Thursday, March 12, 2015

DocHub- the cure to your PDF problem!

Many of us have used PDFs in our classrooms. They are quick and easy to create. They have the ability to compress enormous files into something more compact. They're self contained, meaning you can preserve the visual elements between computers, across applications, making them visually appealing- a definite plus for most elementary teachers that love their clip art and cute fonts. The list of benefits go on and on...

As much as I love PDFs I have always been frustrated with the fact that they're difficult to edit. By nature PDFs are created so they can not be changed, revised or manipulated. They are not an editable document- they're basically an image of a document, almost impossible to edit, until now...

I have been trying to tackle this challenge for years. I have talked to many teachers and tech. directors and have been mostly unsuccessful. I tried converting the PDF back to a Word doc, but it wasn't pretty. Leave it to my AMAZING students to figure it out, almost by accident, how to edit and save a PDF. 

It all started when one of our extremely responsible students forgot their Genius Hour folder at school. Our kiddos write weekly reflections on their passion project work, and this young lady had left her folder and reflection form in her mailbox at school, but was determined to find a way to finish her homework! Knowing that the PDF doc was saved on our Genius Hour website, she downloaded the PDF to the DocHub app, wrote her personal reflection, then saved the edited PDF to her Drive and printed it for me the following day. read that correctly...she edited a PDF, saved it, and printed it for me! 

When our wonderful student got to school the following day and explained what she did, Angela and I just looked at each other in disbelief. For a minute this young lady thought we were frustrated that she had forgotten her folder at school...little did she know that she had just helped us solve an ongoing frustration without even realizing it. Enter DOCHUB!!

Needless to say, I quickly checked out this amazing website (also an app in the Chrome Web Store). Once on their site, you can easily create an account using your Google Drive or Dropbox.

Upload a file in seconds and let the magic begin! The amazing part of DocHub is that it allows you to edit and share PDF's online. It gives you the ability to insert text, draw, highlight, comment, even insert images. These items are "layered" on top of the PDF. You can save and come back to your edited PDF within DocHub as many times as you like. If that wasn't awesome enough, you can reorder pages, rotate pages, even delete pages you don't want included!! 
Collaboration is key in our classroom, and that is definitely an option with this app! When you're completely done editing, you can share your edited PDF with others via email, link, or save to your Google Drive.

Like I said earlier, two of my students introduced this amazing tool to me a few weeks back. I hope to share it with my entire class next week. Before that, I decided I should play around with it to better familiarize with all it has to offer. SOOO glad I did that! My students will be using it soon, so I'll let you know if we learn any other amazing features! 

~ Kate


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