Tech Tool of the Month: NowComment Part 1

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Tech Tool of the Month
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NowComment is a collaborative tool that allows students (and teachers) to have online conversations about a Microsoft Word or Excel document, PDF, image, website, or a text created within the NowComment site. Become a member for free and access features including sorting comments, creating assignments, hiding comments, replying privately, and unlimited collaboration between the teacher and students. Create your own group or join an existing one, and don’t miss the Help tab to learn more about how to use this cool collaboration tool!


Applying the Triple E Framework

The Triple E Framework, created by Dr. Liz Kolb, is built on the belief that “effective technology integration begins with good instructional strategies and not fancy tools” ( Dr. Kolb wrote a book on the topic, Learning First, Technology Second (ISTE, 2017), that lays out the three main uses for technology in education: to Engage, Enhance, or Extend learning goals. We can use this framework to decipher why we are using specific tools in the classroom. Here is a rubric based on the Triple E Framework you can use to evaluate whether NowComment (or any other technology) is a good fit with your learning goals and whether you should use it in your lesson.

  • Engage in learning goals: NowComment motivates students to become active learners as they add comments to documents or images and motivates them to begin the learning process, as they are asking and answering questions by collaborating. This tool offers minimal distractions, so the main focus remains on the learning goals. Students are able to work at their own pace as they reply and add their own comments.
  • Enhance learning goals: This tool enhances learning goals by allowing students and teachers to pose specific questions, make comments, and collaborate, which also helps students stay focused on their learning. Students use higher-order thinking skills to organize their thoughts when asking questions and formulating responses. The ability to collaborate allows students the opportunity to have the activity scaffolded and make any corrections necessary before sharing a final project.
  • Extend learning goals: Dr. Kolb describes extended learning as an opportunity for students to learn, connect, and collaborate outside of the regular school day and as a bridge between the school day and real-life experiences. NowComment is a great tool to use when you are blending a lesson or teaching remotely. While the collaboration components can be completed in class, they can also be completed at home, during a study hall, or anywhere the student prefers. We’re preparing our students for a world that doesn’t exist yet, but most jobs do require independent motivation and knowledge of technology. NowComment offers many real-life experiences by allowing students to collaborate, navigate a web tool, and learn computer skills that will be helpful in possible career paths and future classes. Students also practice communication skills and reasoning as they share their replies to or formulate their own questions.


SAMR Connection

The SAMR Model, by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, suggests that technology implementation has four levels. We can use this model as a guideline to analyze how we’re using technology tools in the classroom. NowComment can be used at the level of Redefinition.

  • Redefinition: At the highest level of SAMR, Redefinition, technology allows for the creation of new tasks that were not possible before. With NowComment, technology allows students and teachers to upload a file and add their own comments, questions, and responses. Students can comment on others’ projects, ask questions, and deepen their own understanding of the content by collaborating.


Don’t miss Part 2 of the Tech Tool of the Month: NowComment, where we’ll discuss how to use the tool and introduce ways to use it in the classroom. In the meantime, let us know in the comment section below how you have used NowComment in your education setting.

About the author: Melissa Henning

Melissa Henning is the Educational Content Manager for Source for Learning, the non-profit parent company of TeachersFirst. She has over 16 years of experience in education. Melissa is a frequent presenter at national and regional conferences.

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