Let me be clear - PDFs are great! They have a very important place. But inside a classroom ... with students? I think our goal needs to be to use fewer PDFs. For all the reasons they are great, they limit the interactivity and accessibility for our students. Here are just a couple of reasons why PDFs are great ... and problematic in the classroom:
- "locked" ➣ GREAT - retain the shape shared in; TROUBLE - students can't manipulate/interact with
- easy to open ➣ GREAT - PDFs really can be opened regardless of program, software, or device; TROUBLE - depending on the type of PDF, may not retain accessibility for screen readers
For the first reason, yes, 3rd party software and tools can allow for annotation and accessibility, but WHY use a 3rd party when you can provide that without forcing students to use one more set of tools? This is a specific pain point I've witnessed over the past 2 years, both at work and with my own daughters.
Pause and look at all the tools and programs YOUR students use on a daily basis. It's truly amazing ... and you might find it is a spot you can ease up. There IS value in using fewer tools and programs and getting REALLY good at them before adding one more.
Sound familiar? As a teacher, don't we ALL feel that way? "Please do not give us "one more" thing/tool/ program/requirement ..."? Your students are on the receiving end of this, too.
Ok! Get to the point! Here's my point:
We ARE in control and we CAN choose differently for ourselves and our students.
Let's turn more of our PDFs into tools that our students are already familiar with and can interact with and have the accessibility they need. Let's turn those PDFs into Google Docs (or Slides, if you prefer)!!! And, it's super easy! After 4 simple steps and a little bit of formatting clean up, you can take any PDF and turn it into an editable Google Doc that you can share and/or manipulate. To better demonstrate, here's a Slide deck you can reference and share out to others.
Check it out ... I promise it IS easy and you can do it! And I promise you WON'T regret it.
*UPDATE - Dec. 10* Here's a video of the process in action!
Questions? Need or want some help? Be sure to reach out on the socials - all my links are below my photo. I really do think you will find value in making this shift.