My education in application development certainly didn’t have the “fun” aspect that platforms such as Swift Playground offers to entice students into learning this important skill.
At the university level, students deal with a series of lectures, slides, and tutorials to help instill the foundational concepts of computer science and application design. Your average student will read hundreds of pages on syntax and theory, explaining in detail the macro view of computer science and computational thinking.
After sufficient reading and testing, the student progresses toward the finer nuances of a particular language or technology stack. Views, controllers, modules are constructed to display, manipulate and store data. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely fun to see these technologies work together in unison to create a fully functional application. What the education system tends to miss however is connecting computational thought to real-world items and events.
Why is that so many students don’t begin to learn a programming language until their teens? Many of the abstract concepts that make up the world of computer science are just beyond the developmental level of young children. With Swift Playground, Apple has made computational thinking accessible to younger children that are already eager to learn everything they can about the world around them.
Many have grown up surrounded by technology that we couldn’t even imagine when we were their age. In light of today’s technology, how will these children be able to extend its reach and capabilities when given the proper tools?
If children begin to learn and understand computational thought at an earlier age, these students will only become more advanced in their knowledge and capacity to develop algorithms and applications by the time they reach the university level. Their minds are molded by their professors and further equipped to make the next big technological leap.
Further, coming from a place where programming is naturally “fun” as opposed to solving a math problem, students with a foundation in an educational tool such as Swift Playground will be much less likely to become frustrated when confronted with a challenge while developing an application. These sort of temporary setbacks are all part of the fun while creating something useful.
As a growing number of children think of programming as something fun to do instead of a boring math problem, the computer science field will become more accessible to students of all demographics. The days of computer science being dominated by well-educated men are coming to a close. Companies like Apple continue to invest in educating the future crop of computer scientists and the industry will only become better for it in the decades to come.
In closing, I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the education that I have received. As a developer, I cannot be thankful enough for the professors and mentors that poured into me. I’ve read some incredible books and learned so much from tutorials that helped me create functional real-world applications. Is that not to say I’m not jealous of this coming generation and all that will be available to them?
No, I’m definitely jealous. What they will dream and create is going to go well beyond anything I can even dream of now. And that’s ok. They’re going to develop an incredible new world for us and they’re going to have a great time doing it.
Everything you need to know about outsourcing technology development
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