I have to admit being a bit nostalgic about printed books. The convenience and portability of an e-book just can’t replace the familiar musty smell of my used paperbacks, the raspy sound of turning pages, or the weight of a good literary tome in my hand. Another drawback –particularly with digital books in pdf form– is that it is difficult for me to interact with these digital texts –scribble notes, highlight passages, insert a wrinkled grocery store receipt as a bookmark. This may be one of the reasons a majority of college students prefer to have a printed copy of their digital textbooks*.
Highlighter, a web-based tool and publishing platform, doesn’t give a digital book heft or that “new book smell.” But it does make note taking, commenting, and highlighting in a digital text relatively easy–as well as social. Upload a file into Highlighter, share it with your class, and your students can use the annotation tools to add notes and comments, highlight passages, and, best of all, share their annotations
with others in the class. Highlighter also tracks your students’ interactions so you can see what works, what doesn’t, and who in the class is prepared. Oh, and it’s free.
Highlighter offers a publishing platform for author’s to sell their DRM-protected digital books, too.
Here is the mission statement posted to the Highlighter website:
Highlighter.com is an education publishing platform aimed at drastically reducing the cost of textbooks and course material while increasing student success by leveraging
powerful and actionable analytics and student data. Highlighter’s HTML5 Reader allows educators to publish PDF, ePUB and Microsoft Office documents for free, accessible on any device, with unprecedented engagement by highlighting, annotating, commenting, sharing and saving snippets of text.
Highlighter is definitely an innovative solution to some of the current limitations of “e-books” and really begins to demonstrate the true interactive potential of this digital medium.