Bear just won runner up for the app of the year in the App Store. I hadn't heard of it so I thought I'd take a look. Turns out I liked it quite a bit - I'm writing this in it right now!
Bear is a notetaking app that falls somewhere in between the quick access note taking of the Apple Notes app native to all iOS devices and something for more extended writing like Pages. It's free and most of the core features are unlocked without upgrading to a Pro subscription, making it a viable classroom tool straight off the bat. It's also incredibly easy to use, boasting a clean, intuitive interface and some neat features that elevate it above similar note taking platforms.
The thing that I really love is the way it uses hashtags instead of folders. Hashtags really are the filing system of the now and by adding a hashtag at any point in a Bear doc, you sort it into a searchable category. You can even add multiple hashtags or sub-tags to further group your content. This can all be pulled up from a simple, unobtrusive side menu on the home screen.
Notes has been my go-to app for writing articles for this site for a couple of years now when I am AFK. Sometimes though I will start a piece and then drift away from it and come back to finish it many weeks (or in the case of the recent iDoceo feature, many months!) later. Bear offers me the ability to pin a not to the top of the notes list, which is going to help me keep longer articles to hand and probably expedite their completion.
You can also link notes by adding markdown text like [[other page title]] which is something I love in OneNote. From an organisation point of view there obvious merit to it but it also opens up potential for student use in terms of linking revision notes or even generating Choose your own adventure style branching narratives!
Images, code strings and file attachments are all possible within a note and there's a handy checklist tool right off the quick access bar above the keyboard too. When it comes to exporting your notes, you have a wide range of formats available including .docx, PDF and HTML.
I'm desperately trying to avoid a "smarter than the average bear" reference here but Yogi jokes aside, this is a smart little app that focuses on functionality and accessibility making it a great addition to your daily tools for quite notes or short prose exercises in class.