Remember the frustration of opening a PDF document and not being able to make any changes? Luckily, in the last few years there has been an explosion of PDF editing software, making the manipulation of PDF documents simple. While traditionally, business documentation such as agreements and surveys were presented in PDF form, this file type is gaining wider use in the classroom, thanks to online learning.
In looking for the best PDF editor, there needs to be an understanding of what students and teachers do with PDF documents, and which editing features would be applicable to their work. We are going to take a look at some scenarios showing how PDFs are used in education and what capabilities an online PDF editor can offer.
Why is there now a need to edit PDF documents?
When I was in school, my assignments were often painstakingly written using my best penmanship on colored cardboard. PDF documents were used when accessing online texts in the library, but of course, they were simply to be viewed, not interacted with. This was one of the original purposes of PDF documents, to have a high-quality document that could be viewed on any device without a change in formatting. We have come a long way since then, with computers playing a central role in almost all facets of learning. Here are some of the main reasons why editing PDF documents is becoming more necessary:
The move online – As mentioned above, we now do almost everything online, from reading to filling in forms, to working collaboratively with shared online documents. Even before the pandemic, education was moving online quickly, in an attempt to provide the necessary digital skills for the next generation. With socially-distanced online learning, teachers need to reliably distribute readings and other documents to students. One of the simplest ways to do this is with the PDF.
Passive to active – Education used to involve teacher-directed instruction. Now, there is a large emphasis on creation, learning by doing. It is no longer seen as enough to memorize a stack of documents, tangible skills are what is needed. Creating and editing PDF documents is just part of the new standard.
Greater computer literacy – Microsoft Word and PowerPoint used to be the preserve of school assignments. Although they are still very popular, students are creating rich pieces of work on Prezi, Sway and Spiral. Becoming familiar with PDF manipulation is just another part of this expansion.
As mentioned before, there are many PDF editors out there, but not so many that contain all necessary features in one place. One of the most expansive applications is Lumin PDF. With Lumin PDF installed, you can modify PDFs online with ease.
How can Lumin PDF be used in education?
Distributing and annotating a document as a class – Imagine the teacher finds a great text to study online. It is a long document so they only want to use part of it. No problem, with Lumin software the teacher can delete whatever pages or passages they want so that only the core material is there. Lumin PDF syncs to Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox, so any changes made are saved automatically. The text can then be distributed to students remotely in the click of a button. In a teacher-led discussion during an online lesson, they can annotate the document in real-time. This means they can add text to the PDF, highlight any sections, or change the colour or boldness of a certain passage to make it stand out, with students following along on their own document. The ability to edit a PDF file online means that even set texts can be interactive.
Creating a newsletter or brochure – The teacher may give a collaborative assignment for students to create their own newsletter, online magazine, brochure, restaurant menu etc. Using this PDF editor, students can decide on a template and work with real-time syncing to add text, images and comments to each other’s work. If one student is working on their phone and another on their laptop, it doesn’t matter! PDFs will always render the same, regardless of browser or device. What’s more, any images added will retain their quality when delivered to the teacher.
Creating and filling in a survey – This is something that can be done easily by teacher or student. If there is information that needs to be gathered for a field trip or classwork, it is simple to create a fillable PDF document with your own text fields or checkboxes. If the document is large and needs to be sent to many people, Lumin PDF allows you to compress the document before sending. Whoever is sent the form can easily fill out the requisite parts and send back. If they stored it on their Google Drive, they can simply share a link. As you can see, with the right software, gathering information isn’t rocket science.
Rejecting time-consuming workarounds – People may have shied away from PDF documents as they indeed used to be difficult to edit. For example, without a PDF file editor, you would need to convert a PDF to an editable Word document to make changes, reformat, and then finally convert back to a PDF document. Now changes can be made directly in the original document within seconds.
PDF editing online for free
As we’ve seen PDFs can be used as a really powerful tool in the classroom. While the Google PDF editor allows people to manipulate basic text and annotations, Lumin allows for secure online collaboration, e-signatures, the creation of fillable PDFs and the merging and splitting of PDFs with ease