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
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.
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.
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!