From the first Apple II in schools to recent initiatives around Macs and iPads in schools, iTunes U, and iBooks-based textbooks, Apple knows how to use education and technology to come up with the perfect formula for digital learning.
At its September 2016 event, Apple and Tim Cook announced Everyone Can Code, a new curriculum schools can adopt. Everyone Can Code was designed around students and the new Swift Playgrounds app for iPad, which combines real-world coding examples to teach students or anyone how to code in Apple’s new programming language called Swift.
Since June 2016, more than 100 schools and school districts around the United States have signed up for this new program. As part of the initiative, students are issued iPads to learn how to program using Swift with fun, interactive exercises in the Swift Playgrounds app (Figure A) in iOS 10.
The Swift Playgrounds app features fun, interactive exercises that teach children, young adults, and adults alike how to code using Swift.
Swift has been gaining a lot of traction in the development community with the introduction of version 3.0 at WWDC in June 2016. The new language is lauded for its small learning curve and easy to read syntax.
It’s not just middle and high schools that are adding Swift to their curriculums, either–universities are catching the wave as well. Read more about universities that are offering Swift-based coursework on the Swift section of Apple’s website.
Swift Playgrounds is a free application that will be available for download on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 from the App Store for all iPad users. This free download of Swift Playgrounds requires that the device be updated to iOS 10.
SEE: Apple’s Swift programming language: The smart person’s guide
Getting started with Everyone Can Code
Apple makes it super easy for schools and teachers to get up and running with the new Everyone Can Code curriculum and with Swift Playgrounds. Apple is offering a teacher guide for both Swift Playgrounds and App Development with Swift for more advanced audiences.
Previews for both of these guides can be downloaded and perused through the Everyone Can Code website.
In addition to the Everyone Can Code curriculum, Apple also announced its involvement with President Obama’s ConnectED initiative. This initiative aims to help underserved schools across the country gain access to technology that would otherwise be hard to access by both the schools and the students.
Apple is currently helping more than 100 schools through this program, providing iPads to every student, and a Mac and iPad to every teacher; in addition, they place Apple TVs in every classroom to aid with presentations of digital content.
The company is also helping teachers get up to speed on a digital learning environment, in schools where most of the students and teachers are rarely interacting with technology in the classroom.
From the Apple and ConnectED site: “Apple made sure not to overwhelm us,” says Kirt Gordon, a third-grade teacher at Salida del Sol Elementary School in Yuma, Arizona. “We could approach each session in small segments, enabling those of us who were further along to advance on our own.”
Apple has given away more than 2,930 devices to teachers and has pledged more than $100 million in funding to the ConnectED program.
Read more about ConnectED initiatives at Apple.