Ed Tech #5: InsertLearning

What is it?

InsertLearning is a Chrome extension that you can use to insert your own educational content into a webpage. If you go to InsertLearning’s homepage, you can check it out before you download and install the extension.

How does it work?

Below is a screenshot from a sample lesson. If you want to see the teacher view, you can use this link (you will probably be prompted to install the extension and login before you can view it). It’s an NPR article on the Declaration of Independence:

Screenshot of InsertLearning that explains each of the icons/things you can insert

 

On the left, you can see what all you can insert into a webpage. I annotated what each of the icons mean.

  • Assign Lesson.  You can share the lesson with the students, either by sharing it directly to Google classroom, or by sending students to this link: insertlearning.com/signup and providing them with a class code.
  • Highlight Text. This is pretty self-explanatory.
  • Sticky Note. This allows you to type your own commentary on the webpage, or you can insert media, like a YouTube video, embed code, or (I like this alot) you can record a video of your own and insert that.
  • Assessment Questions. These can be either open-ended questions or multiple choice questions. You can give these questions point values and view student achievement in your InsertLearning dashboard.
  • Discussions. You can insert a discussion prompt; students can respond and then view their classmates’ responses.

Strengths, Limitations, and Applications

The free version of InsertLearning lets you store 5 lessons. Upgrading to a $40/year plan gives you unlimited lessons, which seems reasonable.

InsertLearning has a Google integration, and so teachers/student sign in with their Google accounts. It also works well with Chromebooks, and can be shared directly to Google classroom. Because of this Google integration, you’re able to create “enhanced” Google docs. In other words, you could create a worksheet with Google docs, and then turn it into something more interactive by inserting sticky notes, video explanations, assessments, discussions, etc.

I really liked this tool and think that it could have a number of applications, for K-12, higher ed, and in an online context. When I taught political science I would frequently assign students online articles– and they weren’t always easy reading. With InsertLearning, it would be simple to turn those reading assignments into something more interactive. If the article referenced a concept I think they would find difficult, I could insert a YouTube video or record my own quick explanation. If the article brought up something controversial, I could add a discussion question. If the article was lengthy and I wanted to make sure they made it to the end, I could add in assessment questions throughout. Overall, I love that this tool turns reading into a more interactive and social experience, which would undoubtedly enhance student engagement with and retention of the content.

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10 Comments

  1. I really like that students can take a more interactive approach using this extension. And that it uses Google Accounts! Super-win. Even with the yearly fee.

    I have read so many great articles that I feel my student could benefit from but they have a terrible habit of quickly reading through things and not taking the time to comprehend what they have read. Great post!

  2. Wow, so I read your homepage and realized why your apps are so impressive – you do this for a living! I love this one as well. I didn’t think you could impress me as much as last week’s entry, but you did it again. This is great. I am going to try and see if I can get my students to do this – add commentary to their presentations that we have coming up. I was just going to use a voice over – but I love this. Can students use it too? Will they have to pretend to be teachers to get the five free usages? And as much as philosophically I am against Google taking over the world, I always sigh a breath of relief when I find it is Google compatible! Thanks again!I hope they pay you well!

    1. You know, I’m not sure if students could use it, but I don’t see why not (I imagine that you’re right- that they may need to sign up for a “teacher” account.) InsertLearning works well with Google Docs, so if you envision them (1) creating a Google Doc with written presentation content, and then (2) inserting short videos with commentary, or discussion questions for the rest of the class.. then I think it would work well for your presentations. It’d be better if it worked with Google slides (so they could create a PowerPoint-style presentation) but alas it does not. Hope this helps!

  3. I love this idea! My favorite thing about my school’s new English textbook is that students can highlight and annotate right in them (they’re consumable). With this extension, they would be able to do the same thing on internet sources! I think this would be great for paperless classrooms. Just to clarify, as the teacher, can you see all of their responses to questions you post on the document? Because you did mention being able to view their achievement and assign point values. Also, I would be interested to see if you print the document, would you be able to see all the marks and questions on it? I’m not sure exactly when that would be useful though— maybe if you have a student who cannot use technology, he or she would still be able to read the document and respond to any questions or prompts. Great resource, thanks!

    1. Yes! You can see all the responses when you post an assessment question or a discussion question. You can assign point values to the assessment question, so even though it’s simple, it lets you get a “grade” for those assessment questions. I’m not sure what would happen if you print it – I don’t see anything on their website about whether or not that’s possible, so that would probably be something just to try out and see what happens! If I were to guess, I’d say the commentary wouldn’t print, but I could be wrong.

  4. I would have loved to have this when I was in school. It would have made me much more focused on reading from a website. I think lots of kids nowadays very passively scan through literature resources online because they are used to scrolling through their Facebook feed. This would force them to stop and really analyze a passage and think more in-depth about the information being presented. It does seem like a lot of work to set up for a single website, but hopefully the work can be saved and used for future years.

  5. Wow! This is cool. I already added it as an extension! I can’t wait to use it! I agree with Samantha that it would work great for paperless classrooms. I tried to use it with Newsela and then assign the reading to my class in Google Classroom, but it didn’t keep the questions and discussion I inserted. I will have to see if it does with my students access the article. This is a great resource, thank you for sharing.

  6. This is similar to what I posted for the week, but more versatile and for websites instead of videos. I am seeing that more and more of what is being done to improve technology is really just makingmashups of what is already out there and annotating as necessary. Cool site!

  7. Now that I am finally catching up with class, I just commented on one of your previous technologies and told you to look into this one. Pretty obvious now that you have already seen this ttech.

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