“Stop worrying about what happens next”- I took a step in a new direction, got lost, got scared, got over it.

Coming back from teaching abroad with no job lined up, I knew I’d have to be patient. I was content with this, excited even, that I’d have time to work on my own projects (like this) and to focus on finding something great. The challenge I put myself up to solidified an interest I had for education technology. I became inspired and looked forward to a future career where I’d be able to share this passion. But after only three weeks in I began to feel a gnawing sense of social guilt and personal impatience.

What was I doing being 27 and unemployed?

I started looking into teaching jobs as these self-conscious thoughts kicked in, I didn’t even stop to question if this is what I needed right now. Alas, none of the nearby boards were looking to add to their supply teachers list. No surprise there. I turned to private schools, but no luck. Friends said to me, “you have such great experiences,” it must be easy for you to find a teaching job now. I did FEEL accomplished and capable, teaching internationally and working with tech in the past helped me develop a lot as an educator and I felt like I had a lot to bring into Toronto classrooms. But maybe I didn’t do enough AQs, maybe I didn’t do my time right, should I just fork up the money and go back to school again? More self doubt followed. In an attempt to fill in the answer “so what are you doing now?” with what I assumed was a socially acceptable response (“I’m teaching at___”, “I’m working at___”, “I’m going to start my Masters at ___”), I started craving for work, any work. I began job hunting aggressively, at times meaninglessly, for something that would satisfy this craving. To my dismay, that didn’t work either (thankfully). There were a few positions that I was excited about and didn’t get and others that I convinced myself to get excited about and also didn’t get. At the time I thought I was ready for anything new. I didn’t think it’d matter to me whether or not it was related to education. Companies totally saw that my heart was somewhere else before I even realized it myself.

After finishing the last of the Intro to App Development book I paused my regular cycle of aggressive job-hunting, twice a day Muay Thai (which was actually awesome), and coding. I took a break from social media, particularly my KaceCodes Twitter account, because it was causing me more anxiety than inspiration. I spent a few days reconnecting with old friends and realized they weren’t judging me, I welcomed my brother home who I had not seen for over a year since I left for Iceland/Beijing and he left for Cali, and I built an awesome pillow fort with my two nephews.

Then I bandaged what had felt like a billion bullets to my ego, and I mustered the confidence to reiterate what I’ve always known, but needed badly to be reminded:

1. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to be unemployed and healthy and to be able to “explore” career options. I got to enjoy the remainder of the summer sun in a city that I love more than ever, coding in my favourite Toronto cafes and reading programming and non-programming books in city parks. I have the time and timezone to finally hang out with friends and family. Life is good.

 

2. I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to travel and teach abroad. I’m grateful for the students who taught me how to be a better teacher, for the lifelong friendships I’ve made along the way, for the beautiful countries that welcomed me. I’ve become who I am because of it and I should never regret those experiences. Life is good.

 

3. I will always be a teacher, whether or not I’m in a classroom. The things I love about teaching—being open-minded, always learning, being people focused, celebrating creativity—are me. In the same way that a company judges whether or not I fit the company, I have the right to judge whether a company suits me.

 

4. Remember to stay humble. I’m not entitled to anything, if I want something then I’ve got to put in the work for it, be prepared, be ready to “fail” again.

I had this week of peace and I was ready to start my search again, with more focus and self-awareness. By some heavenly coincidence that Friday afternoon I was also contacted by three companies I was super interested in almost within the same hour. While I still don’t know if I’ll end up at any of them, I was grateful to end the week on a hopeful note.

So, next step?

My goal is to incorporate the two things I love, education and technology, and at the end of the day I want to feel like making a difference in people’s lives. I’d love to create something or be part of something that can give students better opportunities to learn. I can be in a classroom, but I can also support learners from outside the classroom. AND, I’m probably going to keep learning/practicing Swift by building something on my own too 😉

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Applying Swift to App Development: Summary of Mini-App Projects

 

In an older post I mentioned my first experience coding in Xcode and building an app, I commented on how the experience was intimidating. It’s true that app development and learning Swift each demand their own set of knowledge and skills, along with the ability to work the two together. Apple’s “App Development with Swift” course content reflects this distinction:

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 4.26.13 PM.png-Excerpt From: Apple Education. “App Development with Swift.” Apple Inc. – Education, 2017.

