A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Tap on "Learn to Code 1 Fundamentals of Swift" to download the first lesson on SWIFT PLAYGROUNDS. Then tap "Open" and start the lesson, which begins with some everyday questions and discussion about the purpose of coding. Follow the on-screen instructions to tap already-written lines of code in the proper order to move the character, Byte, and make him collect a gem. Once complete, tap "Run My Code" to see if it works. If not, you can return to the code and redo it, or tap on "Hint" to find out more. Tap Next Page to go onto the next coding challenge. Download more lessons and challenges, as desired. Multiple users can keep their own progress in the app. Also, there are customization options, recording, and sharing for more advanced users.
Is it any good?
This play-to-learn app is an engaging, eye-pleasing, and easy way for tweens, teens, and adults to learn the programming language Swift. There's lots of help through clear instructions and hints that are available when a user gets stuck on a puzzle. The glossary of common coding terms gets kids up to speed on the lingo. Also, the ability to tap on snippets of real code cuts down on typing. For kids who can read well (the vocabulary ramps up as lessons progress), Swift Playgrounds will feel much more like free-flow fun than a coding lesson. The only downside is that you need a new-ish iPad to use it, which may be a dealbreaker for those who can't afford to upgrade. Going beyond coding blocks, Swift Playgrounds is an exploratory, low-pressure way to learn Swift that feels like, well, a playground.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how coding is like a new language and that, just like with any new language, it takes resources (like Swift Playgrounds), consistent practice, and time to learn it well.
Discuss app ideas from you or your kid to show how learning the material on Swift Playgrounds can help them reach their goals and make new things.
If your kid gets frustrated by a specific puzzle, suggest using the hints, all the way to the full solution, if needed, which can be an effective way to learn.
- Device: iPad
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, vocabulary
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, decision-making, hypothesis-testing, part-whole relationships, problem solving, thinking critically
Self-Direction: work to achieve goals
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Free
- Release date: April 30, 2018
- Category: Education
- Size: 253.30 MB
- Publisher: Apple
- Version: 2.1
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.3 or later
For kids who love coding and STEM apps
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.