Online Teaching Hacks: How to turn a regular PDF resource into a DIGITAL resource for your students!

Even without the extra added layer of distance teaching due to COVID, using computers/Chromebooks/iPads in the classroom is becomming more and more commonplace. I’ve been fortunate to have Chromebooks in my classroom for the past three years and they have been total gamechangers!

Over the last several years, I’ve learned some do’s and dont’s about how to take a plain old, normal PDF file and turn it into something your students can use digitally in an interactive way. I happen to use Google Classroom, but you can adapt these tricks to whatever platform you have access to. Here are my tips with step by step examples!

What’s in the video?

In this video, I will show you three tips for turning regular PDF files into digital resources your students can use and interact with on Google Classroom along with step-by-step examples. Use these tips to up your teaching game and create a more valuable distance learning experience.

  1. How to select specific pages of a PDF to provide, digitally, to your students. Many times, they don’t need every page and there’s just a specific handful that you want to provide. Here’s how to do that!
  2. How to turn a regular PDF resource into a digital resource that students can show their work on and you can, in turn, provide feedback on.
  3. How to create digital exit tickets for your students. They can show their work and express their thinking, and you can review their work, electronically, and provide feedback electronically, as well.

Here are some of my best quick tips!

  • Familiarie yourself with Print to PDF. This will allow you to select only the pages you want for your students.
  • If you want to post a reference/reading/note material for your students that you do NOT want them to edit/change, use the print to pdf otpion to select your specific pages, if necessecary, and post it as a material to Google Classroom.
  • If you DO want your students to edit/change/interact with the resource you are posting to Google Classroom, make sure to post it as an assignment, and don’t forget to change the setting to “make a copy for each student.”
  • If you want to make an interactive/editable resource, use to convert the PDF page(s) into image files. Use this option if you’re taking full pages at a time. If you plan on using partial pages at a time (like half-sheets, for example), use the built-in screen shot feature in your computer. I use the snipping tool that is built into my Windows HP computer! Either way, make sure you set these images as the background of the Google Slide. Do not simply insert them as an image. Your students can delete them by accident.

I hope you have been able to learn some easy to implement tips and tricks to take your regular old PDF’s into interactive digital assignments for your students!