What Fundamentally Children’s experts think about Apple’s Swift Playgrounds

How Huge is Apple's Latest Announcement?

Last week, Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, and amongst its usual glitz, glamour and announcements, the firm released the details of a new coding app for iPads - Swift Playgrounds.

What is Swift Playgrounds?

Appe Swift LogoThe revolutionary new app will launch in autumn and is designed to make learning Swift - Apple’s programming language - interactive and fun. Puzzles will help to master the basics of swift, and a series of challenges will then develop the user’s knowledge. The app doesn’t require any previous coding knowledge, so can be used for anyone regardless of their knowledge.

 

We’ve been discussing the news in the office and our team of experts feel that overall, Swift Playgrounds is a positive development.

The Team's Verdict

Oomar Mauthoor, our digital editor, was impressed that the app would be free of charge.

Forget paid apps and coding camp because Swift Playgrounds is absolutely FREE, so it's a no-brainer to download this app. “Apple has released a series of innovative apps over the years to enhance our productivity, but this one is the gift from Apple that will keep on giving, and will provide children with a skill set that can only benefit them as they get older.”

We’re also all pleased that Apple are helping children to learn this relatively new skill and developing learning in the digital world. Our MD and Founder, Dr Amanda Gummer commented:

“Anything that makes children engage with coding and helps them to develop skills that will enable them to make the most of digital career opportunities is great. “Meeting children where they’re at (on digital devices) and leading them where we want them to go - educated, skilled, active, social, happy, healthy people - is the best approach.”

Anna Taylor, Research Assistant, agreed:

“Learning to code is becoming an increasingly valuable skill, so finding fun ways to get children into it is really important. Not only is it now part of the National Curriculum, it encourages logical thinking and creative problem solving too. “One thing I love about Swift is how it brings real coding to life, so children can discover the possibilities of coding and really understand how it can be useful. Plus, children thoroughly enjoy a challenge - these coding puzzles could really get the cogs turning.”

And with Apple as the developer, we feel assured our children are in good hands, as Oomar suggested:

“Among many coding apps in the market, Swift Playground stands out from the rest. Why? Because it's been developed by Apple, who have a pretty impressive portfolio as apps go. So parents can have peace of mind when introducing this app to their child as it focuses on teaching children to learn the Swift programming language, which is part of the Apple eco-system, so they can begin to develop programs that can be used on iOS.”

The way that children learn with Swift Playgrounds was a key point for our Commercial Director, Georgina Dalton.

“This app opens up the world of coding to all children and the way that it uses the iPad’s simple OS means that they just drag, tap, or type numbers to play. This means that children who struggle with literacy, or traditional classroom-based learning due to learning difficulties or special needs, can still get fully involved, and enjoy the app.”

In true Apple style, the new app will fully integrate itself into everyday life. Georgina continued:

“Swift Playgrounds allows children to send their code to their friends via all of Apple’s communication channels. Their friends can then collaborate on their designs and they can even post a video of their programme for everyone to watch. I’m sure this will help make the app a huge hit. We all know children love to share, so what better way to engage them?”

As well as the fun side, though, Apple is taking the education of coding on board and offering ideas for lessons and group activities for the classroom or after-school programmes, as well as presentations, tips, and ways to track students' progress. Amanda Gummer adds:

I’m intrigued to see how the schools programme will work - Whilst I'm supportive of big companies supporting classroom learning. I’d be wary of any socially beneficial initiative that was only accessible to the section of society who have access to iPads.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts on Swift Playgrounds in the comments or over on Facebook.

Will you be downloading it for your children? Do you think it’s a good idea? 

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