WWDC21 Wish List

Last year we had a little wish list for WWDC, so I figured I would take a look at what we’d love to see today.

Last Year

Well, first, what did we get last year?

From our list, we did wind up getting new books, a whole load of them! Some didn’t ship during WWDC, but now we have Develop in Swift Fundamentals, Develop in Swift Explorations, Develop in Swift Data Collections, Everyone Can Code Adventures. That’s quite a lot of stuff to read through!

We even now have a huge resource in the App Design Workbook, which introduces app design process as well as a bit of SwiftUI in Playgrounds to keep you busy.

One thing on our wishlist was more dev on iPad, and Swift Playgrounds is still getting a lot of love, which is excellent, and getting more interesting with each release on both the Mac and iPad.

This Year’s Wish List

Okay, so what would we love to see this year?

Obviously I’m biased towards things that will help us teach coding, but I’ve got a few more this year I’d love to see under the proverbial WWDC Tree.

Swift Playgrounds

  • I would love to see an easier way to author Swift Playgrounds (like last year). I’ve run two sessions on creating Swift Playground Books, one with the Swift Playground Author Template and one by copying an existing playground book.
  • I loved the sessions on Swift Playgrounds last year, in particular the first in the Swan’s Quest series. It would be amazing to see more this year. Using those sensors is pretty amazing and eye-opening for a lot of students.
  • A Swift Playgrounds Community site: some sort of way to easily share Swift Playgrounds with students, fellow developers, where you can just show off your work easily, would be amazing. Think of it like a dynamic Swift Playground feed people could publish to easily from within the Swift Playgrounds app…

Xcode and teaching Develop in Swift

  • If Xcode had a remote sharing option, so the teacher or co-coder could observe one person typing, that would be an amazing addition to teaching coding. It’d be icing on the cake if we got the same with iPads and Swift Playgrounds, and I need to have a look at the Classroom app update to see if maybe that’s already done.
  • Some of these collaboration features would be a real boon to teaching people how to code, especially in as rich an environment as Xcode, so any more integration with Github, remote sharing, and the rest would be much appreciated
  • A web-based version, for those folks who want to try out Swift and app development, would also be amazing. I really like repl.it, especially with its implementation of the Swift REPL and readLine()… but it never hurts to have more options.

RealityKit and Reality Composer

  • Lastly, and by no means is this an exhaustive list, I would really, really love to see the ability to support more than one image anchor in a Reality Composer scene. We’ve had a few questions lately about supporting them inside the one Reality Scene… and while there are ways to handle this (multiple scenes for each image anchor you want to support, using code and loading ARImageAnchors yourself), this would be a really fun addition to an incredible app. Reality Composer makes it so easy to create engaging, robust experiences with very little to no code already, but a few additions would just ice the cake.

Now You

WWDC21

That’s our list, what do you want to see from WWDC21?

Teaching Develop in Swift Online – June Edition

We’re going to be back (online) teaching you how to teach the Develop in Swift material — Explorations, Fundamentals, and Data Collections — in June!

If you’re an educator thinking about teaching Swift and app development (or already doing it), this is a really fun, packed week.

Coming June 21st!

We’ll be holding hands-on workshops, lectures from the books, special sessions, and some takeaway projects you can run with your own classrooms.

Teaching App Development with Swift runs from 21-25 June 2021, from 8am to 16:30, Irish time, each and every day. You get a chunk of time in the middle of the day to work on your projects and finish anything you were working on in the workshops. And then in the afternoons we have some app showcases planned, where you can show off your work!

You can register here, and it’s all free.

We’ve brought back some old favorites and added some new activities that I really think you’ll like, so hopefully we’ll see you online!

Teaching and Presenting with Keynote

When I’m teaching teachers how to teach coding we spend a lot of time in Keynote.

The excellent Develop in Swift series, from Apple, comes with a whole set of keynote files for presenting nearly every lesson in the book. If you download the teacher materials from the Teacher Guide, you’ll find the slides, presenter notes, animations in the keynote files already, as well as Xcode playground-based labs for your students to try.

Now, if you’re new to the Mac, you might to be super familiar with Keynote. So I’ve put together a short video which you can watch below, or you can head off to YouTube, to help you orient yourself in Keynote.

I show you how to present on a Mac with only one screen so you can see your presenter notes, too. If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you might want to watch the Using Keynote Remote to Present video to see how to use the Keynote app on your device to remote control your Mac’s presentation.

If you’ve got all that down, but need help sharing your screen over WebEx, well, I’ve got a video for that, too.

Of course, if you’re new to the Mac or Keynote you’ll still need to get some hands-on practice, but at the very least this video above will start you out on the right foot!

Teaching Develop in Swift – March 2021 Edition

Are you a teacher who is trying to figure out how to teach coding, and app development in particular?

Are you a coder who feels like you could help people learn how to develop apps?

