A Classroom to Notability Workflow Workaround

A large number of Burlington Public School teachers are using Google Classroom in conjunction with Notability for their digital workflow. Recently, many students have been experiencing difficulty opening PDF’s in Notability when using the Classroom iOS app. Some students are receiving messages to switch accounts while others are being taken to the home screen of Drive only to have the app freeze or crash. This is happening even when teachers select the “make a copy for each student” option for the PDF. These issues are not exclusive to Burlington students.

The Google for Education Help Forum shows that students all across the country who are using Classroom on the iPad are experiencing similar problems. According to Michael Fricano, Google for Education Certified Trainer and moderator of the Classroom Google+ community, “the Google Classroom and Google Drive teams are working hard to fix the issue! We’ll let everyone know as soon as we receive official word!” 

Until this bug is fixed, we have discovered a relatively easy workaround. It requires students to use Classroom through the web browser. For Burlington students, this means they will use Safari. The steps students will take are as follows:

  1. Students will open Safari and go to classroom.google.com. After signing into their Google Apps accounts, they will select “no thanks” when prompted to use the Classroom app.
  2. Next they will locate the PDF they need to open in Notability. Students will tap and hold the PDF until a sub menu appears.
  3. They will select the “open in new tab” from the sub menu. The PDF will open in a new tab and students will download the file (the download button is in between the printer and share icons.
  4. Once the file is downloaded in a new tab students will select “Open In” located in the upper right corner. A menu will appear and Notability will be an option. Students will select Notability and will then be able to import the note to work on the assignment.
  5. When the assignment is complete, students will select the destination button located in the top left and will select “share” located at the bottom of the menu. They will select “Classroom” and will be able to attach the PDF to the correct assignment.
  6. Students will open the Classroom app, go to their work and submit the completed PDF.

This Classroom to Notability through the web browser workflow is demonstrated in the screencast below. I recommend sharing this screencast with your students so they can watch the process and follow along. You may even want to consider adding it to the About Page of your Classroom so students will have easy access to it throughout the duration of your course. If your students are still unable to follow this process after watching the screencast, please send them to the Help Desk for one on one assistance. I am also available to come into your classroom to do a training session with your students. Once the bug is fixed, we will let teachers and students know and they may switch back to using the Classroom iOS app. BHS Help Desk student Kevin Lynch created a screencast (also shown below) demonstrating the Classroom to Notability workflow using the app and this will be the method students will use once Google has fixed the bug!

Classroom to Notability (web version) 

Classroom to Notability (app version)


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