Apple Leans on Swift to Educate Teachers with New Initiative

Apple is building a learning hub for high school teachers in Chicago. The goal: instruct those educators in how to educate students in coding.

At the Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, where the company held its most recent education-focused event, Apple will collaborate with Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University. Via the Center for Excellence at Lane Tech, teachers will be schooled on Apple’s Everyone Can Code curriculum.

“Teachers make a world of difference in their students’ lives, and we owe so much of our own success to their creativity, hard work and dedication,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “At Apple, we believe every student should have the opportunity to learn to code and we are thrilled to help provide new learning opportunities for Chicago-area teachers so they can bring coding into their classrooms.”

Via a blog post, Apple notes it will develop the curriculum and training alongside Northwestern University. Professors from the university will, in turn, teach area high school teachers on best practices for implementing the curriculum.

While the physical location and curated coursework is new, the initiative isn’t. This builds on Apple’s existing Everyone Can Code program launched last year, and is also a physical manifestation of Apple’s Developer Forums. Through its portal for educators, Apple set up a repository of FAQs and pointers for teachers.

The Developer Forum for teachers is split into two categories: teaching app development, and teaching Swift Playgrounds. Apple also has several eBooks published within an Everyone Can Code section, all available via iBooks. The book series has content for students, with teacher guides to compliment the curriculum. This forum is a good glimpse into the opportunity the company sees for having a physical location where teachers can collaborate and ask questions.

This teach-teachers-to-teach initiative is limited to Chicago Public Schools because it was the first district to make computer science a requirement for graduation. Free for teachers, the program also offers in-school coaching and mentorship for those interested. Additionally, iPads and Macs will be provided while teachers are at the Center for Excellence.

One interesting caveat here is that the program is also only open to high school teachers, not all educators in the Chicago Public School system. This suggests Apple’s Swift-based coursework is at an advanced level by the time students reach high school (possibly more advanced than their teachers).