by Kathryn Nieves
Most educators are moving toward using Google Classroom or other learning management systems to accept and distribute their classwork. Despite the switch, there are many educators who still prefer to write physical comments on papers and like the pen-to-paper feedback. However, once assignments are uploaded by the students, it can be difficult for teachers to open and print all of the files they need to grade.
PDF Mergy is a Chrome extension, which means it works within the Google Chrome browser. Its function is to open all assignments within one PDF for easy printing. Once added from the Chrome Web Store, it is immediately available for your use. It can be found at the top of your browser and can be easily identified by the red and orange logo.
In order to use PDF Mergy to print copies of an assignment for all of the students in the class, click on the newly installed logo. A new tab will appear that will guide you through using PDF Mergy. Users have two options: selecting files from Google Drive or their device. Choose the option that best represents the way your assignments are stored, whether in a folder on your device or a Google Drive folder.
If you choose “Select Files from your Computer,” a popup window will appear that will allow you to find and select the files you have saved. If you have all of your student files saved in a folder, for example, you could choose the folder and select “Open.”
If you choose “Select Files from Google Drive,” the popup window will appear differently. You will be asked to sign into the appropriate Google account. You would select the account that you used to create your Google Classroom or other learning management system. Your entire contents of your Google Drive will appear once you have signed into your account.
You have the option to either browse through the folders in your Drive or search for a specific assignment. The easiest way to grab an assignment from your Google Classroom is to find the folder labeled “Classroom.” Then, you scroll through the assignments and find the one you want to have printed. Each assignment you have created will have its own separate folder.
Double click on the assignment folder to open all of the student responses. If you want all of your student assignments to be printed, you should select Ctrl + A on your keyboard. This shortcut will highlight all student files in blue. If you only want to choose a select few student files, you would hold the Ctrl key on your keyboard and click each student file you want to have printed. Then choose the blue “Select button at the bottom of the popup window.
All of the selected files will appear on one page. If you find you have accidentally selected a file that you do not want to be included in the printing, you can hover over the file name and click the trash can.
Once the list is finalized, select the blue “Merge” button at the top of the page. While your computer is processing the files to make one, you will receive the following loading message from the extension.
You will receive a new message from the extension on the webpage when your PDF is ready. Then, you have the option to either save the PDF to your Google Drive or open it for printing.
If you wanted to share the files as examples for your students, saving your merged file to your Google Drive would be beneficial because you could then post it on Google Classroom as a reference for your students. There are a variety of possibilities that could come from saving the PDF to Google Drive as opposed to simply printing it.
For teachers that prefer handwritten feedback on essays and assignments but still appreciate the students typing their work, PDF Mergy is an excellent tool to make the printing process easier. No longer do teachers have to open each file and print it individually, so a lot of time can be saved. It’s a simple tool, but can be really helpful in the grading process.
New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English