Introducing the distinction early on has been useful because it’s planted a seed to begin thinking about what it means to develop using a programming language… So I finally know what an enum is and I can solve simple word problems, but how and when would I use an enum to make an app? 

The “Intro to App Development with Swift” includes guided opportunities to practice app development using the basic Swift syntax learned.  Just like the lessons that focus specifically on Swift concepts, these mini app projects build upon one another, giving a bit more autonomy and demanding more effort as the course progresses. There is always enough guidance and reference provided to help you complete the task.

Here’s a summary of mini-project apps included in the “Intro to App Development with Swift”. Looking back on it, these lessons were my favourite and it’s helped to make app development seem a lot less intimidating, but rather a much more exciting opportunity.

Lesson 5: First App
Build: An app that displays a single photo

 

  • Start thinking about how app development works
  • Become familiar with building and running an app using Xcode
  • Practice using: Attributes inspector, Image view, Project navigator, Simulator (build app), and Storyboard

Lesson 13: Question Bot
Build: A Question/Answer App.

  • Become familiar with working on app already in progress by understanding all parts of app and knowing where your part fits in
  • Practice writing functions (input question, output answer) and if/else statements
  • Practice changing, building, running, and testing change
    note: You’ll notice I was hungry for sushi on this particular afternoon…😹🍣

Lesson 17: Actions and Outlets
Build: An app that lets you pick a colour

  • learn how to connect an app’s interface to Swift code and make it interactive
  • learn how to use and connect interface features like switches, sliders and buttons
  • the project/lesson is split into 6 parts, each involve completing a learning objective that will lead to the completion of the app. At the end of each part, you reach a “check point” in which you run the current build to test it.

Lesson 18 Part 1: Adaptive User Interfaces
Build: A quiz app about chemical elements

  • practice setting constraints and using auto-layout again. Also learn how to use, arrange, and adjust (top to bottom) stack views.
  • add outlets and actions (buttons and labels)
  • learn how to add images to the assets catalogue and how to write code that will load the images
  • practice troubleshooting when the app crashes

Lesson 19 Part 2: Adaptive User Interfaces
Build: An animal sounds app (with “fewer step by step instructions”)

  • practice setting up an adaptive user interface and create a stack view in a stack view (nested view)
  • practice adding outlets and actions (buttons and labels)
  • add existing sound files to the project and reuse code to play the sounds

All this practice was great because I got to recognize how the coding skills I’ve learn can be applied and how different aspects of app development fit together. Whenever I tell Alex I need more practice using what I’ve learned, his reply is either “let’s play code wars together” or “try making something (an app)”.  I’ve already shared my fondness for CodeWars, but making my own app sounded to me like such an extreme leap. But I guess it makes sense he would suggest this, after all when he first started learning Objective-C, he jumped straight into tackling  app development. I remember he learned a lot on the fly, researching and experimenting, trying to figure out ways to make his app idea come alive. I’m still learning a lot of the basics, but I’m beginning to think I might need to pull out that app journal and start making stuff 🤷‍♀️

-Kristina

 

Making solo learning more social

As teachers we know that kids learn best with one another and from one another…When I taught preschool in Beijing, my little second/third language learners were absorbing languages left and right. I had children from Finland and Korea who were not only speaking to classmates in English but also using Mandarin. It was during playtime and group activities where their language skills got the most practice. Language development is a great example of the way learning in general is a social experience. Social Learning has been trending since Bandura first formed the theory in the 1970s and since then it’s adapted to the digital age. In “Collaborative Learning for the Digital Age,” Cathy N. Davidson, a professor at Duke University wrote about how modern social learning through the Internet (i.e. researching and learning from websites, social media, blogs online networking, etc.) made her course “This is Your Brain on the Internet” a more authentic, exciting, and student-driven learning experience.

Today, self-study appears to be the new trend, particularly in the programming world. According to this article in Quartz, 69% of developers who responded to a 2016 survey said they were at least partially self-taught, half did not have a formal CS degree. This is the stuff that dreams bootcamps, online courses, and micro-degrees are made of! And hey, I’m not here to knock self-study, after all that’s what I’m trying to do for myself..But I realize that if I’m going to success in my own self-study, I need to find ways to make my solo learning more social.
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I guess Davidson would insist that this had always started off as a social elearning experience, after all I decided to write this public blog and shortly after I quickly jumped onto my new @kacecodes Twitter account and followed the who’s who of the ed tech community. It’s definitely helped, but still I was missing what every great social learning experience has: consistent feedback and communication, emotional support (hold me accountable, ’cause damnit I can be lazy), and the ability to collaborate. Here I recognize that there are definite benefits to taking an in-class or online course with a common cohort that I’m missing out on, but I was interested to see what kind of relevant communities already exist both online and offline.

