Teaching Paperless with GoodReader on the iPad

Yes, I am a geek. This I will freely concede. Just before Christmas I looked seriously at the iPad, but decided to wait in lieu of the second generation soon to come out. Among the reasons this was interesting to me was the possibility of going paperless when traveling and teaching GIS.

Typically when traveling and teaching, I am carrying at least two books, the lecture and exercise books for the class. Many times I am teaching back to back classes, upping this count to four. If it is a more technical class, many times I grab a good reference too, adding another to the mix. It does not take long before my backpack is holding five books, a laptop and all the associated peripherals for working on the road with a laptop. As you can easily imagine, this can become quite a load.

When purchasing my iPad2, one of the first workflows I started exploring was how to get all my materials onto the iPad. Already I have access to most of my references and course materials in pdf format. The difficulty was figuring out how to get them onto the iPad and manage them once there. GoodReader was the answer.

GoodReader allows synchronization with a multitude of server types not only at the file, but also at the directory level. Since I use MobileMe, this means all I have to do is keep all my course materials in a directory together. If I need to add or remove something, all I have to do is change the content on the server. These changes automatically are also performed on my iPad, making file management infinitely easier.

In addition to the file management capabilities, this sync functionality applies to individual files as well. Since GoodReader facilitates notes, highlights and annotations in the pdf documents, these changes are automatically synced back up to the documents on the server where I can access and view them on my desktop. GoodReader, it answers on part of my goal toward moving increasingly paperless at work with the iPad as part of this plan.