Does this feel like I’m leading you somewhere with all these questions?

Develop in Swift

Well, I am!

I’ll be running a week of intensive training in Teaching Develop in Swift Online with Apple in the first week of March.

Register (for free!) here: http://s.apple.com/dE5i4p0g8b

We’ll give you a pretty good look at the Develop in Swift curriculum, which is aimed at secondary school to university level students.

They’re a series of free e-books Apple has produced to introduce you to the world of coding using their programming language, Swift. It’s the same coding language folks use to write wildly popular apps for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch, and AppleTV.

Develop in Swift Explorations introduces coding in a broader context. It’s designed to reveal coding to those people who might have never considered all the places we experience code someone else has written. We’ll build some of the projects in this book each day, including the really fun QuestionBot. This will form the basis for a project you can run with your own class.

Develop in Swift Fundamentals is aimed at computer science students (though it’s not limited to them!). It’s like a traditional programming class with 3 more projects to build. We’ll also build these in class during the week. I love that this material teaches you Swift and how to build an app. It’s not just a matter of putting code in the right places, it’s about working with others, coming up with a plan for delivering something.

Develop in Swift Data Collections is the last in the series and covers even more advanced stuff to make your apps look amazing and do incredible stuff.

The Week

We’ll have lectures each day from the material, hands-on workshops on projects from the books in the morning. Some time in the middle to work on projects and get food. Then showcases and group discussions in the afternoon. Each day we’ve got special guests coming to talk to us about design, technical topics, or the books themselves.

It should be a ball, and we’ve got some fun, interactive elements planned for it.

So if you’re a coding teacher, a developer who wants to teach, or a teacher who wants to teach coding, come along with us!

Register (for free!) here: http://s.apple.com/dE5i4p0g8b

There’s still space, but not for much longer…

Middle Schoolers Exploring Coding

For those who aren’t as interested, they’re still going to be learning determination, perseverance and trial and error.

from the ReMarker, February 2021, “In a Growing Industry” by William Fitzpatrick Junior of St. Mark’s School of Texas
What is coding?

Issu had an interesting article from a middle school in Texas about the success of their coding program, which runs from fifth to eight grade. They equip their students with designated computer science teachers in all the grades, which is a huge leg up.

I think it’s a brilliant program they have for the kids, but my favorite piece of the article was the quote above. “For those who aren’t as interested.”

That’s a huge segment of the population. Those people who don’t know that much about coding, or maybe they do, and they find it’s just not for them (or don’t know if it’s for them or not).

In the Beginning

In the beginning of your coding career, whatever form that takes, you will likely find some use for coding that suits your needs. It’s how I started.

Where some people might thrill to solving puzzles for the sake of solving them, others may need a specific need met. This is why I love seeing the cross-curricular work that folks like Michael O’Kane, Giovanna Busconi, and Daniel Budd (and more) have put out there to teach coding under the auspices of history, or literature, or math. Maybe that’s how you started: you saw an application this skill in a field completely separate from computer science itself.

Explorations

Apple has an excellent curriculum designed for these sorts of folks: they might not fully get what coding is all about, but they use technology in their daily life, as most of us do, and could potentially benefit from another tool in their tool belt.

Develop in Swift Explorations: https://apple.co/developinswiftexplorations

It’s called Develop in Swift Explorations.

You need a Mac and Xcode 11 (at least), but this course will introduce you to coding in the context of your daily life: how the device you use, like your phone, uses coding and how much of our daily interactions rely on coding and processes we might not have even thought of!

Like Everyone Can Code and the other Develop in Swift books, it’s a self guided book with student resources to download which include labs. At the end of each lesson you have a lab to complete that will help you practice your new found skills.

Explorations for Teachers

If you’re a teacher who wants to try using this material with your students (it’s aimed at high school or university students), I’m running a free week-long session in March that might help.

We’ll cover the Explorations curriculum, as well as the Develop in Swift Fundamentals course. Fundamentals is more of a computer science course, but still a great introduction to coding. We take you through the books and get you familiar with the material and ways you can teach it.

You can register here: http://s.apple.com/dE5i4p0g8b

This is a golden opportunity to meet some amazing teachers and coders. We’ve had some incredibly diverse audiences in the past, and this time should be no different. But it’s also a chance to ask questions about the material, and how we teach perseverance and determination. It’s going to be intense, with lectures and workshops in the morning. Then we’ll have a bit of homework and some showcases, group discussions in the afternoon. You’ll get the chance to meet the instructors in smaller groups to ask pointed questions or just have a chat. And each evening we have a special guest of some stripe scheduled.

So if you’re a teacher, you’re more than welcome to come along with us! Sign up at the registration link above, make sure you have a Mac handy, and we’ll start you on your coding adventure.

If you have any questions, feel free to join our Teaching Swift Slack instance, where you can drop me a note.

I hope to see you the first week of March!