Apple Inc. announced Swift Playgrounds for the iPad yesterday. It is a new project aimed to teach kids coding in Swift. Swift Playgrounds presents the user with a number of basic coding lessons and challenges when they first open it. The interface is similar to Codeacademy, but it is more playful and graphical. This makes sense given the target audience.
Apple makes coding easy and fun
To keep the kids motivated, most of the projects appear to involve animations and games. The Cupertino-based giant uses a special keyboard with a number of shortcuts and other features to make coding a little easier on the iPad.
Craig Federighi – Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering – said, “I wish Swift Playgrounds was around when I was first learning to code.” Swift Playgrounds is the only app of its kind that is simple enough for beginners and students, and also powerful enough to write real code, the executive said.
Also, the app features built-in templates to motivate users to create real programs and express their creativity that can be shared with others using messages or mail. The programs can be posted on the web as well.
Jean MacDonald, founder of App Camp for Girls, said the Swift Playgrounds app from the iPhone maker is one of the most educational, powerful, yet approachable coding apps they have ever seen, and they cannot wait to incorporate it into their upcoming camp curriculum. Also, the developers and educators can use Xcode to create their own unique challenges for the app.
Project based approach works the best
Apple Inc. introduced a new programming language (which is now open source) with Swift, and hence wants people to learn it. The earlier the people get used to Swift, the better it is for the tech giant. Clearly, Swift Playground is not meant for experienced programmers who want to learn Swift, instead it is meant for kids who want to learn some basics of coding.
With Swift Playgrounds, the kids might learn some useful introductions to a language, but in the end, a project-based approach works better than working one’s way through lessons.
It must be noted that Swift Playgrounds was a project aimed to teach kids to code as well. Back in 2014, it was started by Stefan Mischook when the iPhone maker first announced Swift. Both the projects are not related, but it is interesting that the tech giant used the same name for this project.
On Monday, the developer preview of Swift Playgrounds was released, and in July, a preview release of Swift Playgrounds will be available with Apple Inc. ’s iOS 10 public beta. The Swift Playgrounds is compatible with all iPad Pro, and iPad Air models and iPad mini 2. The app will be available for free.