PDF Annotation App – PDFpen

The 1:1 Committee at my school has been looking at several apps this year in an effort to produce a list of “essential” or “core” apps that we believe our faculty will need for instructing with the iPad.  A number of us deal with PDFs on a regular basis, whether it’s an article we scanned on one of the school copiers, a journal article we downloaded from a library database, or even a Word document we asked our students to convert and upload to Google Docs.  Since so many of us are looking to go paperless when our students have their iPads next year, the 1:1 Committee has been considering a handful of PDF annotation apps that are functional enough to allow for electronic grading, and passing documents back and forth between us and our students.  I recently read a blog post on ProfHacker (a fantastic blog, by the way, on teaching with technology) reviewing one such app – PDFpen.

After navigating the PDFpen site a bit, I came across this video tutorial, which covers practically every feature available in the app.  The video is a bit long, but it’s very, very thorough, and worth a watch for anyone considering annotation apps for the iPad.

Some of the features I like:

  • It integrates with Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, and a few other services, which makes it easy to get PDFs onto your iPad, as well as export them to a file sharing service (for instance, if you wanted to upload a marked-up student assignment to a shared folder on Google Drive).
  • It can create PDFs, including PDF forms (and it can combine existing PDFs!).
  • It can markup, highlight, and annotate in many colors and shapes.
  • It includes a thumbnail navigation pane for easily scrolling through long documents.

What do you think? Does this have advantages over PDFExpert?


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