PDF-Notes 2.0.0 for iPad: The Best Annotation App… Or is it?

Now that my WiFi issues have been solved using a secure SSID with a password permanently stored in all iPads from our class set, it was on to experimenting with pdf-notes.  After stumbling upon this free app in the iTunes App Store, I watched an advertisement on YouTube which was more than impressive.  A nice bookshelf setup with the ability to create categories for each of your classes throughout the day, tons of writing tools which can be toggled using finger gestures, the ability to export a PDF to Dropbox as well as other cloud storage services, and even a password option!  Here’s the video clip below:


After trying the app for a short while at home, I thought this would be the ideal PDF annotation app to use with the TIPS4RM handout/worksheet style my colleagues and I have been using for the majority of our math courses.

The REAL Test Drive – My Grade 9 Applied Math Class

After spending some time setting up Dropbox accounts for each of my students in the class, we were off to the course website, www.mrpearce.co.nr to grab the handouts we would be tackling in pdf-notes for the day.  A quick tap on the handout link via our course google calendar had the PDF file up on each iPad in no time.  Having pdf-notes as an option on the “Open In” menu when you tap once on the worksheet was convenient to get all students into the app with the PDF.  Thankfully, I told the class we would “test’ our Dropbox accounts by exporting the worksheet as a flattened PDF and saving it in our individual accounts.

Then it happened…

What a great… Wait… Why am I looking at the iPad springboard?  The app crashed!  Not just on my iPad, but every student had the same problem.

According to the pdf-notes blog:

Version 2.0.2 Ready For Sale – 5 September 2011

  • bug fixed: exported invalid pdf files for some documents
  • bug fixed: crashed while exporting some pdf files
  • bug fixed: didn’t save inks for some pdf files
  • bug fixed: couldn’t add text notes by double taps when the time interval setting is always dot
  • bug fixed: went back to the wrong page after jumping by thumbnail pages view

Am I hopeful that the issue will be resolved in the free version soon?  Absolutely!  But until then, I will have to experiment  with apps such as neu.Annotate PDF & Noterize, which I originally felt had less to offer.  Maybe the simplicity of these apps will make for less problems and a more user-friendly setup for the students.


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About Kyle Pearce

I’m Kyle Pearce and I am a former high school math teacher. I’m now the K-12 Mathematics Consultant with the Greater Essex County District School Board, where I uncover creative ways to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in mathematics. Read more.

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