EU Code Week: Not Just for Schools

Our sessions for EU Code Week aren’t just for classrooms! Just in case you were looking at all the materials, like the Using this Site in Class page, and thinking it was aimed at schools only, I added a new page: Using this Site at Home.

It’s a bit like our Coding at Home series: the video session will be designed for you to follow along, no matter the setting. If you can view the video on a big screen while you code along on a separate iPad that would be amazing, but if you only have one device at home, you just make due with what you have.
All this stuff, the site, the videos, the links, they’re all designed just to give you a bit of support to explore coding on your iPad.

Code Week, European or Otherwise

Wherever you are, you’re more than welcome to catch our sessions. Heck, we’ve got an American living in Ireland co-presenting with someone from the UK.

So if you want to follow along and try to embrace coding during EU Code Week, feel free to register your event, even if it’s your own household! We’ve got some instructions for doing so here.

So grab your iPad, sit back, relax, and get ready for some coding!

EU Code Week: The Most Wonderful Time of Year!

EU Code Week 2020 is from the 10th to the 25th of October this year.

This isn’t some odd quirk that leaves actually weeks in Europe a whole 8 days longer than elsewhere in the world; it’s to let those folks who get a week off in October experience a full week of coding activities.

This year, I’ll be partnering with Dr. Steve Bunce to bring you some live coding session in your classroom!

Quick Start to Code

Each week day during EU Code Week we’ll be on from 9:45 to 10:30am. We’ll say hi, show you some cool unplugged activities you can do in class, then we’ll spend a few minutes writing some code so you can follow along as we go through five days from the Quick Start to Code PDF from Apple.

At the end we’ll take some questions that might have come in during the session or that have been sent to us beforehand and try our best to answer them.

Get Ready!

If you want to participate, or even get a jump on the sessions, feel free to visit our little mini-site for the event: Quick Start to Coding with Swift Follow-Along Sessions

We’re so excited to code with you this EU Code Week. While I’m bummed not to be in the classroom with everyone this year, I think we can still have a ton of fun online. So grab your iPad and Swift Playgrounds!

If you’re a teacher, head over to the site. If you’re a student, tell your teacher about EU Code Week and the fun we’re about to have! And if you’re a parent, you’re more than welcome to follow along, too!

Welcome Back to School!

For many of you, you’re arriving back at school over these last few weeks (or days, even).

Hopefully your coding journey won’t end with the return to school. After all, you can apply coding to a lot of your schoolwork.

While we’ve been working on some cool stuff for teaching coding in the classroom — virtual or otherwise — you can still try your hand at our Coding at Home series.

Learning to Code

As we’ve seen with all of our playgrounds, coding isn’t always about coding for coding’s sake.

Sometimes we’re trying to explore our creative side with photos or sound. Other times we’re creating our own brand new reality. In our next session, we’ll show you our story-telling creation.

We touched on it way back in the beginning of our coding at home adventure, but only briefly.

I love telling stories, and doing so with a Swift Playground and a little bit of code is all the more fun!

We’re going to demo building a short story in which you can navigate an environment and become a part of the story, yourself. So be sure to stay tuned for our next coding session!

And, speaking of which…


Happy coding!

Video Lessons for Coding with Swift


In case you’re missing our live sessions every week day terribly, keep in mind you can still visit any one of the videos we did over the last few months at Coding at Home.

This page has links off to the various YouTube playlists, where we’ve collected our library of content for:

  • Everyone Can Code Puzzles — relive the excitement of the Everyone Can Code Puzzles book from Apple and refresh your memory on all sorts of coding techniques and tricks
  • Lights, Camera, Code — a jaunt through using your iPad’s camera
  • Build your own Aquarium App — building on the Lights, Camera, Code stuff, we strike out on our own to build our own app using some of the same techniques we learned with our camera exercises
  • Augmented Reality — one of our huge hits, try your hand at augmenting your own reality with lunar landers, pinball games, you name it! Not a lot of coding knowledge required, but you’ll have a ton of fun!
  • And so many more…

You’ll re-live all the excitement of our live sessions with all the bloopers and feed issues as we (I hope) got better and better over time.

So while we’re building the next iteration of lessons/sessions, catch up on the old! Turtles, turtles, everywhere!

I’m a big fan of turtle graphics, as you probably know.

You can see the effects of your code pretty clearly with most version, from LOGO to Python to Swift.

This is a huge win for learners, because you can draw some pretty cool stuff relatively quickly.

I’ve published an app on the App Store for doing LOGO development on your Mac.

And then there are the Turtle Graphics playgrounds I’ve developed for Swift Playgrounds.


Via the Irish Tech Community Slack channel, I found Shelly the other day.

For those of you who’ve asked me for platform-independent coding tools, this is a great one!

It’s got a beautiful interface with lots of nice little touches to help you build your vision.

There are a series of lessons to teach you how to use the programming language, which will hopefully ease you into the language.

It’s not for the faint of heart, as the syntax can be a little confusing for certain things, but if you’re away from your iPad or Mac and want to sharpen those programming skills it’s not a bad alternative!

