Tuesday, July 19, 2011

READICT for the iPad: Annotation Tools for Reading

I recently downloaded the new app called READICT for my iPad.  It is a new product by Diigo which sold me on it right away. I am interested in annotation and reading tools that really expand what we can do as readers, writers and researchers.

I became hooked on Evernote last year and have used it for research, notetaking, and bookmarking ever since.  I know I have underutilized it and should spend some time learning all that it can do.  But I have really worked to use it in a lot of situations to get a feel for what is possible with notetaking, research and annotations.

I also began using a Kindle awhile ago and am fascinated by the annotation capabilities. Not only am I able to highlight and add notes while I read, but I can see what other popular highlights are if I would like to.  I can set the Kindle to mark passages that are highlighted by a number of people who have also read the book.  It is funny how differently you read when you know someone highlighted a passage.  The Kindle also lets you access your highlights and notes on your amazon account-it can be accessed online.

All of these new ways to annotate seem to give so many new possibilities for thinking about and collaborating around books and online texts. I see huge implications for book clubs, research projects, and strategy work.  Although we are still merely reading a text, these tools allow us to read a text at a deeper level and to share our thinking on a more global level if we want to.

The ways all of these tools allow us to collect readings, annotate, and save notes changes things for me as a reader a bit. And I think apps like this have huge implications for our kids. It is impossible to use apps like this as a reader and then ask our students to read and research in the same ways we always have.  There are very few reasons I can think of for me to ask my students to write down web addresses, keep notes on index cards, or print our articles with the tools available to them.

I have learned that, as a literacy teacher, I need to experience the new tools of literacy in order to think about how to keep literacy learning authentic for our students. It has always important to me to understand my own reading in order to teach well. Adding the new tools that readers use has been an important part of my own learning. I have to admit, it is not always easy.  I tend to want to fall back and rely on the tools I am used to. But I find that small steps help. Last year, when I worked on a paper for a class, I promised myself to only use Evernote to take and keep notes. When I attended November Learning, I did the same thing. I forced myself to use Prezi for one presentation last year which was a great learning experience.  These three promises gave me the opportunity to see what these tools were about with a short-term commitment. So this is how I approach tools of literacy and creation that I know make a difference in what is possible.  I have usually found that with a short time commitment, I fall in love with the tool and find all kinds of uses for it.  I hope to do the same type of thing with Readict. I'll play around with it and then find some project that I'll try using the app.

Readict serves as both a reader and an annotation tool.  The Readict site advertises it with these words:
"Readict is for those who take reading seriously. IT is an iPad reading app that integrates highlighter and 'read later' functionalities to provide efficient and effective reading experiences." I played around with it this week and I see it as a great tool.

I am able to add my own sites/blogs etc. to my reader and these get refreshed each day so that I can access new posts. I can browse the sites to choose the ones I want to go to:



I can add posts to my reading list--those I want to read later or those that I want to hold onto. It is easy to do so with one click. I can then access those later in my Reading List.  (I am not yet sure if the Reading List can be organized in any way. I need to play with that.)



I can use tools such as the highlighter to mark up articles that I am reading. The notes and highlights are saved when the post/article is placed in my Reading List.  This week, I tried to use the tools on a post from Wonderopolis to help me think about ways that students might use this app and online annotation tools in general to support their reading and research.


Readict also allows you to add notes while you read. You can add them to a certain spot, just as you would a sticky note. When you get to the note symbol on your page, you can open your note up. There is quite a bit of space for notes and you can add as many as you read during your reading.

I see huge implications for tools like Evernote, Readict, etc.  Not only are the social bookmarking tools but they give us the ability, as literacy teachers, to help our students track their thinking, save thinking, and share thinking with online tools.  The strategies they use for online reading are most likely very similar to those they use in other reading so having these tools available to them opens up so many opportunities to build understanding.

I think as a literacy teacher, I need to really pay attention to productivity tools that give kids new ways to read with more depth and understanding. I am excited about this one!

8 comments:

  1. I can not wait to download this app. It sounds like it may streamline some of my online reading. I love the post- it note feature. Thank you for sharing. I know some students who will love this.

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  2. Excellent article with many exciting ideas for research. I have heard of Readict but wasn't sure about it. I love the Wonderopolis connections. I can use those right away :)

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  3. 2 apps in 2 days - you should have a contract with Apple. :) Truly appreciate you getting out in front and pushing my thinking. Evernote was the tool I wanted to focus on this year; now adding READICT as well.

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  4. Broke down and bought an iPad yesterday. You are giving me ideas for lots of apps. Thanks!

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  5. I will be downloading this app right after I write this. I also love the Evernote and writing tools on Kindle. I am excited to add this and use it while I read. Thanks!

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  6. Franki, Franki, Franki, you always keep me thinking. I am looking forward to checking out this new app. Lots of possibilities. So many apps.....so little time.

    Cathy

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  7. I'm thinking I need to have this app. It sees like a great way to keep track of all of the blogs I enjoy but always forget to check regularly. It would be fantastic to be able to highlight and takes notes on them, too! Thanks for the tip, Franki!
    ~Laura

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