Category: Webtools

14 Essential Digital Tools for Educators to Streamline Daily Activities

 There are a lot to digital tools people swear are essential to educators. Here’s a list of fourteen put together by the Ask a Tech Teacher team. I use about half of them. How about you?

14 Essential Digital Tools for Educators to Streamline Daily Activities

In 2024’s fast-paced educational environment, teachers and all those in the academe face the daily challenge of managing their school or course’s efficiency. From spanning out schedules and lesson planning to grading, the responsibilities seem a never-ending cycle and quite overwhelming. 

Thankfully, however, today’s advancements brought digital tools to help streamline all these school-related activities. They make educators’ lives a whole lot easier, aside from improving the learning experiences for their students. 

Today, you can count on these tools to make educators’ lives more seamless once you get them working through digital routines.

Top 14 Educators’ Tools in 2024


9 Must-have Tools for Ed Conferences

It’s summer, time for teachers to recharge their cerebral batteries. That could mean reading, going on field trips, spending time with online PLNs, or taking calls from family members who usually end up at voice mail. For many, it means attending conferences like ISTE June 24th or the NEA Aspiring Ed Conference June 29th to learn the newest ideas in AI, Chromebooks, Robotics, and more. If you aren’t a veteran conference attendee, you may wonder what to bring. That’s a fair question considering learning is no longer done sitting in auditoriums nodding off to the wisdom of a guest speaker behind a podium. These days, you might be asked to scan a QR code and visit a website, access meeting documents online, interact digitally, or use a backchannel device to share your real-time thoughts with the presenter.

Besides a toothbrush and aspirin, what should you take to your upcoming conference? Here are five tools that will make you look and act like the Diva of Digital:

Map App

Some conferences take multiple buildings spread out over several blocks, and depending upon the number of attendees, your hotel may not be around the corner from the Hall. Have a Maps app on your smartphone or iPad. All you do is tell it where you’re going, ask for directions.

Conference App

Most conferences have one. I find these more useful than the conference website. They are geared for people who are manipulating a digital device one-handed, half their attention on the phone and the rest on traffic, meaning: they’re simple and straightforward. Test drive it so you know where the buttons are, then use it to find meeting rooms, changes in schedules, and updates.


3 Creative Teaching Resources That Save You Time and Money

Would you like innovative tech apps, DIY classroom materials, and budget-friendly solutions that save time and cut costs? Here are three from the Ask a Tech Teacher team:

3 Creative Teaching Resources That Save You Time and Money

Educators are increasingly expected to do more with less – ensuring that the next generation gets the quality of teaching they deserve while keeping budgets in check and making up for shortfalls in classroom resource availability.

This less-than-ideal scenario can be dealt with successfully if you’re savvy about how you approach it – so here are a few creative ways to reduce costs, free up more of your time, and still do your best for the youngsters you’re responsible for schooling. (more…)

12 Innovative Digital Tools to Engage High School Students

High School students will soon move into college and career where digital tools are de rigeur. Knowing the most innovative is a great first step. Here are twelve recommended by the Ask a Tech Teacher team:

12 Innovative Digital Tools to Engage High School Students

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, keeping students engaged can be a challenge. Thankfully, technological advancements have led to the development of digital tools designed specifically to captivate high school student’s attention and enhance their learning experiences. 

From virtual reality field trips to interactive quizzing platforms, these 12 tools offer diverse ways to bring lessons to life. 

Let’s explore how each tool can transform the classroom environment and spark a love for learning in every student. (more…)

How To Boost Student Engagement: Modern Tools for Math Teachers

Wondering how to get your students upbeat about learning math? Read how math teachers use modern tools, technologies, and techniques to teach the subject, from one of our Ask a Tech Teacher contributors:

How To Boost Student Engagement: Modern Tools for Math Teachers

Prospective teachers researching online teaching certification and hoping to learn all they can about being a math teacher will do well to include tech tools in their quest for knowledge. Modern educational tools make it possible to add a practical edge to math lessons, as students can observe math structures at play in the real world and see how people apply these formulas to solve common challenges.


Top PDF Editors Among Educators

PDF editors are valuable tools in schools that allow students with different platforms–Google Apps, MS Office, and others–to make annotations, add comments, edit content (with some restrictions), and collaborate. Students can submit assignments digitally despite differences between their home platform and school (say, they use MS Office at home and Google Apps at school). Lesson plans and materials can be shared as PDFs with reasonable assurance they will be able to access and read it. PDF files are (much) smaller than others making them easier to transfer via email and save in folders.

