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Posts tagged with "Swift"

Apple Updates Coding Resources for Students, Teachers, and Families

Apple has updated its lineup of coding resources for kids and educators across the board and introduced all-new resources for parents and children interested in learning to program from home.

Apple first introduced its Everyone to Code program in 2016. That program was joined by Develop in Swift in 2019. Between the two programs, Apple has developed resources for students of all ages and their teachers. With today’s announcement, Apple has updated its existing materials and is expanding them with new offerings. As Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Markets, Apps, and Services describes it in an Apple press release:

“Apple has worked alongside educators for 40 years, and we’re especially proud to see how Develop in Swift and Everyone Can Code have been instrumental in helping teachers and students make an impact in their communities. We’ve seen community college students build food security apps for their campus and watched middle school educators host virtual coding clubs over summer break. As part of our commitment to help expand access to computer science education, we are thrilled to be adding a new professional learning course to help more educators, regardless of their experience, have the opportunity to learn coding and teach the next generation of developers and designers.”

The new course that Prescott mentions is a free online course that educators can take to prepare themselves to teach Apple’s Develop in Swift curriculum.

Apple has also updated its set of four free Develop in Swift books that are available from the Apple Books app. The company also introduced a new Everyone Can Code book and teacher guide called Everyone Can Code: Adventures, which is also available in Apple Books.

Also introduced today is a new coding guide that parents and their kids can use at home:

To support parents with kids learning to code at home, Apple is adding a new guide to its set of remote learning resources. “A Quick Start to Code” is now available and features 10 coding challenges designed for learners ages 10 and up, on iPad or Mac. Additional resources are available on Apple’s new Learning from Home website, launched this spring, where educators and parents can access on-demand videos and virtual conferences on remote learning, and schedule free one-on-one virtual coaching sessions, all hosted by educators at Apple. New videos are being added all the time as part of the Apple Education Learning Series — including videos about using Apple’s industry-leading accessibility features.

As someone who struggled to find good resources for my kids to learn to code when they were younger, I’m pleased to see that Apple has continued to expand and support its educational programs. These programs, along with Swift Playgrounds, are rich resources for kids, teachers, and their parents and a terrific way to help kids get started with coding.

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Apple Highlights Swift Student Challenge Winners

One unique component of Apple’s online WWDC this year is that the company opened a Swift Student Challenge where students could submit a Swift playground creation for special recognition. Today in a press release, Apple is highlighting three of the 350 winners: Sofia Ongele, Palash Taneja, and Devin Green.

For Sofia Ongele, 19, who just finished her sophomore year at New York’s Fordham University, her focus for change lies at the intersection of tech and social justice. ReDawn, her first iOS app, is a powerful example. After one of her college friends was sexually assaulted during her freshman year, Ongele created ReDawn to help survivors access resources in a safe, easy, and sensitive way.
[…]
Palash Taneja…went on to create a web-based tool that uses machine learning to predict how mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever would spread. And for his Swift Student Challenge submission this year, created against the backdrop of COVID-19, Taneja designed a Swift playground that teaches coding while simulating how a pandemic moves through a population, showing how precautions such as social distancing and masks can help slow infection rates. He created it to help educate young people, after he saw others not taking warnings seriously.
[…]
Devin Green…was having trouble waking up in the mornings, so he designed a program using a pressure mat under his bed. If weight is still on the mat after he’s supposed to be up, an alarm goes off and won’t stop until he uses his phone to scan a QR code.

Apple has also created, naturally, a new post on the App Store where it’s highlighting three more winners and their apps: Lars Augustin, creator of Charcoal, Maria Fernanda Azolin, creator of DressApp, and Ritesh Kanchi, creator of STEMpump. Out of these, Charcoal is an app we’ve covered in our newsletter in the past, it’s an elegant way to perform quick sketches on your iPhone or iPad.

The Swift Student Challenge is a unique way for Apple to highlight some of the best and brightest young coders working on Apple platforms today. I loved reading the details about each of the six winners featured today, and hope we’ll get to learn about more of the 350 winners in the week ahead. With so many winners to recognize, perhaps we’ll see new App Store stories each day leading up to the conference.


Apple Introduces Mac Catalyst Version of Swift Playgrounds

Swift Playgrounds has been around for quite a while on the iPad, but now, it’s on the Mac too as a Mac Catalyst app.

Swift Playgrounds teaches coding concepts and the Swift programming language. Until today, the app, which includes lessons designed to teach Swift alongside a coding environment, was an iPad exclusive. Now, however, anyone interested in learning Swift can move from the iPad to the Mac and back again.

I’ve been a fan of Swift Playgrounds since it debuted. It’s a friendly, easy-to-use environment for experimenting with Swift ideas and concepts, and the lessons available are excellent. With the addition of a native Catalyst app on the Mac, anyone who wants to learn Swift can do so whether they are in front of their Mac or using an iPad. What’s more, the additional space afforded by most Macs there’s more room to navigate playground books and files. Playgrounds on the Mac includes expanded code completion functionality that allows you to navigate code suggestions with the arrow keys on your keyboard or trackpad too.

I haven’t had a chance to spend more than a few minutes with the new Swift Playgrounds yet, but it’s clear from even a cursory review of the app that a lot of thought and care has gone into it. The sidebar and Touch Bar support stand out as terrific Mac-centric additions that take advantage of the Mac’s bigger screen and keyboard and trackpad. I’m looking forward to diving spending more time with Swift Playgrounds on my Mac mini in the coming weeks.

