Translate a PDF using Google Drive

open with google docs

Do you have a PDF in another language that you need to translate? Google Drive/Docs makes it very easy to translate a PDF document. You can do this in two easy steps on your computer. (It doesn’t work on a tablet or smart phone).

upload documentStep 1: Convert your file to text

  1. Go to on your computer.
  2. Upload the file from your computer (click and drag or New | File upload)
  3. Right-click on the file (two-finger click or ⌘-click on a Mac)
  4. Select Open with | Google Docs.

You can now view your converted document. Note that some of the text formatting may be lost and tables, columns, lists, endnotes, footnotes, etc. may lose their format.

translate documentStep 2: Translate a text document

  1. With the document open, go to Tools | Translate document in the top menu.
  2. Type in a name for the document and choose the language that you would like to translate to.
  3. Press Translate to see a new document with the translated text in a new tab.

Realize your Wish for Technology Integration into the Classroom

Realize your Wish

You’ve clarified your wish for technology integration in your classroom using the WOOP process. Now you have to take steps to realize your wish. At the simplest level, keep the intention in mind as you plan your units and lessons, and find authentic opportunities to use technology that match your intention. This allows your students to develop technology skills within the context of a subject or multiple subjects. This makes the use of technology purposeful and meaningful.

It’s useful to think about what’s involved in realizing your wish. What are the parts of your wish? This is like coming up with the lines of inquiry for an essential question. The components will help you identify possible activities that align with your intention for technology integration.

Possible Activities to Purposefully Integrate Technology

Here are some examples of activities to help students select reliable sources of information online for use in each of their research papers (my wish from the WOOP process):

  • conduct inquiries as a class to answer a research question
    • co-construct search queries with students
  • evaluate the credibility, relevance, accuracy and perspective of information, media, data and resources online
    • model/demonstrate
    • have students practice
    • have students submit their evaluation of resources used for the first few assignments, and allow peer or teacher feedback
  • create citations using Explore in Google Docs (for an analysis, research paper, etc.)
  • Use Google Scholar to find published research
  • visit the library to learn about the school’s subscription services from the librarian (or invite the librarian to the classroom)
  • Compare results on Google with those from other search engines and databases

You’ve probably noticed from the brainstormed list that the activities aren’t focusing on technology; they are using technology to meet a particular goal. Students aren’t exploring Explore in Docs in case they need it someday; they’re using it to create a citation relevant to their research.

It’s your turn. Go ahead and brainstorm a list of activities to meet your wish. Consider the outcome that you specified before and whether the activities will achieve that outcome.


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Photo credit: Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Goal-setting for Technology Integration in your Classroom

goalsetting page with coffee cup

ball in goalGoal-setting

You’re either near the start of a new academic year or halfway through it. It’s a good time to set/revise your goal for technology integration in the classroom. Setting a goal helps you clarify your intention and can focus your energy when using technology in the classroom.

Goal-setting is the process of determining and planning what you want to accomplish. Goal-setting tells your mind what to expect, and is useful for evaluating your progress, and transferring your learning. There are many different approaches that you can take to planning for goal-setting. The SMART (Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) approach to goal setting is popular, and you’re welcome to use it. I would like to share the WOOP (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) approach, which is useful for technology integration, where mindset and attitude are often what’s keeping us from taking the first step, or keeping to the path. It’s also more accessible in education than SMART, because we may not know exactly what’s realistic when engaged in action research, and other experiments for innovation and transformation.

The WOOP System

When using the WOOP system, it is important to maintain the integrity of the system. This involves two concepts: do the steps in order, and visualize the steps as you carry them out. First, you will decide on one main wish for using technology in your classroom. Then you will complete the outcome step. In the outcome step, focus on student learning and add specificity to your wish. If you’re using the SMART method instead, you may need to use the 5 W’s to help you come up with an appropriate goal. Then you will consider what internal obstacle is most likely to stand in the way of you achieving your wish/goal and write it down as the obstacle. The final step is to plan how you will overcome this obstacle, using an if, then format.

Choosing a Goal/Wish

Don’t be discouraged if you have trouble coming up with a goal or wish that pleases you. Often, teachers tell me that they would like to use more technology in their classroom. The visualization stage in the outcome will help you clarify your purpose for choosing that wish. If you recently got a set of new technology devices in your classroom and are still learning when and how to use them, choose one of the indicators in the ISTE Standards for students to start with. Standard 3c “Students curate information from digital sources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions” (ISTE) could become a wish to help students select reliable sources of information online for use in each of their research papers.

Complete the Steps in the WOOP System

Once you have a goal or wish, write it down in a notebook or in an electronic document. Then complete the other steps of WOOP. Here is a handy template for your use. 

It’s useful to have a file or notebook to help you plan and document your technology integration journey. Documentation is important to give us data and information for evaluating our progress. It’s also useful for replicating our experience, and for sharing it with others. When you’re in the process of experimentation and experience, it’s easy to forget details or to lose sight of the whole picture. Documentation will help avoid these problems. The next post will share some suggestions for realising your wish.


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Use Flipgrid in the classroom

What is Flipgrid

Flipgrid is an app for video discussions. Pose questions, and let students respond with video instead of text. It provides a different medium for classroom discussions.

Flipgrid follows a Freemium model. You can have one grid with unlimited topics for free, or pay for a subscription to Flipgrid Classroom.

Features of Flipgrid

  • Threaded video discussion
  • Teachers post topics, videos, or links for discussion
  • Students can respond to the prompt or to their peers (premium)
  • Grids are private by default and can be password protected
  • Choice of video length
  • Each Flipgrid has a unique code
  • Share your grid or topic with others with a link
  • Privacy and moderation settings
  • Each grid can hold an unlimited number of questions/topics
  • Each question/topic can hold an unlimited number of responses
  • Questions can include links to websites or documents
  • Students do not need to log in to post

10 Ideas to use Flipgrid

  • Have a conversation with a pen pal or an expert.
  • Explore a concept with students.
  • Collaborate on a topic with a class in another room or school
  • Take on a persona of a character/historical figure to create a video
  • Explain the solution to a Math problem
  • Showcase a performance/presentation with a reflection
  • Share examples of Math in the real world
  • Post an opinion on a topic/question from the teacher or a classmate
  • Post a book review
  • Share a headline or memorable quote from a story or book

Differentiation using Flipgrid

  • Instead of recording their voice, a child could hold up posters with words to the screen.
  • If you can’t show a student’s face, use a static image for the recording
  • Record a student’s answer after you ask him/her a question (for example, with younger students)
  • Have students work in groups, with one of the jobs being that of the narrator. You can rotate roles.


  • Have students practice what they are going to say. For older students, they can write out a short script as well.
  • Although the videos are not very long, you may want students to storyboard them, depending on the situation.
  • Students can post performance videos for reflection/feedback/comment



One word for the year example topic

If you have another example that you’d like to share, please post it in the comments.

Try out Flipgrid

Flipgrid task sheet

Email Large files using Google Drive and Gmail

Attach document from Google Drive

This isn’t so new, but it’s a very useful feature. If you have a large file that you want to send by email:

  1. Save it to Google Drive
  2. E-mail the copy that you’ve saved in Google Drive using Gmail.

Attach document from Google Drive
It’s very easy to send one or more files from Google Drive, right from your email, which means you can send a combination of files from Google Drive and your desktop at the same time.

Google documents (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms) must be sent as a link, and other documents like pdfs, MS Office files (not converted) and image files can either be sent as links, or as attachments. A great feature of Google Drive attachment is that Gmail ensures that the recipients have access to any files that you are sharing with them using links, and prompts you if you need to change the file permissions.