No surprise that as useful as PDFs are, there are many options. An Ask a Tech Teacher contributor reviews five options for you to consider:

    1. Format PDF
    2. Adobe
    3. PDF Element
    4. Nitro Pro
    5. Foxit Phantom PDF

Top PDF Editors Among Teachers and Educators

In the digital age, the ability to effectively work with PDF documents has become essential for professionals in various fields, including education. As educators, you encounter a wide range of PDF files, from worksheets and lesson plans to research papers and administrative documents. To efficiently manage and modify these files, having a reliable PDF editor at your disposal is paramount.

In this article, we present a comprehensive guide to the top PDF editors that have gained popularity among teachers and educators. Whether you need to annotate textbooks, create interactive lesson materials, merge multiple documents, or securely sign important forms, our list of recommended PDF editors will help you streamline your workflow and enhance your productivity.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into the world of top PDF editors and discover the tools that will revolutionize your PDF management experience!

1 offers a user-friendly interface that allows teachers and educators to easily upload, edit, and save PDF files. The platform provides essential editing tools such as text and image editing, page manipulation, and the ability to merge or split PDF documents. It also enables users to add annotations, comments, and highlights, making it convenient for collaborative work and providing feedback on student assignments. You can check it out here.


  • Accessibility: Being an online PDF editor, allows users to access their documents from any device with an internet connection, eliminating the need for software installations.
  • Ease of Use: The intuitive interface and straightforward navigation make a user-friendly option, even for those with limited technical expertise.
  • Cost-effective: offers a range of pricing plans, including free options with limited features and affordable premium plans, making it accessible to educators with varying budgets.


  • Internet Dependency: As an online tool, requires a stable internet connection to access and edit PDF files. This may limit usability in situations where a reliable internet connection is not available.
  • Limited Offline Access: Unlike downloadable software, does not offer offline access to documents, which can be a drawback for educators who prefer to work without an internet connection.

2 Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers a plethora of features designed to enhance document management and collaboration for educators. With this software, users can easily create, edit, and convert PDF files while maintaining the original formatting and integrity. The intuitive interface allows for efficient navigation and seamless integration with other Adobe products, making it a versatile tool for educators.


  • Advanced Editing Capabilities: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC offers an extensive range of editing tools, including text and image manipulation, page organization, and advanced formatting options. This allows educators to create professional-grade documents tailored to their specific teaching requirements.
  • Collaboration and Reviewing: The software facilitates seamless collaboration through its review and commenting features, enabling educators to share PDF files with colleagues, students, or administrators for feedback and revision.
  • Integration with Adobe Ecosystem: As part of the Adobe suite, the software seamlessly integrates with other Adobe products such as Photoshop and Illustrator, offering enhanced creative possibilities for educators.


  • Cost: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is a premium software that requires a subscription or a one-time purchase, which may be a deterrent for educators on a limited budget.
  • Learning Curve: Due to its comprehensive feature set, mastering all aspects of Adobe Acrobat Pro DC may require some time and effort. However, Adobe provides extensive tutorials and support resources to assist users in becoming proficient with the software.

Overall, Adobe Acrobat Pro DC stands out as a powerful PDF editing software, empowering teachers and educators with its wide range of features, collaboration capabilities, and advanced editing options. While the cost and learning curve may be considerations, the comprehensive functionality and seamless integration with other Adobe products make it a compelling choice for educators seeking a professional-grade PDF editor.

3 PDF Element

PDF element offers form creation and filling capabilities, empowering teachers to design interactive worksheets, assessment forms, and surveys. The software’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology enables the extraction of text from scanned documents, facilitating the digitization of physical resources for easy integration into digital teaching materials.


  • User-Friendly Interface: PDFelement boasts an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it accessible to educators with varying levels of technical expertise. The software’s layout and navigation ensure a seamless experience while working with PDF documents.
  • Customization and Annotation: Educators can easily customize their PDF documents by adding annotations, comments, highlights, and stamps, allowing for comprehensive feedback and engagement with students.
  • Cost-Effective: PDFelement offers flexible licensing options, including one-time purchases and affordable subscription plans, making it accessible to educators with different budget considerations.


  • Few Advanced Features: While PDFelement provides a comprehensive set of tools for most educators’ needs, it may not offer the same level of advanced features found in more specialized or high-end PDF editing software.
  • Limited Integration: Unlike software that is part of a larger ecosystem, PDFelement does not have extensive integration capabilities with other software applications commonly used in education. However, it supports essential file formats and allows for seamless import and export of documents.

4 Nitro Pro

Nitro Pro offers a wide range of features that aim to boost productivity and simplify PDF editing tasks for educators. With this software, users can easily create, edit, convert, and merge PDF files. Educators have the flexibility to modify text and images, rearrange pages, and incorporate headers, footers, and watermarks, enabling them to personalize their documents to align with their teaching needs.