Check it out at

Coding at Home: Paused

Like yesterday, we’re taking a little hiatus. In the meantime, we have a ton of back catalog to trawl through. But no live coding today.

Under construction, sort of…?

Teaching Swift

If you’re a teacher, we added a post yesterday about teaching swift.

We started up a little community Slack instance to talk about how to teach Swift, give some pointers to great teachers of the language, and other coding tips and tricks.

I’d love to have you if you’re even remotely interested.

Next steps in your coding career

If you’re hungry for more coding, you could always make the next leap. If you have a Mac, you download Xcode and have a look at my course on Ted about Getting Started with Xcode. You’ll be building an app in no time*!

Good luck!

* No time actually works out to about 40 minutes. Give or take.

Teaching Swift

By the way, if you’re a teacher and you teach Swift, or want to teach Swift in your classroom, I’ve created a new Slack instance called, fittingly enough: Teaching Swift.

[You can skip all the rest and hit this invite like: here if you’re already sold: Join Here]

Feel free to join if you want to talk to like-minded educators. We have channels for the new Develop with Swift curriculum, the older App Development with Swift book, Everyone Can Code, and a whole slew of other topics.

I have always been impressed by the Apple Distinguished Educators; they consistently put out amazing material and way above and beyond. I’ve learned a lot from you over the years.

If you’re keen to try out Swift in your classroom, join us and I’m sure you’ll find some fun stuff!

Join here:

Coding at Home: July 16th, Press Pause

There will be no live coding today!

Okay, okay, stop crying. Please. You’re making a scene.

It’s embarrassing. Flattering, but embarrassing.

Okay. You good?

Everything okay?

Man, you’re really getting into this coding thing.


I hope you’ve been spending the evening and on into today coding your own messages to pass around to friends and family.

Maybe send out all your messages for the day on WhatsApp and Instagram and SnapChat and whathaveyou encoded and only give out the shift key later in the day.

Nblf tvsf up tnfmm tpnf sptft, cvu gjstu nblf tvsf uif qfstpo up xipn uifz cfmpoh jt plbz xjui zpv tnfmmjoh uifn. Uifsf’t opuijoh xpstf uibo hfuujoh jo IVHF uspvcmf xifo zpv’sf kvtu uszjoh up tojgg tpnf sptft.

Bmtp nblf tvsf uif sptft bsfo’u qmbtujd, bt zpv’mm mppl sjejdvmpvt tojggjoh qmbtujd sptft, uifo uszjoh up qmbz ju dppm mjlf zpv lofx uifz xfsf qmbtujd uif xipmf ujnf. Fwfszpof lopxt.

Tp tnfmm tpnf sptft, xjui dbsf, boe xf’mm tff zpv tppo!

To decrypt this you’ll need the time we usually broadcast at (Irish time, of course), and your Cipher playground. Good luck!

In the meantime, go check out some of our playlists to review coding lessons we’ve done here: Coding at Home.

Coding at Home: July 15th, Cipher

Join us today when we approach one of my all-time favorite playgrounds, Cipher, at 1pm, Irish time!

Recap: Sensor Arcade

We said goodbye to Sensor Arcade yesterday with a bit of cheat codes.

We’ll explore the Sensor Arcade infrastructure in some future lessons. The potential of using your iPad and its myriad of sensors is so exciting, and this is a great playground to test them all out!

Now we can see practical applications for all this code we’ve been learning about.

And we’ll certainly come back to these concepts and tools in the very near future.

Today’s session

For today, though, we’re going to explore one of my absolute favorite playgrounds: Cipher!

It’s a little bit about cryptography and coded messages and a tiny bit about code. But the reason why it’s my favorite playground is because it’s structured around a story.

We’ll experience the story and learn a little about crypto.

I can’t wait to get started on it with you. See you at 1pm!

Coding at Home: July 14th, Sensor Arcade, Gem Hunter

Join us today as we finish out Sensor Arcade at 1pm, Irish time!

Bumper Bash

We covered a lot of ground yesterday. In Bumper Bash, we learned about the collision handler, which lets us know which two sprites just collided with each other. This is a huge addition to our coding toolbox!

Now if we’re writing a game we can let the SpriteKit framework do the work of figuring out when two objects have collided.

Now, my high score wasn’t amazing for this one. Have you managed to beat it?

We’ll look at a few ways to cheat the system today — we’re coders, after all, we can write our own rules!

We’ll also explore the applyForce method on our sprites and see what that does.

Gem Hunter

We also moved on to Gem Hunter yesterday. This playground page combines all the inputs we’ve learned about: touch, light, sound, and collisions. We’re going to write a game that will use a few different ways of manipulating our player to get as many gems as possible.

My high score for this game, our first pass, also wasn’t brilliant, so please tell me you were able to beat me!

We’ll spend a little time rigging up some easy win scenarios today. Then we’ll think about what might make the game even more playable.

What behavior will our player have in reaction to light updates? Will we add some labels to see values from our events in real-time?

Come code with us today at 1pm, Irish time!