November 8, 2023
Apple’s Swift Student Challenge will launch in February 2024 with a new Distinguished Winners category
Introducing new tools for Anyone Can Code to support teachers in delivering app design and development to students
Apple’s Swift Student Challenge has given thousands of students around the world the opportunity to showcase their creativity and build real-world skills they can use in their careers and beyond. Since 2020, students participating in the challenge have joined a global community of developers using Swift – the same programming language used by professionals – to create the next wave of breakthrough apps. The next challenge will launch in February 2024 and will include a new category recognizing 50 leading winners, named after their standout entries.
Interest among students wanting to learn coding and app development is widespread, and these skills are considered highly desirable whether students plan to work in the technology sector or not. An independent survey of more than 1,000 students in the United States in September found that 92 percent of students believe it is important to learn to code and 94 percent believe coding is an important skill for the future job market. Additionally, students recognize multiple benefits of knowing how to code and build apps, including boosting creativity, solving local and global problems, and ultimately improving the world.
Awareness and access to coding and app development tools are critical for students. Although the research shows that 85 percent of students have not yet taken any steps but would like to learn to code, 48 percent do not know where to start. Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app is designed to guide students from the first line of code to building their first app in Swift. It’s a great tool for beginners to explore, learn, discover, and experiment with coding and app development on iPad and Mac.
“At Apple, we believe anyone can learn to code and build apps, and we’re proud to support and recognize aspiring student developers every year with the Swift Student Challenge,” said Susan Prescott, vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Education by Apple. and enterprise marketing. “We know that students are eager to learn coding skills to solve challenges they care about – whether it’s building an app to help peers identify mental health needs or supporting sustainability efforts on campus – and want to know how to get started. Apple is releasing new coding resources for students and teachers, working with our community partners on special Swift programming, and sharing the 2024 Swift Student Challenge timeline in advance. We can’t wait to see the app playgrounds students submit next year. ”
To make app development accessible to students, Apple works with educators around the world. To support teaching Swift Playgrounds for teachers, four new Everyone Can Code projects provide step-by-step tools to guide students in developing essential skills while creating apps that solve problems they care about.
Tina Lewis is a seventh-grade life sciences teacher at Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama, an Apple Learning Coach, and a new Apple Distinguished Educator for the class of 2023. She also leads a coding club at Brewbaker Middle School. “As a teacher, it is important to create a safe space where my students can be heard,” said Lewis. “Coding allows you to literally create that space, while sparking students’ curiosity and building resilience in the face of failure.”
Lewis taught herself to code in 2021 using the Everyone Can Code teacher resources and Swift Playgrounds on iPad with her students. One of her students participated in the Swift Student Challenge in 2022. “I’m motivated by my students’ creativity and being the type of teacher who can turn on that light for my kids,” Lewis says.
In addition to working with educators around the world, Apple supports education partners in 99 countries and regions through the Community Education Initiative, such as the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). NC3 provides hands-on professional development opportunities to prepare community and technical college and high school instructors to teach app development with Swift. This year, the organization is committed to helping more students than ever submit their app projects for the 2024 Swift Student Challenge.
“The Swift Student Challenge is a springboard for young talent, and we are building a pathway for their success,” said Roger Tadajewski, NC3 Executive Director. “App development with Swift training equips teachers with the skills to guide students, creating an environment where curiosity is celebrated, creativity is encouraged, and every idea has the chance to flourish.”
New Anyone can code projects
Apple’s new Everyone Can Code projects provide step-by-step tools to help teachers guide students through every step of their coding and app development journey and develop essential skills in creating apps that solve the problems they care about.
Anyone can code Projects can be integrated into any subject area and are perfect for the classroom or coding clubs. They introduce students to SwiftUI – the modern way to build user interfaces with surprisingly little code – and use the latest technologies to build apps in Swift Playgrounds. As they code, App Preview lets students see how their app is changing in real time.
Four new projects available today include:
- Design a simple app: Students can create an app prototype in Keynote to learn the basics of app design, practice rapid prototyping, and collect feedback, following the same steps as professional developers.
- Build with stacks and shapes: Students can take the first steps in building an app in Swift Playgrounds and code a self-portrait or artwork using SwiftUI to learn the basics of user interface design.
- Build custom shapes: Students can take an app interface to the next level by designing a shape, learning how to plot the coordinates, and coding their custom shape using SwiftUI and the About Me sample app in Swift Playgrounds.
- Design an app icon: Students can learn and apply app design principles to create a unique and memorable app icon that communicates an idea; practice rapid prototyping; collect feedback; and upload the icon to Swift Playgrounds to become part of an app.
Anyone Can Code Projects with Swift Playgrounds make it easier than ever to teach and learn coding skills, app design, and app development on iPad and Mac – perfect for times when coding skills are celebrated around the world this season, including STEAM Day today in The United States. as well as Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code in December, celebrated in 180 countries and regions.
New resources for teaching coding and app development with Swift Playgrounds, including four new Everyone Can Code Projects, are now available in the Apple Education Community, where teachers can find resources for every skill level, connect with classmates, and more. Swift Playgrounds 4.4 is now available and includes support for Swift 5.9 and SDKs for iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma.
Students are invited to submit their app playgrounds for the Swift Student Challenge over a three-week period in February 2024. Sign up at developer.apple.com to be notified when the challenge is open. Of the 350 overall winners, 50 Distinguished Winners will be invited to Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California next summer for the opportunity to interact with each other and the Apple team. All winners will receive a one-year membership to the Apple Developer Program, which allows them to submit apps to the App Store and receive support from Apple.
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