Recently, Apple announced that it would be hosting Hour of Code sessions from December 4-10 at their Apple Retail Stores. This is the fifth year that the company has held such events in celebration of Computer Science Education Week. Each of the classes, which have various age and interest targets, focuses on the Swift programming language and uses the iPad and Swift Playgrounds as the tool. Attendees can bring their own iPad, or if they don’t have one, Apple will provide them one for use during class time.
While the Hour of Code and these events are nothing new, I have to be honest and say that I haven’t really paid much attention before. However, after looking over the various sessions, I have decided to get involved this time around and see what you can get out of an hour of hands-on time at an Apple Store.
Since a lot of these programs are geared toward younger users, specifically their Sphero Maze Challenge and Coding the Droids from Star Wars classes, I think I am going to take my three kiddos along to our local Apple Store a week from Saturday and see if we can’t take in a couple of sessions together. Also, if it isn’t a problem, I may also see about sitting in on the Teacher Tuesdays: App Design and Coding Basics course, as well. This one is a hour and a half long on consecutive Tuesday evenings, but I will only attend if it isn’t full the night before since I’m not actually the intended audience. However, I would really like to see what Apple is providing educators to help them get started teaching coding in the classroom.
While Apple has been hosting similar events for a while, I do find it interesting how they neatly dovetail with the Swift app programming curriculum that Apple created and is now being offered at around 30 community colleges across the country. Rather than setting their sights on larger universities and computer science programs, it is notable that Apple is aiming their education initiatives at a much wider audience of kids, families, and teachers in their stores, and less expensive and faster moving community colleges to reach adults. I don’t think any of this is accidental in the least, but a plan to give the next generation of programmers a head start into their ecosystem.
You can find more information on Apple’s Hour of Code events, and the schedule for your local Apple Store or Stores here.