Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Notable PDF

My new favorite Google app and extension!

I don't know about you, but I hate spending time in the copy room.  I also have a lot of really good worksheets that I want to use. And if I do decide to re-type them in Google Docs, I certainly do not want students to have the ability to "edit" aka "delete/manipulate my work when I share the document with them.    For the past few months, I have felt that this has been a downfall of Google Classroom.  Don't get me wrong, I love that Google Classroom will make the students their own copy, but that still allows them to edit that document.  You can share a pdf, but they can't do anything with it unless they have a program that allows them to annotate pdf's.  I am sure there are several programs that will do this, but so far Notable PDF is my choice.

I found Notable PDF while searching for a way to display our Mock STAAR test so that I could go over the questions with my students.  After I downloaded the app and extension I imported the PDF file of the Mock test.  Then I was able to annotate each question with available tools.  At this time I was still working with the Basic (FREE) version.  I was able to show students keywords, how to eliminate, and reason choices.  I also made the students find where they had previously learned the information from the question. (INB - Interactive Notebook).


As I was working through the questions, I thought how useful this would be with other worksheets and assignments (like labeling maps)!  I also thought that it would be great for teachers in any subject.  As a former Math teacher, I could see where this would be great for word problems.

I did have a little scare...  

I couldn't figure how to save and I had to leave to pick my son up.  After considering leaving my teacher computer on for the night and deciding that was a bad idea, I decided to click the dreaded X.  When I got home, I held my breath as I opened the document.  The PDF was clean...  NONE of the revisions were saved.  I was torn.  I loved what I was able to with the app, but if I couldn't save it really was no use to me.  I went to their website and decided to buy the premium version (so that I could draw, share, and save to drive).  I figured out (after paying), that all I had to do was import the PDF into the app/or use the extension to open it and a little pop screen would come up and ask what version I wanted to use.  Yes, one of those versions was the PDF with 268 annotations (The STAAR Test is LONG).  The good news is that I retrieved all of the annotations and learned how to save it.  I could have exported the version to a PDF and had it saved to my computer with the Basic (FREE) version if I would have been a little more patient.  I don't regret buying the Premium version though.  I like that Premium allows me to draw and save directly to drive.  There is also an option to collaborate, but I haven't tried that out yet.

How I plan to use this app in the future... 

I currently use Google Classroom to "announce" daily objectives and share assignments. Now when I can assign "worksheets" for the students to complete and turn into me.  When creating the assignment, I will attach the pdf and select "Make a copy for each student".  I would also include that they need export to a new pdf and save the file as "yourname worksheet name".  They would then turn in using Google Classroom.  (I haven't had a chance to have them try the "Turn it in" step, but if that doesn't work, I will have them email the pdf to me).

Screenshot of my Google Classroom assignment.

So... What do you think?  Is this something you could use in your class?  Comment ideas and questions below!   

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