Thursday, February 02, 2012

Combine Diigo with Google Docs to provide both shared and private annotations

Yesterday, I was asked by a teacher if there was a way to have private teacher-only comments on a Google Doc that was shared with a student. To clarify, the student would not see the teacher-only comments but would see any shared comments.

The teacher started using Google Docs this semester as a way for individual students to write reflections shared only with him that he could then easily comment back on using the Google Docs comment feature. His request made sense as a way for the teacher to make notes on the same document but for himself only, which he could then refer back to when writing end of term comments at report card time.

As I've used Google Docs a lot myself to collect work and then comment back to students, my initial answer was no since Google does not support separate rights on the comments (yet?). However, it later occurred to me that combining Diigo with Google Docs might do this.

If you aren't familiar with Diigo, it is an online social bookmarking service. However, what makes it stand out from other similar services is that if you install a browser add-in, you can annotate most web pages with highlighting and sticky notes. These annotations can be shared with everyone, a limited group to which you are a member, or only with yourself. These annotations are stored on Diigo's servers and appear back to you anytime you access the original web page from any computer (if you have the browser plug-in enabled).

Unfortunately, It turns out that you can not highlight text using Diigo in a private Google Doc. However, the sticky note feature does work. Therefore, you can use Diigo sticky notes to facilitate private comments to yourself on a Google Doc you are sharing with others.

Monday, January 30, 2012

VHS Audio: Making the Case for Blended Learning by Wesley Fryer

I just started an online class at Virtual High School on the topic of online, blended instruction. One of the first resources presented for the course is the recording below on blended learning by Wesley Fryer. As I generally consume audio via a portable MP3 player instead of sitting in front of a computer, I wanted an easy way to subscribe to any audio resources presented by the instructor.  Therefore, I'm using the vhs-audio tag on this blog to compile a podcast of this and future audio resources related to the course. Anyone can subscribe to this audio feed using the address

Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Podcast217: Making the Case for Blended Learning (MP3) - January 18, 2008
Source: Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Weblog of Wesley Fryer  
This MP3 was published by Wesley Fryer under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) license. 

Show notes from Wesley Fryer:
This podcast is a recording of a thirty minute skype connection I made to GT teachers in Ector County Schools, Odessa, Texas, on January 18, 2008. The focus of my presentation was making the case for using and supporting blended learning tools and learning methodologies in the 21st century classroom. There are an enormous array of web 2.0 tools and resources available, but we do not need to jump right to the "point and click" conversation if educators (and educational leaders) are not on board understanding REASONS traditional teaching methods need to change as well as the pedaogogic assumptions which should undergird those methods and tools. These speaking points are included on the wiki curriculum for the presentation, Creating, Collaborating, and Blending Learning in the 21st Century Infoverse. I am including a link to that page in the podcast shownotes. These five reasons I discussed include ENGAGEMENT, RESEARCHED-BASED METHODS FOR IMPROVING STUDENT LEARNING / ACHIEVEMENT, DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING, AUDIENCE, and REAL WORLD SKILLS (21st century skills.) This podcast includes a musical shoutout to Eric Langhorst, the 2008 Missouri State Teacher of the Year. Give a listen and learn why I'm compelled to include the song "There's No Where Like Nebraska" as my musical transition in this episode.