Apple Expands Swift Playgrounds Curriculum with Robots, Drones

Apple this week announced that Swift Playgrounds, its educational coding app for iPad, will offer a new way to learn to code using robots, drones, and musical instruments.

Swift Playgrounds was designed for students and beginners learning to code with Swift, Apple’s programming language for building apps. Apple says it is working with device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing kids to program and control devices, including Lego robots and Parrot drones.

“More than one million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favourite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds.”

For example, Parrot’s Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones can take off, land, turn and perform aerial figures like flips, all under the control of code users create. And Lego Mindstorms Education Ev3 can be made into a variety of imaginative creations, all controllable through code.

“Today we’re combining efforts with Apple to provide even more students around the world with the opportunity to learn how to code,” said Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president, Lego Education. “We’re pairing the familiar LEGO bricks and our hands-on approach to playful learning with Swift Playgrounds’ powerful learning platform so now anyone can program their Lego creation with real Swift code.”

“It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn,” adds Federighi.

Next week Apple hosts its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose, where it could unveil a Siri-based smart home device and new Macbooks.