getting information. In the future I think we should make a bigger use of social media for learning because all students interact online.

Corran Wood (2nd year) – Information Technology with Business Studies

For me, one highlight from the conference was the thunderstorm workshop/talk. The style of short 5-10 minute presentations from multiple people with the ability to ask questions at the end made it very interesting and was really effective in engaging my interests. It was fascinating to hear all of the different experiences that people have been through in regards to social media in higher education and all the different methods that have been applied. This has led to the discovery of techniques that can be used in social media. For example, the idea of using Twitter polls is a great idea because students have the ability to participate without needing a ‘professional’ Twitter. In combination with the use of Storify to allow students to view the results after the activity, this could be used as a powerful revision tool.

 “I had a brilliant day!”

Meeting a wide range of people from lecturers to managers of companies, I gained a huge insight on how people can use social media to network professionally and further their knowledge. This has definitely inspired me to use social media for my education, especially on the day as Tweeting was encouraged and helped me to start realising the impacts of social media to connect and learn. From this, I believe that social media can empower learners, as a student I have first hand experience of this. When used in the correct context and by teaching students how to use social media in learning, a student can open a world of knowledge and experiences. To achieve this, I do believe that a student needs to have the drive to empower their learning, as without the motivation and curiosity, the tools to become empowered will not be utilised to the full extent needed.

Jess Paddon (2nd year) – Information Technology with Business Studies

The best part of the conference, was meeting people from different educational institutions, and learning about their teaching in social media, and how social media has impacted them and the way they learn and teach. Another part of the conference which I enjoyed was working with people from different educational backgrounds in order to create and implement ideas related to social media.

I learned about how social media is used to enhance student learning experiences and different functions of social media platforms that help to implement this into modern day learning, such as Twitter polls and Facebook events. It has definitely inspired me to use different platforms to their full capacity, in order to collate a variety of opinions from different people, and to be able to use these for further analysis and to create reports and presentations.

“It has definitely inspired me to use different platforms to their full capacity”

I definitely feel that social media can empower learners, as they can constantly keep up to date with advancements in their chosen fields, and are able to express their thoughts and opinions freely amongst these networks. They are also able to connect with and share ideas with people who share the same interests as them, and make a positive contribution within different industries.

Sher Khan (Final Year)  – Information Technology with Business Studies

The best part of the conference for me was the six thunderstorms all of which were short, powerful and introduced how social media was used in a variety of different aspects of learning. Out of the six thunderstorms I particularly liked the “Full connection with the iGeneration’: WhatsApp and the student-teacher relationship”. It was a really interesting approach into how WhatsApp was used by lecturers not only in the actual lectures themselves but to support students throughout their learning.

“The social media for higher education learning event in 2016 was overall engaging, interesting and activity based”

Throughout the day I learnt many different aspects related to learning in higher education through the use of social media.  I learnt about how YouTube was used to aid students learning, how twitter was used as a question and answer function through introducing hashtags and promoting students to post on the hashtags. I also learnt about the LTHE chat and how this was growing amongst the higher education community. Also I learnt about how students in the University of Southampton were co-creating content amongst themselves on social media to aid their learning and collaboration. Finally I also learnt about one or two new social media productivity tools such as “Slack” and “Padlet” which I am actually now thinking about incorporating into future project work.

The experience has certainly inspired me to use social media for learning and also which social media tools I can adopt in addition to those tools that I am currently using. As a result of this conference I feel that social media can be more widely used by certain lecturers to actually aid the learning process as some of the examples of the use of social media by the vast array of lecturers at the conference were really good. Therefore I feel that it can be more utilised by more lecturers and staff throughout the university.

“I certainly think that social media can empower learners to better utilise the tool for their studies and to also learn more from some of the professionals within their industry”

Overall the event was well organised and fun to take part in. As well as actually learning about social media we also got to take part in some activities along-side professionals which was also a positive experience.

Posted in Event | Leave a comment

Why should you attend #SocMedHE16? Read on….

SocMedHE16 banner

On December 16th the 2nd Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference will take place, bringing together educators from many disciplines to share how they are using social media in learning and teaching.

With social media, we have an array of simple and powerful tools that help us think creatively and critically about learner empowerment. It is time for us to better understand the potential of social media to change the learning experience of students and academics in higher education. Questions we need to address include

  • Are we empowering students by adopting and adapting social, open, mobile and networked learning and media?
  • How critically are we shaping the opportunity that is emerging?
  • How sure are we that the social, open and networked space, with all of the autonomy it suggests, is good for our students?

The HE sector needs to be able to address these questions, and others, before the place for social media in higher education learning is clear. The social media for learning landscape is vibrant and remains full of possibilities. Only together will we begin to reliably develop its potential.

The theme for the conference is ‘The Empowered Learner’ and there is a fascinating collection of short papers, workshops, thunderstorm presentations and posters in response to the call for submissions. Indicative sub themes included:

  • Autonomous development and ownership of learning experience
  • Making connections and becoming networked, communities of practice
  • Applying personal experience in a professional sphere
  • Becoming digitally capable in a social world
  • Being informed and in control of your digital identity
  • The student-teacher relationship
  • Authentic learning experiences
  • The evolution of curriculum design
  • Change agents, scaling up and moving beyond the cottage industry

Why should you attend?


  1. The event will provide a great opportunity to learn about how social media has empowered the learners of colleagues presenting.
  2. It provides you with a chance to network and share your experiences.
  3. It may even provide an opportunity for future collaborations.
  4. A guaranteed outcome will be that you can extend your professional network through meeting people and making new connections.
  5. During the pre-conference dinner and the conference day itself you will be able to discuss issues and share ideas about how these have been or could be addressed.
  6. You will be part of a growing community that is working together to better understand the potential of social media to change the learning experience of students and academics in higher education.

Key information

Key dates for your diary:

  • Early bird rate ends 21st November 2016
  • Pre-conference social event 15th December 2016 – 6pm onwards
Posted in Event, Social Media | 1 Comment

The Social Media Revolution 2017 by @equalman

Erik Qualman first produced the Socialnomics Social Media Revolution video showcasing the power of social media and mobile in 2009. Above is the 7th iteration and just released this month October 2016. Continue reading

Posted in Social Media | Tagged | 1 Comment

A Faster Mobile Web: WordPress.com Updates for Accelerated Mobile Pages

Useful post from WordPress on their latest update which gives you even more control over your site’s look and feel on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) pages – a feature available to all.

AMP page WordPress blog

The WordPress.com Blog

Earlier this year we were proud to announce that WordPress.com users’s sites would automatically support Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) — a new open-source project spearheaded by Google to dramatically improve the performance of web pages on mobile devices.

View original post 185 more words

Posted in Blogs | Leave a comment

Say ‘No!’ to vertical video syndrome


VVS (Vertical Video Syndrome) is internet slang for the [perceived by some guilty] act of recording video using an upright mobile phone, as if you were taking a portrait photograph (rather than standard landscape video, as we are used to seeing displayed on a TV or monitor).

Vertical video is often referred to as skinny and tall as when the video plays it only uses the centre third of the screen and has black space either side (as in the image above).

Advice from the ground is quite simply that we must all learn to say no to vertical video as it is amateurish and to be avoided. Glove and Boots in the video above offer some sage advice… Continue reading

Posted in Visual Communication | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why ‘googling’ yourself should be part of your digital health check

Google search

When was the last time you googled yourself? Some may ask why on earth would I want to do that? Well it is an effective way of finding out what others can learn about you from the Internet. What information is actually public? Continue reading

Posted in Tips | Tagged | 3 Comments