Swift Playgrounds is available as a free download on the Mac App Store and requires macOS Catalina 10.15.3.


Apple Announces ‘Everyone Can Code’ Partnership with Schools for Blind and Deaf Students

In March, Apple lead a Swift Playgrounds course at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Today, which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Apple announced that is partnering with schools in California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and Massachusetts:

Beginning this fall, schools supporting students with vision, hearing or other assistive needs will start teaching the Everyone Can Code curricula for Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said:

“Apple’s mission is to make products as accessible as possible,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We created Everyone Can Code because we believe all students deserve an opportunity to learn the language of technology. We hope to bring Everyone Can Code to even more schools around the world serving students with disabilities.”

In addition to existing iOS accessibility features, Apple is augmenting the Everyone Can Code curricula with tools and resources targeted at students with visual and hearing impairments.

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Apple Leads First-Ever Swift Playgrounds Course for Blind and Low-Vision Students in Austin

Earlier this week, Apple engineers visited the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired where they led a programming course from the company’s Everyone Can Code curriculum. According to the Austin Statesman’s technology blog, Open Source, the class was the first such session led by Apple for blind and low-vision students.

With the assistance of VoiceOver, the students completed assignments in Apple’s Swift Playgrounds iPad app. The students also got a chance to go outside and fly Parrot drones using Swift Playgrounds. Viki Davidson, a technology teacher at the school, told Open Source:

“We see this as a way to get them interested in coding and realize this could open job opportunities,” said Vicki Davidson, a technology teacher at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. “Apple has opened up a whole new world for kids by giving them instant access to information and research, and now coding.” 

Apple’s director of accessibility, Sarah Herrlinger, who will participate in a session on Innovations in Accessibility at South By Southwest on March 15th, said:

“When we said everyone should be able to code, we really meant everyone,” said Sarah Herrlinger, Apple’s director of accessibility. “Hopefully these kids will leave this session and continue coding for a long time. Maybe it can inspire where their careers can go.”

Swift Playgrounds and Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum have grown at a remarkable rate and are fantastic resources for students, teachers, and parents. However, it’s Apple’s long-standing commitment to accessibility across all of its products that helps ensure that those resources are available to as many students as possible.

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Apple Releases Swift Playgrounds 2.0 with Third-Party Subscriptions

Apple has released version 2.0 of the Swift Playgrounds iPad app. The app provides an interactive learning environment for the Swift programming language. With version 2.0, Apple has introduced subscriptions to playgrounds from third-party creators. According to Apple’s developer news site:

You’ll automatically see new and updated playgrounds in your subscriptions, a content gallery that shows all playgrounds in a single view, new robots, and much more.

Subscriptions can be added by entering a URL or by browsing a gallery Apple has created, both of which are accessible from an ‘Add Subscription’ button in the top right-hand corner of the screen from which you add new playgrounds. As of publication, the buttons for adding subscriptions from the gallery do not work, but they should soon. When updated playgrounds are available, you can receive a notification too. Among the first third parties with subscription-based playgrounds are Sphero, Lego Mindstorms, UBTech, Parrot Drones, IBM, Mekamon, Wonder Workshop, and Skoog.

In addition to subscriptions, the update includes enhanced documentation for the Swift programming language and iOS SDK, and playgrounds can be opened from the Locations button in the Files app.


Apple Celebrates the Hour of Code with In-Store Events, a Swift Playgrounds Challenge, and Teacher Resources

Apple has participated in Code.org’s Hour of Code challenge for the past several years. This year, the company is back again with a series of workshops for kids that run from December 4 - 10, 2017, which coincides with Computer Science Education Week. During free sessions:

Young aspiring coders can learn coding basics during a Kids Hour session, while those age twelve and above can use Swift Playgrounds on iPad to learn coding concepts and even program robots.

In addition to the in-store lessons, Apple has added a new coding challenge to its Swift Playgrounds iPad app with which students build and customize a digital robot and new teacher resources as part of its Everyone Can Code curriculum.

You can sign up for the Hour of Code sessions here, but act quickly because in years past, these sessions have filled up fast.


Swift Playgrounds to Integrate with Real-World Devices

Apple announced in a press release today that its Swift Playgrounds app for iPad would soon be able to connect with and control real-world devices.

Apple is working with leading device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing kids to program and control popular devices, including LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, the Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more. The Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update will be available as a free download on the App Store beginning Monday, June 5.

Since the primary purpose of Swift Playgrounds is education, today’s announcement serves as a solid next step toward making coding fun and interesting for children. And the timing is fitting too. Expanding the capabilities of Swift Playgrounds with a 1.5 update Monday is a perfect kickoff to Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, where the app was first introduced last year.

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Apple Introduces Swift Curriculum for High School and Community College Students

Apple introduced a new year-long app development curriculum today for community college and high school students that is available as a special collection on the iBooks Store. The free-to-download course, which is an extension of Apple’s existing Everyone Can Code curriculum for kids in grades K-12, teaches students how to build fully-functional apps using the Swift programming language. In the fall, six community college systems that serve over 500,000 students will offer the new course.

Tim Cook explained why Apple has created the development course:

“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”

Swift Playgrounds has proven to be a powerful teaching tool with over 1 million downloads since it was introduced. In addition, over 1,000 schools in the US plan to teach using Apple’s Everyone Can Code materials in the fall. The extension of Everyone Can Code to older students should make the entire program even more attractive to educators than before.