Text annotation via digital whiteboards

We hosted a “TI Instructors Gathering” this morning, where we invite folks who are teaching in the Taylor Institute to come together to share their experiences and we can learn from them about how they use the spaces and technologies. This gathering was predominantly Languages profs – french/spanish/russian/french – and we got to talking about how they’d like to be able to have their students break into groups and use the “Collaboration Carts” to mark up passages of text. That’s not a thing that’s readily done – there are web-based text annotation tools, but not ones that are based on ink. Having students sketch on text is a useful activity, pedagogically, and so I got to thinking…

And a couple of hours of work later, I’ve gotten that feature working in TIDraw.net (which is what powers the digital whiteboards in the Taylor Institute).

Digital whiteboard markup of a bit of Shakespeare…

TIDraw works with images, so text needs to be converted before loading it for markup. There’s a utility for that (in the “Texts” button in the top menubar), and converted texts are available in a Gallery – using the same code as the Save and Template features.

This could be useful for visually marking up short passages – it won’t handle pagination, so longer passages won’t work. But – it’d be handy for marking up stanzas or short passages.

I’ll also work on a feature that will let people upload images – imagine being able to use the whiteboard tools to markup a painting, or an electron microscope image, or an x-ray image, etc…

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