#SwiftStudentChallenge: How to Build a PlaygroundBook


Better late than never, let’s try a live session!

Tomorrow, April 15th, at 1pm, Irish time (2pm CET), I’ll jump back on the live stream (or jump right to the stream here). We’ll walk through creating a Swift Playground Book with the Swift Playgrounds Author Template.

The main goal of this session is to show you how to get ready for the Swift Student Challenge for WWDC 21

Get a Head Start

You will need a Mac for this session.

If you want to get a jump on the game, you can go and download Xcode, first and foremost, if you don’t have it already.

The next thing we’ll be working with tomorrow is the Swift Playgrounds Author Template. You can download this from developer.apple.com. You will need to have a free developer account set up, which you can do when you’re prompted to log in.

Building Your Playground

Other than those tools, you could come with an idea for what you want to build. The standard is high for these student submissions, but maybe the idea you implement this time becomes a mind-blowing playground book for WWDC2022. Or you learn how to build something your friends and family can run on their iPads.

Or are you looking for inspiration? Maybe seeing how we can build Swift playground books might jog some idea out of you.

Whatever stage you’re at, whatever ideas you have, feel free to join us tomorrow. Or if that time doesn’t work for you, catch the recording!

Ask Questions

Do you have an idea for your Swift Student Challenge but have some questions?

I can try my best to answer them on the air, come along and ask during the session!

WWDC21 Dates Announced!

Update: Due to the due date for submissions for the Swift Student Challenge, the live sessions will likely be the week of the 12th of April. See you then!

It looks like you’ll have another set of dates to block off on your calendar in June, in addition to the ones I told you about last time!

Apple has just announced that WWDC, their Worldwide Developer Conference, will be held online from the 7th to the 11th of June this year!

Details are scarce right now, other than the dates, as per usual, but there’s plenty of info about the Swift Student Challenge!

If you’re 16 years of age, here in Europe, 13 in the States, you can submit your playground to show off your skills with Swift. Last year we ran a lot of sessions talking about the Swift Student Challenge. If you’re curious, you’ll find it in the AR sessions.


It’s just the nugget of an idea, but in late April and May I’m planning on returning to the live stream. We’ll work on some ideas for Swift Playgrounds that you (or your students) could use.

As I’ve only just had the idea of kicking it off, I’m still thinking through the content and format, but we can certainly show off some of the fun stuff you can do with Playgrounds.

If you’re a teacher, feel free to join the Teaching Swift Slack and drop me a note and maybe we can have your class on to talk about ideas for the Swift Student Challenge.

If you’re a student or you don’t want to join yet another discussion board, shoot me a note. I’d love to hear what people have planned or help you get started!

I’m always inspired by the work put in by these students, and would love to help more people strut their stuff.

Watch this space for more news and when we’ll be broadcasting, but it should be a lot of fun!

Quick Start to Coding at Home

We held some live coding sessions during EU Code Week 2020. They included unplugged activities, away from the iPad, and then a follow-along session of coding in various Swift Playgrounds.

Now, these sessions were a ton of fun in the classroom, but if you find yourself schooling at home again, like we are in Ireland, these sessions are great breaks from the regular school day. (Not to toot our own horn or anything!)

A bit of structure

There are ten sessions in the Quick Start to Code with Swift and we have ten pages that explain each day.

We have a short explanation of the day’s lesson, followed by an embedded video of that day’s recording. After the video we have an explanation (including what materials you need) for the unplugged session. The next section give you ideas about how to extend the lesson, if you found it really easy, or really enjoyed the coding. And the final section has code samples to help you solve that day’s puzzles. There’s even a handy copy link to copy the code and paste it into your Swift Playground, if you’re browsing the web pages on your iPad.

At Home

So if you’re a teacher, or a parent, or a student, the site will guide you through Apple’s excellent Quick Start to Code with Swift.

It’s not ideal, to be remote learning again, when I know our secondary school kids were loving being back in the classroom and back in some semblance of normality. But hopefully our EU Code Week content will keep you going and help change the pace a bit.

Maybe try jumping on a Zoom or WebEx call with your friends and work on your dance moves in the unplugged segments. Or arrange to all try the puzzles from a particular day. Sometimes it helps to talk through and work on the code for a shared problem.

What Comes Next

We have some ideas about where you can go next, once you’ve completed the quick start.

And we’ll be back, very soon, here, to guide you through some more coding. So have those iPads ready, brush up on your Swift, if you want, and we’ll see you again, really soon!

EU Code Week 2020: That’s a Wrap!

It has been a wild and woolly ride, but you can now watch all TEN days of A Quick Start to Code with Swift follow-along sessions!

Steve and I recorded the last few extra days and posted them a little earlier.

Follow-Along Coding Sessions

If you’re just coming to the party, the sessions run around 40 minutes or so and are designed to fit into a classroom period.

We wrote up some instructions and tips for holding a code-along session in your own classroom. Or maybe you want to trial this on your own kids at home. Well, we have instructions for running these sessions at home, too!


The extra sessions follow the same formula as the first five. We start off with a brief intro to the day’s topic. Then we show you a very cool ‘unplugged’ activity where we exercise the concepts for that day’s lesson. Once we’ve gotten everyone up out of their seats and moving, we gather back around the iPads and Swift Playgrounds for some coding.

