So the application I loved using the most so far this year is Adobe Acrobat Standard X, and I’m sure the environment has loved it also. While I feel I have just scratched the surface of what it can do, it has made many things easier for myself.
So the first reason I would recommend using Adobe Acrobat Standard Software is its ability to edit PDFs. Often times, lesson plans are stored in PDF form as this is a more universal file type. The ability to at least open up and read a PDF is free if the person has Adobe Reader. Adobe Standard allows you to insert, extract, or delete pages from a PDF document. There have often been times when I find a lesson online and don’t want X pages from it. Adobe Acrobat gives me the ability to take those out of the file all together.
Another helpful tool with having a full version of Acrobat Standard is the ability to convert PDFs to word documents. Converting them to Word is useful as it allows you to edit specific parts of a document. For example, in my history classes I often use PDF documents from academic journals or archived documents. In a couple of my classes I have students with sight problems. With Adobe Standard, I can covert the document into a Word file and have the ability to increase the font so they are able to read it. Now while the ability to convert it to Word and edit is great, the process isn’t completely clean and neat. The conversion process sometimes breaks the document into odd sections or headers with odd breaks. If the document uses an increased font size at the beginning of paragraph (Illustrated Bible style), that one letter gets converted into an image instead of text. I would recommend if you do convert a document, save about 15-20 minutes to go through it to make sure it is formatted correctly.
My absolute favorite thing about having Adobe Standard is the ability to do forms. For this past semester my paper consumption has gone down drastically because of Adobe Forms. Using this in conjunction with Engrade, the online electronic grade book, my students complete their assignments on the computer or their personal mobile device and then turn it in electronically on Engrade. The benefit of this is that Engrade records the date and time the assignment was submitted. I no longer have to worry about students loosing papers or having to keep track of papers myself. The benefit of using Adobe Forms instead of just a usual Word document is that you can secure a form to prevent it from printing. I find this useful as students would try to print it off to turn it in, circumventing the timestamp on Engrade. There were some growing pains. First, students need to download the PDF to their computer first. Often students would open the document in their browser, complete the assignment in the browser and then try to save it. If done this way, the computer saves a blank document. Second, and I think this was exacerbated with my group of apathetic students in regards to reading directions, students had problems with the turn in function on Engrade. This really isn’t a complicated thing though and most students should be able to accomplish this. Again, plan to spend time practicing the process. Last, and this one was on me, when securing the document so it can’t print, you need to go through a couple of steps to make sure it can be filled in and saved.
Overall I would highly endorse using Adobe Acrobat Standard. The student teacher edition is available for $119. My paper consumption has gone significantly down. My headaches of dealing with students turning in work, specifically late work, have decreased. The students can use any device (Mac or PC) to complete work, so “I lost the paper” excuses don’t work. Every kid with a smart phone, iPod Touch, iPad, laptop, or desktop computer can complete their work on their own device.