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.
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.