Maybe that’s taking it to the extreme, but Tim Cook made it clear last week in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board that he, Apple as a whole, and some other Silicon Valley companies see coding as a skill that doesn’t require a traditional four year degree for productive job consideration and placement. I can’t say that I disagree with him.
While I have a bachelors degree and a masters degree in music, I have never attended anything beyond specialized software training courses for my current job. I learned a lot of what I know today on my own, through the mentoring of others and through on the job experience. I’ve been, among other things, a programmer ands systems integrator for the last 18 years without one second spent in a college computer course classroom. I know I’m not the only one with this story, either.
During WWDC last month, Apple introduced an amazing new App that will be available to iPad owners running iOS 10 this fall. The App is called Swift Playgrounds, and it presents a unique way for users of every age and experience level to easily learn how to code in Apple’s Swift coding language at their own pace. iPad owners can follow through the lessons in natural progression, or jump around to specific topics depending on there interest level. In addition, every level can be repeated in any order at any time.
Even if you have no idea what coding is about, or have zero experience writing code of any kind, Swift Playgrounds makes the learning process extremely easy, intuitive and immediately rewarding. There will be additional Playgrounds/Lessons available after the official launch along side iOS 10. However, users who have access to either the Public or Developer betas will automatically have the app downloaded to their iPad and be able to immediately start exploring and mastering the concepts in this interactive programming Playground.
One of the computing classes that I teach at school is HTML, and being a 1:1 iPad school I wanted to refresh my scheme of work to take advantage of using the iPad. Now, let’s get one thing out of the way, coding on the iPad may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, the fact that I can work on it in class and get the students to take the same software home and continue working is a real bonus for me. I had a good look around for an app which would fit my needs and zeroed in on Koder. My reasons for choosing this were mainly because it offered a browser preview of your code and it also wasn’t rated 17+ (Apple rates pretty much any app with a browser 17+ for unrestricted web access unfortunately). It is worth noting that it offers other coding languages, but for the purposes of this review I’m going to concentrate on HTML. Continue reading
This is Part 2 of my rundown on Coding with Your Kids on an iPad. Part 1 highlighted iPad apps that teach younger children the concepts behind programming. The following apps take these concepts further and introduce different elements to learning how to code. These apps are suitable for children aged 10-18 (or beyond!).
Free + in-app purchases
As you progress through Hakitzu, you can gain points which you can use to upgrade your robots with different weaponry and costumes.
In the past, coding was a pretty niche affair, those of us with our Acorns, Spectrums and Commodore 64s experimenting with lines and lines of code. I remember as an 8 year old, spending ages typing out lines of code on my beige Acorn Electron to draw….a line on the screen. To add insult to injury there was no way to save it unless I wanted to erase my tape of “Ice Ice Baby” and replace it with my code. Needless to say because we were put into the deep end in those days, like millions of others I was put off a bit by coding and just played computer games instead.
Fast forward to the iPad era and coding is coming back in a big way. Some very talented developers with a love for coding have produced some spectacular apps, turning the iPad into a coding studio in your hand. There are some great iPad apps which take the pain out of coding for the layman and can teach your children (and you) some excellent skills.
This article will concentrate on the best coding apps available currently for your children aged 2-9. A follow up article will look at apps for older children.