Sunday, June 26, 2016

Using DocHub to Edit PDFs in Google Drive

It was three days before summer, and students were scrambling to finish the year. By the time a particular student approached me, I was at the end of my rope, tied a knot, and hung on – not the best place to be when a child needs you the most.

He asked me if the work he missed was on Google Classroom, to which I relied, "Yes, and don't ask me anything else. You'll need to figure this out on your own. I'm out of copies. Make it happen." The work has been on Classroom since day one. 

I wasn't proud of what came out of my mouth because of the obvious loss of patience for this student. The whole course had been a scramble for him, but that didn't let me off the hook. Little did I know that he was about to surprise me. 

I Love Surprises

When I opened my inbox the following morning, I noticed a document with DocHub in the file name. I was familiar with DocHub because I used it to add text to PDFs (see video below) this past year and couldn't help but ignore everything else. It was from the student who I had been short with the previous day.

He surprised me with his initiative. The assignment PDF was in Classroom, so he used DocHub to complete it and email it to me right away. Perhaps this was done out of fear that I would not accept the work after that day, or maybe it was the way he would have done all of the assignments had my directions not been so limiting.

dochub, edit pdf, google drive
Since my biggest wish is for kids to take ownership of their education, I was elated that a student was opening my eyes to something that was right in front of me all this time.
Applying the Lesson

Next year marks the beginning of our 1:1 Chromebook initiative. Using DocHub to add text to PDFs will be helpful because our textbook workbooks are PDFs. Plus, many of the practice work I've used in the past can still be used in a paperless setting.

I'm not against paper, and certainly break up the screen time for my students. But this way of working is useful, especially when we are trying to create a collaborative environment where kids own the learning. 

What is DocHub?

DocHub is an online PDF editor with Google integration. When you open a PDF in Drive (or from Classroom), the "Open With" options in the header will include DocHub if the app is installed. 

Interactive PDFs cannot be edited directly in Drive. DocHub restores this capability. For example, the AP U.S. History curriculum framework has text fields where teachers can add the illustrative example choices. These fields are still available in DocHub.

On the other hand, the DBQ worksheet that my late-finisher (student) completed was not an interactive PDF, so he added text boxes.