Convert PDF Files to Word Documents With These 2 Free Apps

Posted on Wed, Dec 04, 2013 @ 18:12 PM

Over the weekend, a former student asked me to write letters of recommendation for three separate university applications. Two of the recommendation forms were editable PDF files, meaning all I had to do was click on each field and type in the requested information. The third form was also a PDF, but it was not set up so that I could fill it out electronically. After several botched attempts at copying, pasting and reformatting in Microsoft Word, I gave up, printed out the form and handwrote my responses.

If you knew what my handwriting looks like, you’d understand why I couldn’t bring myself to submit such an important document covered in my chicken scratch. So I started looking for free PDF converters.

PDF converterWhile there are plenty of file converters out there, most charge a monthly fee. One exception is called, of all things, PDF Converter. This allowed me to upload the PDF form and convert it to a downloadable Word document for free.

There are two caveats: One, you can only convert two pages for free. Two, as far as I can tell, you can only convert one file every 24 hours. It’s not a cure-all solution, but it certainly came in handy when I was in a pinch.

If you need tPDF converter 2o convert more than two pages, or have several PDFs to convert, head over to Nitro Cloud. Like the PDF converter above, Nitro Cloud will convert your document for free, but you are limited to five conversions a month—or you can pay five dollars a month for unlimited conversions.

I can think of several instances where both of these applications would have come in handy. Often I would find articles online or a colleague would share a lesson plan or assignment sheet that was only available in PDF format. If I didn’t want to use the entire article, or if I needed to make changes to the lesson plans, I’d have to copy and paste the text into a word document and spend time reformatting all of the unnecessary spaces and strange formatting issues. As you probably know, this can be irritating and time consuming!

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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, teach typing

5 resources to help you commemorate the September 11 anniversary

Posted on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 10:09 AM

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States. You and your students may have your own way of commemorating the 9/11 attacks, but if you’re stuck, check out the following resources we’ve used throughout the years.

September 11 anniversaryUnderstanding 9/11
This is one of the most comprehensive collections of 9/11 news footage out there. Video segments are all arranged on a timeline, making it simple to select videos by date, time and country of origin. The database contains over 3,000 hours of international TV News from 20 channels over 7 days, and all of it has been hand selected by scholars.

September 11 anniversary 29/11 Attacks - 102 Minutes That Changed America
102 Minutes That Changed America is an interactive video experience that incorporates video footage from 10 different locations around Manhattan. Users are not only able to see videos, but they can also read each filmmaker’s story and access interview footage with him/her.

September 11 anniversary39/11: The Reckoning  
To commemorate 9/11, The New York Times asked readers the following question: “Where were you on September 11, 2001?” The result of this question is The Reckoning, an interactive map that contains over 38,000 comments from readers all over the world. Users can browse comments by category or location and see the number of times words and phrases appear.

September 11 anniversary4September 11 Attack Timeline
This interactive timeline begins at 5:45 am—the time that the hijackers passed through security at the Portland International Jetport in Maine—and ends when President Bush addressed the nation at 8:30 pm on September 11.

September 11 anniversary5From Plaza to Bedrock
The From Plaza to Bedrock infographic allows users to interact with interesting facts and figures about the 9/11 Memorial and explore details about the vast artifact collection of the Museum.

If you’re looking for more resources to help you commemorate 9/11, stop by Scholastic where you’ll find a variety of articles, videos and interactive maps for teachers.


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3 Apps to Help You Teach Typing

Posted on Tue, Sep 03, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

teach typingGrowing up, my parents had a WWII-era typewriter that I’d peck out two-finger stories on; then in middle school there was the sweat-inducing typing tests we were issued on the Apple IIe. There was no typing software, only a teacher armed with a yard stick. On one end of the ruler, she’d attach a sheet of black construction paper. Then she’d stand back with a stop watch, cover our hands with her crude contraption and command us to type out Dick-and-Jane-style passages from the sheet she rigged to the side of the monitor. I’m probably making it sound more traumatic than it really was, but needless to say, I would have taken any of the following three typing apps over the yardstick any day!

3 Apps to Help You Teach Typing

teach typing 2TypingWeb
In no specific order, here’s everything you need to know about Typing Web:

  • It’s free
  • It aligns with Common Core Standards Preparation
  • There’s no limit to how many students can use it
  • Teachers can create, track, group, and manage their students’ progress from the web
  • You can monitor your students in real time
  • You can access and export detailed reporting data
  • Students learn to type by playing fun and interactive typing games and daily news headlines exercises
  • When students complete a lesson, they earn a trophy for their personal trophy case
  • Free (and unlimited) certificates are available for both General typists and 10 key certifications.
  • As each student progresses, TypingWeb learns which keys cause them the most difficulty and creates custom lessons focusing on their top five most troublesome letters
  • Students can repeat the typing test to track their progress over time

teach typing 3Dance Mat Typing

Although Dance Mat won’t keep a detailed record of your students’ typing progress, it’s a worthy mention for the simple fact that it takes a potentially tedious activity and transforms it into a game.

The game itself doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I’m a 32-year-old man and I’m amused by it. So why wouldn’t your elementary students be? It’s the typist’s mission to help baby chicks hatch; whenever you successfully complete a typing sequence, a chick is liberated from an egg. Don’t mistype though, or you’ll be scolded by your coach, a Southern-drawlin’ Rooster.

teach typing 4Nitro Type
We saved the best for last. Students can improve their typing skills while competing in fast-paced races with typists from around the world. The more races you win, the more digital cash you receive. Spend your rewards at the dealership where you can purchase new cars and nitros so you can skip words while racing.


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Topics: Educational Technology, Educational Technology Master's Degree, Educational Technology Programs, apps for educators, apps for teachers, teach typing

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