  • Advanced Editing Capabilities: Nitro Pro provides extensive editing tools, including precise text and image manipulation, page organization, and comprehensive formatting options, empowering educators to create polished and professional-grade documents.
  • Collaboration and Review: The software offers robust collaboration features, allowing teachers to share PDF files with colleagues and students for seamless reviewing, commenting, and revising of educational materials.
  • Document Security: Nitro Pro provides encryption and password protection features, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive educational documents.


  • Affordability: Nitro Pro is a high-end software that offers multiple pricing options, which may present a challenge for educators on a tighter budget. However, the software’s extensive range of features and advanced capabilities make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking comprehensive functionality.
  • Ease of Use: Due to its rich feature set, Nitro Pro may require some dedicated time and exploration to fully grasp its complete range of functionalities. Nevertheless, Nitro Pro understands the importance of supporting educators and provides comprehensive tutorials and robust support resources to help them maximize their utilization of the software.

5 Foxit Phantom PDF

One notable feature of Foxit PhantomPDF is its collaboration capabilities. Educators can share PDF files, track changes, and add comments and annotations, facilitating seamless collaboration and feedback exchange with students and colleagues. The software also offers document security features, including password protection and redaction, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive educational materials

  • Lightweight and Fast: Foxit PhantomPDF is known for its fast performance and low system resource requirements. It allows educators to work seamlessly without experiencing significant delays or slowdowns.
  • Customizable Ribbon Interface: The software offers a flexible and customizable ribbon interface, allowing educators to personalize their workspace and access frequently used features with ease.
  • PDF Portfolio Creation: Foxit PhantomPDF enables educators to create PDF portfolios, which can combine multiple files into a single, organized document. This feature is particularly useful for compiling and sharing comprehensive teaching resources.


  • Limited Advanced Markup Tools: While Foxit PhantomPDF provides essential annotation and commenting tools, it may lack some of the more advanced markup options available in other PDF editors. Educators who require highly specialized markup features may find this limitation restrictive.
  • Limited Integration with Cloud Storage: While Foxit PhantomPDF allows integration with cloud storage services, the options may be more limited compared to other PDF editors. This may pose a challenge for educators who heavily rely on cloud-based workflows and file storage.

In conclusion, the world of PDF editing offers a multitude of options for teachers and educators seeking efficient and versatile tools to manage their documents. In this article, we explored a selection of top PDF editors specifically tailored to meet the needs of educators.

While online editors offer accessibility and convenience, downloadable software options provide offline access, advanced editing capabilities, and increased control over document management. Educators can choose the software that best aligns with their preferences, budget considerations, and workflow requirements. Happy PDFing!

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Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

June is Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month, thanks to a resolution passed in 2005 by the U.S. Senate. The goal is to raise awareness about online safety for all, with a special focus on kids ranging from tots to teens. Children are just as connected to the Internet as adults. This is a great list of internet cautions I got from an online efriend a few years ago. I reprint it every year because it covers all the basics, avoids boring details, and gives kids (and adults) rules to live by:

Not everything you read online is true

It used to be anything we read in print was true. We could trust newspapers, magazines and books as reliable sources of information. It’s not the same with the web. Since anyone can become published, some of the stuff you’re reading online isn’t true. Even worse, some people are just rewriting stuff they read from other people online, so you might be reading the same false information over and over again. Even Wikipedia isn’t necessarily a reliable source. If you’re researching something online, consider the source. Some poorly written, random web page, isn’t necessarily a good source. However, if you find a .gov or .org site, the information has a better chance of being true. Always look at who owns the website and whether or not they have an agenda before considering whether or not certain information is true.


7–no 10–OK, 13 Skills I Teach With Blogging

Blogging has become de rigeur in the Grade 3-8 classroom. It is flexible, scalable, and encourages diversity in both learning and teaching. Handled right, blogs can be used for pretty much any need that arises in the classroom. It has the added benefit of being an activity that students want to do. They like that it’s online, with lots of multimedia options, and a focus not on writing but communication.

I decided to track the skills I teach through blogging. When I started, I had seven, but as I continued, it exploded to this long list that I’m adding to even as I write this post. Read through these, tell me other ways you use it in your class:


Students collaborate on blogs when they comment on the ideas of others. They can also take it a step further by collaborating on the blog itself. Be co-owners of the blog, themed to a particular topic, and work together to fulfill goals.

Developing a profile

Blog profiles must be pithy, concise, and clear. What a great way for students to think through what makes them who they are and share it in as few words as possible. I am constantly reworking my own as I figure out a better way to communicate the gist of who I am.