I am playing with a cool new Web 2.0 tool for annotating web pages!

Live from Treasure Mountain: My Rant – NeverEndingSearch – Blog on School Library Journal

Thanks to the Teachers First Tech Edge page, I came across this fun tool, Fleck, for annotating web pages.  How, you may ask, does this relate to instructional real world practice?  Here is what the experts at Teachers First had to say:

Summary of Fleck:

Fleck allows you to put sticky notes and other annotations onto existing web pages and share them with others. Now you can tell students exactly what you want them to do on a page, point out instances of bias or unsafe Internet practice, etc. You can put effective reading strategies right ON the text of the page. See an example here. Your students can also “fleck” to each other as they work on group projects, noting how they will use information or categorizing what they find. Fleck uses FLASH and does not work well on TOP of Flash-driven pages. The annotated pages take a few moment to load, even on a quick connection.

Possible Uses:  Professional and Instructional

  • Student research projects
  • Guided reading of web sites,
  • Comprehension questions, guiding questions, annotations for tough vocabulary with younger students or students who may be below grade level reading
  • Internet safety lessons, students analyzing sites as part of information literacy lessons
  • Art critiques by you or students
  • Student collaboration and source-sharing
  • Professional notes for your own reading or graduate work, etc.
  • Assign students to “Fleck” a site as an assignment in critical thinking and turn it in by sharing with you

Skills Needed/How to Get Started

  • Join the site and wait for the confirming email (usually pretty fast).
  • While you are waiting, click over to the HOME page and watch the “How this works” animation. Then try the link to “So why don’t you give it a try.” (This trial will NOT be saved!)
  • Enter the URL of a page you wish to annotate at the top of the Fleck screen and click GO.
  • Use the toolbar that appears with the web page to add notes, etc. and SAVE.
  • You can also download an extension for Firefox or bookmarklet for Internet Explorer (to make a Fleck button on your toolbar).
  • Be sure to choose public or private for Flecks you make when you SAVE (can be changed).
  • Share your Fleck by clicking the Share button and emailing a note to your recipients– or yourself.
  • The email actually provides a URL (link) to the annotated page. Unfortunately, sending the email is the only way to get the actual URL. Once you have it, you can copy/paste it to give to students in an assignment, etc.

Safety Notes/Possible Web Safety Issues

  • To use Fleck safely, you can have students use your login account to make their own Flecks. If students have their own email, they can also have log-ins, but you have no monitoring over what they do.
  • For safety’s sake, you might want to require all student Flecks to be private and shared ONLY with class members.
  • Since enforcement is tough, start with the teacher-only account and make Flecks for students to SEE. Once you are comfortable with the tool, allow students to use your account. You will not know WHO made inappropriate Flecks, but you can see and delete them from one place.
  • Of course, you will need to test whether Fleck is blocked in your school (we hope not).   NOTE:  I am posting this from home, so I am not sure if this is blocked on our CCSD network.
  • IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE: This is a public site, and some of the “recent Flecks” that show on the HOME page are NOT school-appropriate. TeachersFirst has contacted Fleck about this concern, but — until it is resolved– we recommend starting from the member home page we have provided and avoiding Fleck HOME altogether.