First I sought online communities and discussion boards catering to beginners learning Swift programming language. Here’s what I found…

  1. Apple’s Developer Forum for “Educators Teaching App Development” is pretty relevant and there is actual a forum dedicated to teachers using the Everyone Can Code books in the classroom. I got excited, but then disappointed at the lack of activity:(
    Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 9.27.10 PM.png
  2. stackoverflow.com is a very bookmark-worthy site. I’ve mainly used stackoverflow Questions as reference when solving challenging problems or when I’ve needed clarification. There is a lot that I don’t understand, but I like that I can search and filter for “beginner Swift” questions.Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.41.07 AM.png
  3. codenewbie.org is a cool website to support an international community of beginner coders. They have podcasts, host events (in the US :/), and have links to resources.  I was looking forward to getting connected with other learners in Discourse, but while there are some encouraging discussions and talks of meet-ups, it wasn’t very current or Swift-specific. Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.46.52 AM.png

In addition to being able to share information and resources, it’s comforting to know there are other people out there who are also taking up a similar challenge of learning a programming language from scratch. It was nice to see that I wasn’t the only newb wondering, “so where exactly do I place these curly brackets?” (thank you stackoverflow for the answer). The online communities that exist are helpful but as you can probably tell from my comments, I had to filter through the content and deal with much of it being sparse, outdated, not relevant, or not actually beginner-friendly.

I’m also still on the look out for some in person meet-up based in Toronto? Any newbies out there currently learning or interested?🤷‍♀️

Practice makes Perfect 
So far the most practical resource I’ve come across comes from the Codewars community. codewars.com is an online “coding dojo” created by coders and managed by lead users. They provide levelled challenges (katas) created by other members, starting at fundamentals (8kyu) all the way to advanced exercises (1kyu). When you submit your solution you can see how others have solved the same problem and you’re able to compare yours to the most effective solutions. So far its been a fun and challenging way for me to flex my programmer-brain and to contribute to the coding community, even as a beginner.

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 10.37.50 AM.png

Learning the foundation of Swift (being able to read and write its basic syntax) was a nice boost in confidence…the greater challenge ahead is making sure I actually retain the knowledge by practicing and applying what I’ve learned in different contexts. Crossing my fingers I stay on track and hopefully find more people to learn with.

Translating the Technical: Everyday Stuff and Swift Programming

17 lessons, 3 to go.

There’s no telling what will come next, but I’m happy with my decision to explore coding beginning with this Intro by Apple. I wanted to start at the basics and I wanted it to be free. The focus of the course is to create a  foundation for understanding essential Swift coding concepts that can be built upon. You might not get as much technical knowledge or be able to build crazy apps (yet), but if you want to close the distance between your knowledge and the mystery of teaching kids to code then it’s a good place to start.

____________________

Apple’s approach to teaching Swift in the Introduction course is full of mini-narratives and analogies that compare coding concepts to everyday scenarios, like dressing up in the morning or tying your shoelaces. Translating technical terms into everyday scenarios can help teachers speak confidently about coding concepts and deliver programming lessons that are relevant to their students. The examples used in the exercises also provide inspiration for activities that can  be adjusted even for the younger half of k-12.

This is from Lesson 7: BoogieBot

Why not develop simple algorithms with younger students by defining a series of dance steps for BoogieBot! Introduce command in a game of Simon Says or Hokey Pokey.  You can adjust BoogieBot for a computer-less lesson and use students’ bodies or a puppet. For older students, you can start to teach them how to write and read simple functions and get them to follow the steps in a real life BoogieBot dance off😆

This exercise is from Lesson 15: Structs.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 1.55.19 PM

Classroom Daydreammmm…

Awesome teacher👩‍🏫: “Today we are going to do an exercise to practice creating types. On each of your table is an item” (i.e. bringing a real shoe, a yoyo, a cookie, whatever!). With your partner you’re going to brainstorm some of the properties you item might have. Write them on this giant piece of paper.”

