Actively Learn

Actively Learn Logo: Logo light blue and the name "Actively Learn" below

Actively Learn is a digital reading platform that allows teachers and students to interact within readings and digital texts. This online tool allows students to read a document as a class/group, making comments and answering questions throughout the reading. The teacher can evaluate such notes and quiz answers.

Teachers and students have the ability to check assignment basic data (included in the free version of the application). Students also can make personal notes and choose to share them with the class. Moreover, students can look up words, definitions, and translations. They can choose to listen to selected parts of the readings or even translate them. Lastly, teachers can direct their students to specific parts of the text in order to create discussions and add media to support/complement any part of the reading. This is a great tool for collaborative learning!

If you are looking for a way to enhance your students’ learning with reading assignments, and you want to add more action to the reading process, Actively Learn is a good option to try out!

Tool Snapshot

Price Free limited plan; Prime plan with more features
Learning Cognitivism, Social Learning
Ease of Use ★★★☆☆
Privacy ★★★★☆
Accessibility ★★★★☆
Class Size Unlimited
ISTE*S Empowered Learner, Global Collaborator

Actively Learn Overview Video


Actively Learn & the SAMR Model

  • Substitution: Students read a digital text on Actively Learn (instead of a traditional print text)
  • Augmentation:  Students while reading online assignments they can look for definitions in real-time and even have a time-real translation. Also, students can discuss (with notes) in a synchronous and asynchronous setting the same reading.
  • Modification: While students are reading the digital text, they can interact with classmates and collaboratively annotate key words and phrases.
  • Redefinition: Students’ reading experience is scaffolded, personalized, interactive, multimodal, and engaging. 

Learning Activities

History/Science/Language: Students can read and discuss class materials. The teacher can create an activity where students solve questions and critical thinking can be implemented using this tool, regardless of the topic. And after discussing with their classmates or asking questions to the teacher, students can be evaluated on their responses and class participation. activity Learn image 03

History: Students read a chapter of World War II and would answer teacher questions inside the text and then they will share notes with the class and start a discussion (s) with their classmates.

Sciences: Students do research in teams, collaborating in order to generate a future presentation about photosynthesis. They can ask questions to the teacher about sections of the books or articles they don’t understand.

Learn foreign Language: Students read a book in other languages, they can use the translator feature to improve their reading experience. They  are going reflect on the lecture as a class adding media, notes about the reading, author, the time, etc.  

Language: Students read Poetry, they interpret the reading and share their interpretations with notes to the class.

Language: Students will read a book, and in teams, they are going to share notes, discuss as a group and then they are going to answer the questions made by the teacher inside the book.


How to Use Actively Learn

Go to

  1. Click “Sign Up” and register for an account. You have to choose between a Teacher or Student"Actively Learn" [Screenshot] Retrieved from
  2. If you are Teacher:
      • You can sign in with your Google account
      • You can sign in with your Clever account
      • You can sign in with your Edmodo
      • You can sign in with your email, and professional information (email, school info)
  3. If you are a Student:
    1. You can sign in with your Google account
    2. You can sign in with your Clever account
    3. You can sign in with your Edmodo
    4. You can sign in with your email, the class code is optional.
  4. Once you create your account, you will be logged in, you do not need to confirm your account via email."Actively Learn" [Screenshot] Retrieved from
  5. You can watch a video overview for Teacher or Student (depending on your role). If you skip the video and want to watch it later click on the “Question Icon” at the right corner of the page and select: “Overview videos” or you can go to “How it Works” in the main page of Actively Learn.
  6. Setup your profile page:
      1. Click on the on your name at the top right corner
      2. Click on “My Profile”
      3. All your information can be changed there. (Note: Students can’t change their names or usernames)
      4. Add an Avatar if you want.
  7. How to find material for an assignment in the catalog (For Teachers)merge screenshot
      1. First go to “Workspace” in the left menu gray bar, you have 3 examples to see how the questions and notes works.
      2. You can go to the “Catalog” and search for a book or article by topic and select different tags for a more specific search (i.e. free, middle school, 7th graders, common core, etc)
      3. Once you choose your text, you have the options to add the book/article with questions and notes or just the text.Once you select the book/article it will go to your “Workspace” section.
  8. How to create your own material for an assignment (For Teachers only):Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 3.20.23 PM
      1. For a free account, you can upload 3 PDF/Google Doc/Internet article per month.
      2. Go to your “Workspace”  in the left menu gray bar.
      3. Click on “Add content” and then “Import Google Doc” is going to ask to copy the url from the Actively Learn assignment or linked to Google Classroom if you have it.
      4. Click “Add content” and then click  “Upload PDF”  (if it have more than 10 pages it recommends Google Docs)
      5. Click on “Add content” and then “Import Internet article”
  9. How to create classes (For Teachers only):Screen Shot 2016-11-08 at 3.21.24 PM
      1. In the left menu, where it says “Classes” at the right side click on the “Plus Icon”
      2. A pop-up window “Add a new class” will appear, there you would need to write the name for the class
      3. At the “Roster” tab you will find the “Class Code”
      4. Once your students enter to your class with this “class code” you can see the list of students in the “Roster tab” as well.
        1. n the left grey menu, go to “Workspace”
        2. Click on the “assign” tab
        3. Select the material (book, article, pdf, google docs) can be more than one
        4. Click on “Next”
        5. Select the class you want to move the material, and click “Ok”
        6. IMPORTANT: You can only add questions as Instructor on the Workspace, so prepare the questions beforehand. Notes can be added anytime.

How to bring assignments to your class from the Workspace (For Teachers only):

      1. Edit class detail: you can change the name of the class
      2. Reading settings: these settings are going to affect the student’s reading experience for all the class assignments that do not have any special setting.
      3. Grading settings: as the name says, here you can adjust how you want to grade your students.
      4. Co-teaching: is for paid version
      5. Delete ClassClass Settings, click on the “Gear icon” the follow drop menu appears: (For Teachers only):


Galda, L. & Liang, L.A. &. Cullinan B. E. (2014). Literature and the Child. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Momtaz, E., & Garner, M. (2010). Does collaborative learning improve EFL students’ reading    comprehension. Journal of linguistics and language teaching, 1(1), 15-36.

Obendorf, H. (2003, August). Simplifying annotation support for real-world-settings: a comparative study of active reading. In Proceedings of the fourteenth ACM conference on Hypertext and hypermedia (pp. 120-121). ACM.

Schilit, B. N., Golovchinsky, G., & Price, M. N. (1998, January). Beyond paper: supporting active reading with free form digital ink annotations. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 249-256). ACM Press/Addison-Wesley Publishing Co.