Apple’s New Direction in Education: Curriculum

2 minute read
| Analysis

For this school year, Apple’s App Development with Swift curriculum will be offered in more than 30 community colleges across the country. This offering will help students learn to build apps, preparing them for careers in software development and information technology. This signifies a radical new direction in education for Cupertino: crafting curriculum. Let’s take a look at the program, what it does, and what it means for programming education.

new direction in education

If Apple’s new curriculum for higher education takes off, it could mean accelerated hardware sales

Apple’s New Direction in Education

When I was teaching on university and community college campuses, Cupertino’s primary focus in education was selling hardware. Representatives would visit the campus and talk about the iPad, MacBook Air, and so forth. Apple seems to have a new direction in education, and is now pushing curriculum – curriculum the tech giant creates and provides at no cost.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently visited Austin, Texas, and explained Cupertino’s vision for the endeavor. One of the nation’s largest higher learning institutions, Austin Community Collect District (ACC), will be offering the App Development with Swift course to its 74,000 students. Mr. Cook said:

We’ve seen firsthand how Apple’s app ecosystem has transformed the global economy, creating entire new industries and supporting millions of jobs. We believe passionately that same opportunity should be extended to everyone, and community colleges have a powerful reach into communities where education becomes the great equalizer.

The Swift Curriculum at a Glance

Apple designed the Swift curriculum to prepare students for job opportunities in a fast-growing economy of apps. The 900+ page eBook students can download (for free, mind you) for the course provides a strong starting point on app development. Here’s a brief overview of what the iBook covers:

  • Getting Started with App Development
  • Introduction to UIKit
  • Navigation and Workflows
  • Tables and Persistence
  • Working with the Web
  • Prototyping and Project Planning

I haven’t read through the curriculum in its entirety, but I have given it a once-over. It appears quite solid, as far as providing students with what they need to become app developers. Some of the sections have even been beneficial to me in my own coding.

Apple Remains Committed to Education

Despite thoughts to the contrary, Apple seems to maintain a commitment to education. Apple might not be showing how committed it is to education in ways we’re accustomed to. However, helping to drive education towards Apple’s ecosystem is definitely a step in the right direction, though. In my time, we taught generic C++ courses for introductory programming, typically using Microsoft Windows for the platform.

Shifting the focus to Swift doesn’t necessarily mean more hardware sales for Apple. After all, since Swift is an open-source programming language, developers can program in it under Linux and other platforms. With that said, I’m sure colleges and universities are going to use it to focus on real-world app development. That means programming for iOS devices, which means more sales of Macs, iPhones, and iPads for Apple.

5 Comments Add a comment

  1. Jamie

    It goes without saying (but here I go, anyway), not everyone is interested in coding or development. Not everyone has the aptitude for coding and development. Not everyone needs to study coding and development. Not everyone should be required to. I wouldn’t bother opening my mouth if this were elective material, but no, Apple has decided it should be foisted on everyone.

    This is another one of their moves of late that for lack of a better word is totalitarian, it really further dents my already tenuous respect for Tim Cook. Do they realize most kids these days can’t read, don’t know how to type, and don’t know how to do anything with their mobile devices but their social apps? I just can’t pretend there is any considered intelligence behind Apple’s actions. Silicon Valkey is not the world; it isn’t even representative the country (and I can tell you from my own experience in working with them that as soon as traditionally ‘technological’ kids are out of reach of the pressures of home countries, many of THEM suddenly aren’t all that keen on being engineers, either).

    Technology is not a panacea, coding is not a panacea, and Apple does not get to dictate. How about including some actual educators in the conversation next time? People are not robots or clones, and it saddens me that such a formerly culturally enriching company resembles a rhetoric factory more and more with each passing year.




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    • Jeff Butts

      Whoa, back the bus up, Jamie! Where does this say it’s anything but elective material? Nothing that Apple has said or done indicates that programming/coding/development is the only possible major students might be interested in.

      Rather, they’re offering curriculum to those students who are interested in programming/coding/development. And the curriculum is much more applicable to the real world than the standard fare I was provided when I was teaching those students. We were teaching them how to make simple text-based dice and Blackjack games, while the world has moved well beyond that.

      There’s nothing totalitarian about this. They’re offering free curriculum for higher educational institutions to use, or not, as they please.

      Bear in mind, this material is for HIGHER education. Community colleges, universities. Not KIDS. Further more, the content isn’t being FORCED on them. They’re asking, nay, BEGGING for it.

      Pay attention to the target audience before you initiate rant mode, Jamie. Your blood pressure will thank you.




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  2. Cody Burnette

    I absolutely saw nothing that stated this curriculum was to be forced down anyone’s throats. If a college ‘offers’ the course, it usually means it is an elective. Maybe you didn’t read the article correctly?




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  3. Lee Dronick

    There is coding and then there is learning how to solve everyday problems, how set up a procedure to do tasks and such, to that end learning basic coding helps. As Jaime said not everyone has the necessary aptitude to “Code” as in creating complex apps and I am in that group, but I can do some stuff such as spreadsheets. I am bulldozing my way through the Swift course, we will see how far we get.




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