Wednesday, April 15, 2020

How to Make Any PDF Interactive on Zoom {Without Editing or Changing the Original PDF}

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Zoom tips for teachers & teletherapists: how to screenshare PDFs on Zoom and use the annotate tool to make any printable or document interactive, without editing or changing the original PDF.

Are there printables you used a lot in therapy sessions and wish you could use in your switch to teletherapy or 1-on-1 teaching? Or a worksheet you love to use as a teacher?

Same! I know, for me as a piano teacher, that I wanted to still incorporate some of the music theory games my students already know and love into their online piano lessons. And I've been doing so since I made the switch to Zoom.

Seriously, it's really easy to do this right within Zoom as long as you have the PDF and know how to use a couple of Zoom's built-in tools (which I'll show you below, if not).

And you don't have to edit or change the original PDF either, which helps protect the hard work of the people who make the PDFs in the first place (yeah, please don't edit or modify people's PDFs without permission, mmkay?). So here's how to make any PDF interactive on Zoom and create a more engaging Zoom meeting for the kids you work with.

Zoom tips for teachers and teletherapists using the screenshare and annotate tools

Tools You'll Need to Know About on Zoom to Make Any PDF Interactive

In order to make any PDF interactive during your Zoom chats or meetings, you'll need to know how to use two basic functions:

  • How to screenshare
  • Where to find the annotate tools
Not familiar with either of these features yet? No worries, check out this video that walks you through the basics of both features.

Creative Ways to Adapt Any PDF into an Interactive Activity During a Zoom Meeting

Okay now that you know how to use the features, here's where it gets really fun!

Say you have a fun printable board game you like or say one of my free I spy games that you'd normally use as part of your regular therapy session or piano lessons (in my case!).

You can screenshare the PDF during your Zoom meeting and then use the annotate tool for you and the other participants to interact with it.

Example ideas include:

  • Color in a coloring page or circle an answer to a question on a worksheet using the draw tool and switching the colors as needed
  • Stamp items as you find them (perfect for the I spy games!) using the stamp tool
  • Complete mazes or dot-to-dots using the draw tool
  • Matching questions on different parts of the PDF using the draw tool
  • Create a game board piece/token using the shape tool and then use the select tool to move that shape around the game board
  • Highlight questions on the PDF or the starting point of the game board using the spotlight tool (select the arrow one)
  • Typing out answers to questions on the PDF using the text tool

An Example

Here is a screenshot of some pink Xs drawn using the annotate tool onto my I spy aliens game during a Zoom meeting screenshare. 

How to screenshare on Zoom & other Zoom tips for teachers

On the right side, you can see a floating bar that says "talking." Normally, you will see all participants' videos there, including your own. I just minimized my video preview because I don't want my very tired face with unkempt hair attached to this screenshot haha 

But basically, you can see how someone could mark up the PDF using the annotate tools to show their understanding of concepts. And this works with any PDF.

Other Important Zoom Tips for Teachers & Teletherapists

1. Here's an important thing to remember: in order to screenshare the PDF during your Zoom call, you need to have the document open first. If you don't have the PDF open, then you won't see the option to share it when you click the screenshare button.

2. Be sure to have the PDF showing in full screen mode so that the entire document is visible to other participants.

3. Any marks you make with the annotate tool stay on the screen where you draw them, meaning, if you scroll up or down on the PDF or go to another page, the marks you drew will stay there. It also means that if you stop the screenshare, the drawings will stay there and will still be there if you click screenshare again. So yes, that means you can exit and come back to the PDF again and again, perfect if you need to give demonstrations or talk in between answering questions or working on the PDF.

4. You can also erase individual annotation marks using the eraser tool during screenshare mode. Or use the clear tool to erase the entire drawing or marks made only by certain participants.

5. Need to save your student's or client's work? Click the save tool!

6. You might need to show your clients and students where to find the annotate tools and how to use them. They are in different spots on different devices.

Other Zoom Tips & Resources You'll Love

Games to Play with Kids on Zoom

How to Create Interactive Digital Learning Resources

Tips for How to Keep Kids Engaged on Zoom

Zoom tips for teachers and teletherapists: how to screenshare and annotate PDF printables on Zoom and make them interactive for kids