#FreeToolTips – 6 Free Annotation Tools for Teachers

August 21, 2018 by admin

Have you ever felt the ease of using annotation tools?

Annotations have sparked battles and settled disputes. Such is the power of a word scribbled across a margin. Even doodles across the margin are revered these days! Didn’t catch our blog on that? Annotation is not simply underlining or highlighting a text. It is a conversation you are having with the text you are reading. Annotating is a powerful way to engage with, focus on, and remember what you read.

Annotation starts a dialogue, a discussion and prompt the participants to pursue the road less taken. A simple question mark on a sentence can get you to pause and think about another perspective. Annotation is even more important in this world of digitization since everyone gets to put their thoughts across in myriad platforms these days. Annotation gives way for collaboration and hence effective discussions and deep learning. Purposeful annotation is an art in itself. A very valued one at that!

In digital documents, annotations can be considered an additional layer with respect to comments. Comments are published by the same publisher who hosts the original document. Annotations are added on top of that, but may eventually become comments which, in turn, may be integrated in a further version of the document itself during a classroom learning. Let’s collaborate and learn!! Here is our take on the tools you should totally check out!

Annotation tools

Scrible provides powerful tools to save, manage, annotate and share the web! You can sign up and sign in directly with your Google account (without the hassle of having another username/password to remember!) You can use their chrome extension to work with online articles! Scrible helps to build your own online library of annotated articles or research materials and owing to the same, it’s a perfect tool for researchers and remote teams. It allows you to save and bookmark pages, save files (docs, presentations, etc.), create and search your library, and share the annotated articles with others for getting feedback. The best part we feel is that it has ZERO ads!! Also they offer Classroom feature for educators with class structure and library as well as sync support for Google Classroom. How cool is that Annotation tool?


Collect, Annotate, Organize, Share. Diigo has it all. This hip app comes as a chrome extension as well as a bookmarklet (called Diigolet). And, it works with mobile apps for Android and iOS!! It’s one of the most popular free tools which lets you bookmark and tag web pages. Diigo also allows us to highlight a part of a web-page and attach sticky notes to it. Diigo comes with an advanced search which allows you to rummage through the text of pages you have bookmarked – including tags, titles, URLs and even your own comments and highlights. One of the best features of Diigo is your ability to comment on other users’ notes which can be set to either public or private. But the shares annotated articles in read-only mode. Also the free version has limited words that would be highlighted. Still the ease of using it makes it a fav! We love this Annotation tool for its readability.


A.nnotate is an online annotation, collaboration and indexing system for documents and images, supporting PDF, Word and other document formats. Instead of emailing different versions of a document back and forth you can now all comment on a single read-only copy online. Documents are displayed in high quality with fonts and layout just like the printed version. A.nnotate is very easy to use and it works fine in commonly used web browsers without having to install software or plug ins. You may sign up for a free account which gives you credits for annotating 30 items every month, anything above that will require payment. Hosted solutions are available for individuals and workgroups. For enterprise users the full system is available for local installation. They provide special discounts for educational use. A.nnotate technology can also be used to enhance existing document and content management systems with high quality online document viewing, annotation and collaboration facilities. That’s a good Annotation tool!


Bounce app is in our opinion, the most hassle-free and straight forward annotation tool that works just as effectively as others in the market. You simply log on to their website, enter the URL of the webpage you’d like to comment on and then click on Grab Screenshot. Voila! You’ll have a screenshot of that webpage and you’re now ready to comment on it by dragging the mouse and creating red boxes (like the one you see below). These red boxes are labelled with another box that contains your name and has a space for your comments. One of the best features of Bounce is that you !can share your feedback on social media. Makes sharing even more easy with either Facebook or Twitter. This annotation tool also has platforms called Notable and Clue for further data management!


Per their website, The Hypothesis Project is a new effort to implement an old idea: A conversation layer over the entire web that works everywhere, without needing implementation by any underlying site. The tech-geek-rap apart, it’s a simple tool like Pundit Annotator that offers a bookmarklet, a Chrome extension and even allows entering a web link for making annotations directly. The tool allows creating groups (even public ones) to share the annotations with others and building a shared annotations repository. It’s link sharing doesn’t work as of other tools and shares only the page you’re annotating, and the other person needs to be in same shared group to view or comment on the annotations you’re saving on the shared page. We still feel its a cool annotation tool more than worth checking out.


Pundit Annotator is a much simpler annotator (than the above tools) and packs in just the necessary features for a teacher to grab ideas from the web and add comments. It provides only a Chrome extension (and not bookmarklet unlike others). We’d like to call out here that it lacks sharing and collaboration features unfortunately. However it could be a handy little annotation tool for personal use!

So here is our list of favorite annotation/collaboration tools for teachers. What are yours?? Do share your stories in the comment section!

We are all ears!

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