On some days we had special guests, which always added an extra bit of excitement to the sessions, and I can’t thank the schools from Scotland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, and Ireland enough for joining us!


You can view the entire series of videos on their own here: https://www.thecodehub.ie/eu-code-week-2020/playlist.html

And you can always prepare for each class by referring to our handy site, which contains added context, descriptions of what you need for the unplugged portion, and things you can do to challenge students who are blazing ahead.

I really had a blast coding along with you for ten days. Hopefully this has ignited a little spark for you. Coding is just another way of expressing ourselves, and we found an number of ways of doing that in these ten days. If you keep going, keep practicing, you’ll find all sorts of new ways to solve problems. And then who knows where it can take you?

The Ten

These are the ten sessions, for easy clicking:

A Quick Start to Code: Find Patterns

Steve and I are back with Earlston Primary School in Scotland to talk about finding patterns, from the Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF from Apple.

We talk a lot about finding patterns and turning those patterns we use repeatedly into functions. Find out more on our mini-site for our extended EU Code Week sessions.

What’s in a Function?

A function is a way to group a set of commands you’ve deemed useful enough that you want to re-use. So to write a function we need to think about what problem we’re trying to solve.

Your first pass may also not be your last! Often we’ll revisit code after solving a problem to see if we can improve on our original solution.


With Steve we work on turning left to turn right in the real world and we also play a game of “Dots.”

Come check out our session and get back to Swift Playgrounds with us!


EU Code Week: Going Further

So you’ve started your coding career, or maybe just progressed it a little. Now you’re looking for where else to go to learn coding.

Well, we have good news! We’ve taken a look at the other days in the Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF and are busy recording the next five days.

Five More Days!

You can check out newly beefed up mini-site for the focus of the new days.

We’ll be adding more details, especially around the unplugged segments, as the next few days go by. In the meantime, you can try your hand at the code for each day, as we have sample code, ideas for extending the material if you or your class is flying ahead, or you can learn more about the ideas behind the lesson.

When we’ve recorded the session we’ll post the video on the corresponding page so you can use it in class, just like our other days.

Going Even Further

But what if you’ve done all the extended ideas for the coding, all the unplugged sessions. You’re danced out and your brain is electrified with possibilities of coding!

Well, we have a Going Further page on the mini-site that will give you places to go, material to explore. From more Swift Playgrounds to other realms of coding, like Augmented Reality, to Xcode and building apps for iPhones and iPads and Macs, on Macs.

You’ve taken the first, very exciting steps in your coding career: where are you going to take it from here?

EU Code Week: Play Your Own Game Again

Join us live today at 9:45am, Irish/UK time for another follow-along coding session!

For context (and last week’s recording), you can visit our mini-site: Day Nine: Play your own game

We follow Apple’s Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF (and skip a few days, for now), which is why Friday is Day Nine.


Steve will teach us the rules of Rock, Paper, Scissors. This is important, because to turn this into a game we can code, we need to understand the rules, or the mechanics, of how the game works.

We’ll play a few spirited games, so make sure you’ve limbered up your fingers!


What better use of coding than to write your own game?

Well, today we’ll take the game Rock, Paper, Scissors, and turn it into our very own game. With code we’ll be able to customise the game, tweak it to our heart’s content.

So come join us, learn a little bit of coding, and start building your own game!

See you at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

EU Code Week: Track the Gems Again

Join us live today at 9:45am, Irish/UK time for another follow-along coding session!

For context (and last week’s recording), you can visit our mini-site: Day Six: Track the gems

We follow Apple’s Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF (and skip a few days, for now), which is why Thursday is Day Six.


Okay, take a seat. Today we’re going to break down (not breakdance) our favourite dances. What is the name of the dance? What’s the duration?

Steve helps us to learn a little about variables when we consider what elements make up our real-world bouncing and bopping around.


We learn about variables today and have to dive into the Learn to Code 2 playground. This is a big step, and a HUGE new coding concept to learn.

We’ll use variables to keep track of the gems that Hopper collects as we solve the puzzles in today’s session.

See you at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

EU Code Week: Get Loopy Again

Join us live today at 9:45am, Irish/UK time for another follow-along coding session!

For context (and last week’s recording), you can visit our mini-site: Day Four: Get loopy

We follow Apple’s Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF (and skip a few days, for now), which is why Wednesday is Day Four.


More dancing! If you’ve joined us for both weeks, your legs must be ready to fall off by now. But we go dancing on a loop today!

You will also likely have the song “Banana, Banana, Meatball” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.


We learn a critical coding skill today: how to get Swift to run our code again and again and again to solve problems. We’ll do this with a for loop.

Join us today and, with a little bit of forethought, we can solve problems even quicker than before!

See you at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

EU Code Week: Get Groovy Again

Join us live today at 9:45am, Irish/UK time for another follow-along coding session!

For context (and last week’s recording), you can visit our mini-site: Day Three: Get groovy

We follow Apple’s Quick Start to Code with Swift PDF (and skip a few days, for now), which is why Tuesday is Day Three.


Steve will get you out of your seat and dancing today, so make sure you’ve stretched well and are wearing appropriate shoes today!

By following a set of moves, we’ll 1) look super cool and 2) be learning a little bit about coding.


We’ll be working from the Meetbot 2.0 Dances playground today, where we’ll learn a little bit about making our own commands today, called functions.

What moves do you want to group together to make our virtual Meet dance?

See you at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!