A new initiative by Apple called Everyone Can Code is designed to help teach students how to code, especially in the company's own language called Swift. The initiative is a part of the ConnectED program, a national organization to combine tech companies and government in an effort to provide leading technology to poorer schools.
Husain Sumra for MacRumors writes that 114 ConnectED schools will be functioning by fall of this year. Apple has already delivered iPads to over 50,000 students and an iPad and a Mac to 4,500 teachers nationwide.
"We've always believed that education is a great equalizer, a powerful force for change, for good, and we've always believed that our products could have a positive impact on teachers and students. But we're keenly aware that not every school can have this impact. That's why we're so deeply committed to ConnectED, a national initiative combining government and leading technology companies to bring that technology to underserved schools," Says Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The initiative plans on teaching students via Apple's Swift Playgrounds, a new iPad app developed to teach students how to code. Apple is going beyond standard classrooms and hopes to bring programming to the general public as well.
Swift has been released open source and free to allow anyone to contribute and even improve on the design, notes Julie Bort for Business Insider. There has been a push to bring the language to general computer servers allowing it to be used as a programming language on home desktops as well.
In addition to the reveal of Everyone Can Code, Apple announced a brand new feature in its app iWork. The update to iWork allows people to collaborate in real time on projects, which lends itself extremely well to a classroom setting. Using the iPads Apple has donated, teachers and students could work together to design projects without being in the same room. The new iWork can even be utilized over the web without the need for an iPad.
"iWork is all about making beautiful and engaging documents. For people who want the power of iWork, there is a great way to work with colleagues or classmates to work together," Says Susan Prescott, Vice President of worldwide apps marketing at Apple.
The Swift Playground and a curriculum centered around it are to be released over the next few weeks, writes Mary Jo Madda for Edsurge. Apple is currently competing directly with Google in the Education arena as it attempts to vault the Mac and iPad over Google's increasingly popular Chromebook.
Apple is also using its iWork app to try and make headway into the business side of things. During the demo for the app, specific examples of projects being completed on iWork for work environments were given. However, as Larry Dignan writes for ZDnet, the iWork demo didn't show anything groundbreaking or astonishing, so there is still much room for improvement.
With all of this new innovation and tech to schools, Apple is making a real attempt at maintaining its presence in the education market. The company is hoping to reach out to a new generation of product users, ones who are constantly having their attention divided between Apple and Google. All told, Apple devices are being used by over 9,000 teachers via this program, and the company hopes that this will help keep it at the forefront of a constantly changing education market.