Why annotate?

Do your students simply consume media?  Or, do they engage the media–the television, the movies, the radio, the magazines, the books–they encounter?  Do they question it?  Do they add their own knowledge base and understanding to it?  Do they take time to have a conversation with the media?

an·no·ta·tion n.
1. The act or process of furnishing critical commentary or explanatory notes.
2. A critical or explanatory note; a commentary.

Annotation allows a reader or viewer to engage with a media text in an active way.  As a learner, you can improve both your understanding of new knowledge and your critical thinking skills by annotating instead of simply taking notes.

You should annotate whenever you need to know the information that is presented well or you need to provide supporting details for your own ideas. Whether you annotate while taking notes while listening or viewing audio-visual resources, or you write comments alongside highlighted text you have read, annotating will engage you in a conversation about what you are learning. Annotating will:

  • gather notes and your own ideas together.
  • stimulate thinking as you focus on asking questions, addingideas and even engaging in a debate around the existing information.
  • create an individualized study tool that helps you to recall key information in a short period of time by highlighting your personal connections to the material.

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