Last year I was fortunate enough to come across an Apple Distinguished Educator resource for App Development. Students in my previous school went up to year 9 (Grade 8) and I thought this would be the perfect challenge.
They had experienced two years of #EveryoneCanCode which had been embedded into the curriculum and enhanced by lessons delivered by myself in the robotics classroom each week. This I felt gave them enough knowledge from year 5 (Grade 6) to be able to understand how to develop an app from a basic concept to prototype.
The #EveryoneCanCode curriculum from AppleEDU gave a protoype keynote playbook which took students through a range of concepts of design which they needed to consider which allowed scaffolding for them to ensure they considered all of the necessary elements such as Research, platform design, user interface and user feedback.
At this point I would tell you that students in my class from year 5 completed a Keynote prototypes project at the beginning of the year, so lower down the school if they couldn’t develop a model on Swift or Xcode they could create a workflow using Keynote. Keynote is a fantastic tool for this when you add into the mix the slide transitions and animations.
So the project began and they had 8 weeks to work either as a team or individually to create and develop an app which could benefit their community. Being in the Middle East, their Community could have been a range of things. It could be their home here, their community in their home country or even the area around where they live in Abu Dhabi. With 71 Nationalities, it was important to recognise that community means so many things.
We gave students a mentor who was a teacher, not a coder, just someone they could go to and talk over ideas, they also had the playbook, to make notes, develop ideas and use to scaffold their project with. This allowed them to be as independent as they wanted with their project, knowing that at the end of the 8 weeks they would have 3 minutes to pitch their idea to a panel of judges.
For me the real world element of this was that it would be pitched to people who could really make a difference. We were lucky enough to have Fakhra Al Mansour who supported our project and gave the winner an internship at her company Hybrid Humans here in Abu Dhabi.
Students presented with such flair and enthusiasm. There were nerves but this was to be expected. Above all, the project gave students a chance to have a voice and be heard, what their passions were.
If you want to do the same, you should check out the playbook resources on Apple Teacher and unlock a world of possible projects for your students.
- Download the play book – Apple Teacher
- Invite students to be part of something exciting – I did a Top Secret meeting!
- Community – Give them ownership
- Mentors – Just willing teachers 👩🏫 👨🏫
- Time – We gave them a term
- Pitch – We had a normal teaching classroom
Coding supports a range of elements of a whole school curriculum. Something which I have noticed significantly across all ages is the resilience which is gives to students and an ability to problem solve. Not only that but it empowers students to be independent and use their creativity to develop things which as adults we sometimes do not see.
Our winner is now developing her own app and was able to share her story with a global community at the Apple Store, Dubai.
Check out the Free resources from Apple Swift playground and see how easy it is to embed in your school as well.
Without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today! #EveryoneCanCode
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