Apple has just launched a new app development curriculum (opens in new tab), available on the company's iBooks e-reader app, that aims to let anyone in high school or community college learn to code in Swift and create apps for iPhone and iPad.
Last year, Apple introduced Swift Playgrounds at WWDC 2016 as a way to get children, and children of all ages, familiar with the basic concepts of code. The app developer curriculum takes that not just a step further but a leap all the way to secondary and post-secondary education.
Several community colleges have simultaneously announced support for the new curriculum, including the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College, and San Mateo Community College District, with more colleges and high schools on the way.
The program was put together using the same approach as Swift Playgrounds, with everyone from educators to software engineers sharing ideas to create the best, most teachable, most learnable curriculum possible.
And since it's available on iBooks, it's available to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, anywhere they want to open it.
Education has always been central to Apple, with iBooks and Apple Education (originally iTunes U) initially intended to help revolutionize the textbook industry by making curriculums easier to deploy and update.
Swift was also designed to be taught in schools starting at a young age, something that had been sorely missing from the previous generation of popular app development languages.
Having Swift in the classroom isn't just good for students, of course. It's good for Apple and iPhone and iPad customers eagerly awaiting the next great wave of apps.
Press release below.
Apple launches app development curriculum for high school and community college students
Innovative Full-Year Curriculum Now Available on the iBooks Store
Students will be able to learn to code and develop apps at high schools and community colleges across the country.
Houston — Apple today launched a new app development curriculum designed for students who want to pursue careers in the fast-growing app economy. The curriculum is available as a free download today from Apple's iBooks Store.
App Development with Swift is a full-year course designed by Apple engineers and educators to teach students elements of app design using Swift, one of the world's most popular programming languages. Students will learn to code and design fully functional apps, gaining critical job skills in software development and information technology.
Students who want to learn about app development can download the curriculum for free from the iBooks Store.
Starting this fall, six community college systems serving nearly 500,000 students across the country will be among the first to offer the innovative curriculum. At many campuses, local businesses will also offer students mentoring and internships.
"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."
The course uses Swift, Apple's popular and easy-to-use programming language. The curriculum will be offered by the Alabama Community College System, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College and San Mateo Community College District, among others. Select high schools across the country will also be teaching the App Development with Swift curriculum starting this fall. Houston Community College is opening an iOS Coding and Design School that will teach Apple's new curriculum.
"The world calls Houston a knowledge capital because of the incredible concentration of ideas and innovation in our great city," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "Apple's investment in our community with the launch of the app development curriculum will tap into the creativity of our students, inspire new possibilities and foster our culture of technological transformation." "We are focused on preparing our students for life in a global and technological society, and in 2017 that means making sure our students have access to a state-of-the-art coding curriculum," said Houston Community College Chancellor Cesar Maldonado. "We are thrilled Apple is offering this incredible opportunity to advance student learning, which will especially help us bridge the gap in computer science training for minorities and women. We can't wait to see what these students will do and already have local businesses offering mentoring and internship opportunities."
Apple's curriculum includes a comprehensive student guide with playground exercises, mini projects and quizzes, as well as a teachers guide with grading rubrics, solutions code and Keynote presentations.
App Development with Swift is an extension of Apple's existing K-12 Everyone Can Code curricula which offer everyone the power to learn, write and teach coding. Swift is Apple's powerful and intuitive programming language that gives developers the freedom and capabilities they need to create the next generation of cutting-edge software. Popular apps including Airbnb, KAYAK, TripAdvisor, Venmo and Yelp are all created with Swift. In addition to over 1 million downloads of Swift Playgrounds, there have been over 430,000 downloads of the additional Everyone Can Code materials and over 1,000 schools across the US plan to teach with Everyone Can Code materials in the fall.
Earlier this month, Apple announced the creation of the Advanced Manufacturing Fund focused on creating jobs in the US throughout our supply chain, with an initial investment of $1 billion. The new Swift coding curriculum is another example of Apple's commitment to economic development and will help create even more career opportunities for students across the country. Apple now supports 2 million jobs across all 50 states, including more than 1.5 million jobs attributable to Apple's app economy.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
I still want Swift on iOS. In fact, I would like to script in Swift on iOS, with a light version that would be secure. Maybe a swiftKIT (with a ninja icon!) API. You can use the IBM Swift Sandbox: https://swift.sandbox.bluemix.net/#/repl So you can actually learn to code Swift on iOS, beyond Swift Playgrounds, just not make actual apps.
My 12 year old son, using Swift Playgrounds, and the book iPhone Apps for Kids (published by No Starch Press) is finninishing up an app.
Great, right? Now I am left with the task of explaining to him. He can't upload it to the App Store nor can he share it with his friends.
There needs to be an App Store for kids. Where kids can share and trade. All apps would be free, and no one over 17 can join and upload. More importantly, there would be no $99 US developers fee.
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