Who said learning can’t be fun? Learning to code can be a dull, laborious and often tricky subject, but luckily Apple have come up with an ingenious way of making this a lot more interesting. Introducing Swift Playgrounds, a brand new app for the iPad that’s sole aim is to make learning to code both interactive and fun.
The perfect tool for classrooms, teachers can use these in IT lessons across multiple iPads, engaging children in an important tool that they’ll be able to take full advantage of in both the present and their future. Coding might seem like a complex thing to learn, but Swift Playgrounds requires no prior coding knowledge. Whatever your age, it’ll walk you through it in simple steps, packed with challenges, mini-games, puzzles and activities to both teach and test you as you progress.
However, if you’ve already adapted to coding, Swift Playgrounds also provides inspiration and brand new ways for developers to envision their ideas. Bright, colourful and engaging, learners are able to use real code to guide a character through a 3D world. The more you learn, the more advanced these challenges become. However, as the stages are equally placed, nothing should feel too complex. The idea is to naturally push their learners through each challenge, prompting them to continue only when they feel most comfortable.
Learners will see the outcome of their results pretty instantaneously. They’re prompted to code on the left hand side of the screen, whilst their creations will “come to life” on the left side of the screen in a mixture of vibrant colours and 3D graphics. You’ll start with the “Fundamentals of Code” lesson, which will teach you the basic instructions required to get coding. This includes the following; bug fixing, commands, functions, loops, parameters, conditional code, variables, operators, types, and initialisation. Once you’ve mastered this, the levels will gradually develop to include more complex code.
Whilst Swift Playgrounds allows you to progress through higher levels each time you complete one, extra challenges are also included. These are based on each of the lessons available, so you can dive in and get a deeper understanding of a particular topic. Want to learn more about bug fixing? No problem! They’ll be more lessons available so you’ll master it more effectively.
Available for the latest iPad, Swift Playgrounds is built to use what this powerful tablet can offer. It draws on the Multi Touch functionalities, the high-def display and the touch screen is perfect for tapping, dragging, typing and interacting with every part of the app.
Swift Playgrounds makes things a lot more efficient for regular learners too. Like predictive text, iPad’s keyboard will start to learn the lines of code that you’re regularly typing. It’ll start to suggest it as you type, so you can select it in one chunk rather than re-typing every single time. Templates are also available for more advanced users. These allow you to explore your creative streak by offering the chance to add in your own lines of code, graphics, audio and more. Get building, and see what you’re able to make!
Swift Playgrounds is also pretty interactive. If you’re especially proud of something you’ve created in the app, you can send the code to a friend, family or work colleagues iPad by using Mail, Messages, or AirDrop. This will allow friends to openit in their own Swift Playgrounds. They’ll also get the opportunity to tweak the code and add their own unique flair, so this app can become a real collaborative experience.
Swift Playgrounds works with Xcode, a more advanced coding app that allows developers to take things to the next level. Once you feel confident enough to take things in your own stride, export it out of Swift Playgrounds into Xcode. Available to download from the App Store now, Xcode does away with the games and hand-holding, but it offers you this large space to expand your ideas.
Although it’s available now on the Beta version of iOS 10, Swift Playgrounds officially launches this Autumn, for free on the App Store. We suggest downloading this and giving it a try. It’s always handy picking up a new skill, and coding comes in handy a lot nowadays. Whether you’re looking to build your own website, design a new product or create a game, whatever the reason, Swift Playgrounds could turn out to be that handy learning tool that you’ve been looking for.