Fast forward to today, where more and more books are now available online. My placement has a classroom set that students may check out, but the entire textbook is also online for easier access. Students no longer have to carry a 5 pound textbook for each class when they can easily go online and read the assigned pages. The issue now was how to take notes from the readings.
With paper copies, students were free to hilight, underline, dog-ear, and write notes in the book on what they read. They could use Post-It tabs to locate the book sections they needed. Online, these activities are much more difficult. For instance, the book used in my placement just has the block of text on the screen. It's difficult to switch back and forth between screen and paper as one takes notes. If only there was a way to take notes right on the screen. Oh, and word-processing programs don't cut it because switching between windows is irritating.
Enter Scrible, a free cloud-based program with a downloadable toolbar that can help students hilight and annotate webpages and e-books. The pages can be bookmarked for later, with all the hilighting and notes intact. This would save time and paper while decreasing the clutter usually associated with printout copies of articles and books.
I heard of Scrible, as well as other annotation programs like DocHub (formerly PDFZen), through Katherine Lester's talk at the MACUL conference last week. With entire libraries online (see the Michigan e-Libary at mel.org) that are organized by reading level (like NewsELA and TweenTribune), it's no wonder that more and more teachers are making the switch to digital books and articles. And now, with the advent of free programs like Scrible and DocHub, teachers can save paper and decrease clutter because the articles don't need to be printed out.
Did I mention that all this is Chromebook compatible and free? Welcome to the new age classroom.