App #5: Goodreader for iPad, part 1

Goodreader for iPad

This app can become your best teaching tool!

Where should I start with this incredible app? I would say that this is my most frequently used app while teaching with the iPad. I do not really use this for mirrored projection for the students to see, but more for when I need to refer to my documents. Goodreader is an app that will open up almost any document file type, be they .doc, .docx, mp3, PDF, jpeg, or even powerpoint and excel files.

This app works very well with Dropbox. Have you set up your Dropbox account yet? Check my app review here if you are unfamiliar with it. Once you log into the Dropbox servers, you can access all your files once again to download them locally onto your iPad. You can also save and open any files that people may have emailed you. This app will transform your iPad into the best document reader and annotater available.
How has Goodreader been my number one app?

Last summer, right before the start of the new school year, I spent a few hours scanning all of my teacher guides, manuals, student workbooks and any other “paper” resources. These were large files, containing of up to 200 pages! The photocopier at my school has a function where one can email their paper (instead of actually photocopying) in PDF form. I just piled each stack of paper onto the document feeder, typed in my email address and in a matter of seconds, received the email with the attached PDF. I then pressed “Open with Goodreader”, and it automatically saves onto your iPad. I can then rename and organize all the PDFs into folders. I think I scanned over 1200 pages in total! Since I teach five different grades and my units are story based, I have instant access to all my scripts, songs, and manuals within a few clicks of the iPad.

Here is a screenshot of my Goodreader, with folders on the left and on the right:


Advantages of Goodreader for teachers:


  • No more multiple binders of teacher guides! Save paper! Goodreader can bookmark your last read page for easy access the next time you need it, no matter how many hundreds of pages the file is.
  • No need for a tedious wired file transfer through iTunes! Teachers can open practically any file through online sources like email, iCloud and Dropbox.
  • Have your students assignments for easy access to mark them. Since you are able to annotate (mark up) your files, students will receive back from you a paperless assessment of their essays and other assignments. You may either freehand write or type in your annotations.
  • Zoom! You can zoom in on any document. Enlarge images and retake screen shots for other purposes. Perfect for maps on a field trip or trip abroad with a group of students.
  • Share your PDFs with teaching partners and other teachers who share your units.
  • Don’t have your laptop or PC handy? Preview and double-check your powerpoints before presenting them (animations will not be displayed, unfortunately).
  • Access all your files within a few taps and a few seconds (no need for wifi access if the files were already locally saved)
  • Music teachers/conductors can scan all their music and not ever have to worry about missing pages or forgetting their music folders. Instead of turning a pages, a swipe on the iPad will do the trick
  • Don’t like the hassle of transferring your music through iTunes? Keep a folder of mp3s that you regularly use and listen to and play it directly from Goodreader
  • P.E. teachers can have their sports manuals for easy access during class, with all the instructions to their activities
  • All teachers can easily reach their curriculum documents online and open and save to their iPad


“Why bother using Goodreader when I can just view from the Dropbox app?”

On the iPad, when you view a file, it does not save into a local directory on the device. Therefore, when you do not have an internet connection, you will not be able to view the files. With Goodreader, you have access to all your Dropbox (or other services such as Sugarsync and even Google Docs) files, save them and can thereafter view any files you save with or without internet connectivity.

Notice there are tabs of the latest seven documents open. I am able to quickly go back and forth from one document to the next.

Goodreader is not a competitor to Dropbox but rather a great complement to it. It may seem like an advanced app, but once you get started with it, you will greatly appreciate it and realize what a tool this is for your teaching.

Goodreader for iPad is $4.99 from the app store and is available here. This is a solid app and well worth the five dollars. It will be one of your best app purchases yet.

Goodreader for iPhone also exists but is a separate download.

If you’re a Google drive user, you can access all your Google drive files through Goodreader.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Pingback: Teaching with iPad
  2. Pingback: Teaching with iPad
  3. Matthew says:

    Good reader has terrible reviews for iOS 7. Does it still work well for you? Have you tried notability or good notes?

    1. You are correct. Since the iOS7 update, it has not been great. Hopefully they fix it soon! I will give Notability a try.

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