I thought that new – and veteran – readers might find it interesting if I began sharing my best posts from over the years. You can see the entire collection here.  I’m starting with posts from earlier this year.



I’ve always had problems trying to figure out how to get Google Docs to play nice with PDFs.

I had given up, and concluded that Actively Learn was going to be my “go-to” tool since it lets you upload sizable PDFs and allows students to answer questions within the document.  Of course, if you only have the free plan, you’re limited to three uploads each month (Yes, yes, I know there are other tools out there like Kami and Edjit, but they require student to get extensions and we have to get district approval).

Then, today, after searching around the Internet, I found this page from Hampshire College: Annotate PDFs Collaboratively Using Google Drive

I tried it out and it worked like a charm!

Then, I sent out this tweet and learned that I most definitely was not the only person who didn’t know this, along with learning about the successes others have had using this feature:

This is perfect for distance learning!

I’m adding this info to The Best Applications For Annotating Websites.

I’m also adding it to HERE ARE DETAILED – & TENTATIVE – DISTANCE LEARNING PLANS FOR ALL MY FALL CLASSES because I’ll definitely be including it in my plans!


Students can leave comments on annotations left by their classmates. One not-so-nice feature, however, is that it appears anyone can “resolve” another’s annotation and make it disappear. However, if that happens, you can go to the “three dots” and click on ‘Show Inactive Comments” and you can see every comment that has been made, even if it has been resolved.

NEW & IMPORTANT: I also discovered that after you add the pdf to a Google Classroom assignment and give students editing rights, they won’t immediately be able to annotate the it – there is one more step they have to take.  They will have to click on the three dots in the upper right corner:


After they click on it, they will see “Open in new window.”  After they click on that action, they will then be able to leave comments on the PDF.

Perusall is probably a more “elegant” tool to use for uploading and annotating PDFs – or just about any other document. However, the ease of being able to keep everything in Google Drive and not have to require students to log-into yet one more online tool solidifies the case for – at least in my situation – to use this Google feature.