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Annotate for Microsoft Word – coming in January, 2017!

Posted by on Dec 20, 2016 in Annotate for Word, Annotate News | 0 comments

Annotate for Microsoft Word – coming in January, 2017!

We’re making great progress finalizing an all-new version of Annotate for Microsoft Word…

Yes, back to the future. We introduced Annotate for Word in 2008, and thousands of teachers have used it to create great feedback, faster, for their students.

Here’s a sneak peak of the 2017 version of Annotate for Word, built on html, css, and javascript (for those who care): (more…)

New Feature for Annotate for Google Chrome: Analytics

Posted by on Mar 18, 2016 in Annotate News | 0 comments

We’ve just added a small but powerful feature – basic analytics around the types of comments users are adding to Google Documents and other web pages.

Accessed from the friendly Annotate Icon icon in the Google toolbar, Review Your Data will take you to a simple summary of your activity.

Just like a step counter on your smart phone or wearable, Annotate counts what you do…

The data is self-explanatory with one exception: “Positive Comments.”

Positive comments, in Annotate, have a label that starts with a “+”. We’ve included a bunch in our College Edition library – as a gentle reminder to focus on the positive at least part of the time…and so that these comments are easy to pick out. If you create your own comments just start them with a “+” and they’ll be counted…

You could reset the counters after a grading session…or after each student.

We aren’t doing any longitudinal data analysis yet…Annotate counts, then forgets. But you could easily type a few numbers into a spreadsheet and keep track of your output…and focus based on Annotate’s core College Edition categories.

Oh, one final note: we’re only counting comments added through the Annotate right-click menu. Freeform comments aren’t counted…so if you do want to capture all of your feedback for review later, always use an Annotate comment. You could create essentially blank constructive and positive (“+”) favorite comments in your Annotate library and quickly add them to documents as a starting point – to get credit for the effort and gather data on your total feedback output.

A Poster Child for Persuasive Speech: Pharrell Showcasing Rhetoric on The Voice

Posted by on Mar 14, 2015 in Blog, Writing Assignment Ideas | 0 comments

A recent episode of NBC’s The Voice, featuring Pharrell and Xtina battling for a contestant, showcased rhetoric in a compelling and relevant way.

After 16-year-old Koryn Hawthorne killed her audition, Pharrell and Xtina went back and forth, trying to win her to their team.

You can check out the March 3rd episode here. Jump to about 13:00 to see her singing and then the coach’s debate.

Pharrell’s argument starts out focused on her technical virtuosity. He then shifts to her “old soul” and argues that she’s “pulling from a stream of consciousness.”

Xtina admires Koryn’s “emotion and power” and shows humility by saying she’d be “honored” to be Koryn’s coach.

Pharrell follows up by emphasizing the old soul argument, then articulates Koryn’s talent in a very specific way. He says that she has “something different from her friends” but that she still stands there “with humility.” He says that people “will line up to see her” not just for her voice, but for this admirable humility.

Pharrell, like many comedians talking about their craft, has a fantastic way of parsing talent and performance.

When we ask students what they thought of a movie or a story or a piece of music they often grunt, “good.” They don’t necessarily have the words to express their thoughts. And that’s frustrating, at some level. The Voice is a great, relevant example of how these complex subjects can be broken down and discussed.

Xtina finished with a plainspoken statement about emotion and encouraged Koryn to “follow [her] heart.”

Koryn chose Xtina without much hesitation, itself a good example that pathos often wins over logos (if you even accept that Pharrell’s argument was more compelling).

Scoring the rhetoric of the coaches…even though contestants often make decisions on more than rhetoric (for instance, perhaps idolizing one of the coaches for much of their life and hoping beyond hope that THAT one picks them…the choice therefore a foregone conclusion)…could be a fun classroom activity.

If you can put up with all the commercials on NBC’s website.

The auditions are posted to YouTube without commercials, but they don’t include much of the debate after the performance.

Congrats to Koryn. We’ll be rooting for her.