Awesome students:⁉️💭💬✍️🤗🤗⁉️💭💬

Awesome teacher👩‍🏫: “Now let’s use one colour to circle the properties that would remain constant (let) and another colour to circle the properties that could change (var)?”

Awesome students:⁉️💭💬✍️🤗🤗⁉️💭💬

Awesome teacher👩‍🏫: “Let’s use the struct syntax and write out some code based on what you have discussed and written down”…

Comparing Language to Language:

The Introduction course adds a lot of useful analogies to our teaching toolkit🛠, and one of the most popular comparisons made is between programming language and the English language. For beginners I think this is a useful way for students to become familiar with the syntax of writing basic Swift.

The screenshot below is from Lesson 14: Arrays and Loops. I added some “English translations” of the code that are written in green and marked as comments (//). This is a simple snippet but its just an example of the way often Swift can read like a normal sentence.

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 4.34.28 PM.png

Just as we write in English to communicate, code communicates as well. For instance, if you’re an app developer, you communicate with different elements of the code, you might communicate with other developers working on the same app, you might also have to adjust something you wrote a year ago so hopefully you’ve been clear! I really like the idea of comparing (and contrasting) computer and human languages (unfortunately I’m limited to only English), I feel like it could inspire hot classroom discussions and trigger some critical thinking.

This example is from Lesson 6: Functions. I know this wasn’t efficient but I thought this would be a cool exercise to integrate with discussions of poetry in the classroom. For me, Kendrick Lamar’s HUMBLE. was the most recent song had I listened to and that’s why this happened hah..but maybe you’d choose something with less cursing for the classroom😅

HUMBLE.printstatements

HUMBLE.function.png

Final thoughts:

When Alex first told me he was going to create a mobile app, I think that was the first time I ever thought about what that meant. For a second I naively imagined someone just dragging a bunch of floating images and buttons onto an iPhone screen and somehow things would just work? Of course, once I really thought about it, it didn’t make sense..but then I realized I never really thought about it. I never stopped to think about how big ideas are brought into existence. I never saw that as much as we are manipulated and evolved by the capabilities of our computers and phones, our influence on technology is and should always be reciprocal and meaningful. We can help students explore these questions earlier.

“Technology has a language. It’s called code.”

Apple Education. “Intro to App Development with Swift.” Apple Inc. – Education, 2017. iBooks. https://itun.es/ca/YNQgib.l

#PDforlife👩‍🏫

-Kristina

 

Been thinkin’. tech+ed and in between

“Education depends on what teachers do in their classrooms, and what teachers do in their classrooms is shaped by who they are, what they believe” –Intrator, Sam


“Advocacy for teachers’ professional autonomy is equivalent to advocacy for students; passionate, creative, engaged teachers are what is best for students.” –Teaching the Way We Aspire to Teach: Now and in the Future

I’ve been thinking.

If it were only about learning to code for me I don’t think I’d have started this blog, and in the same way I agree with the sentiments of Anil Dash when he wrote on Medium, “it’s more than just ‘teach kids to code’“.

Digital literacy skills and technology use in the classroom is no longer a question but a fact, People for Education reported that 79% of Ontario schools they studied were beginning to use computers for learning as early as Kindergarten.  It’s becoming more clear to me that the issue isn’t will we need to teach it, but rather it demands deeper reflection to ensure that while we teach digital skills, we do it with intent.

For me the appeal of ed-tech comes mainly from the promise that new technology is “disruptive” 😈. What I mean by this is that like any other industry it touches, innovative technology can change the education game drastically and hopefully for the better. Technology can be used as a tool to alleviate inequities in classroom learning experiences and give access to better opportunities in the future by supporting the learning of currently underrepresented identities in tech/STEM from a young age✌️❤️.

Type in a web search for ed-tech blogs or read this list and you’ll see that there are inspirational educators who are making this happen in their classroom, schools, and local/global communities. There are also some amazing organizations and initiatives that exist to support this goal:

👏#ladieslearningtocode and #girlslearningtocode are dedicated to equipping women and youth with technical skills (fyi. even when they are performing well in subject like mathematics, women are still less likely than men to choose STEM programs (StatsCan, 2015).)

👏Blackgirlscode wants to equip African American female youths with skills they’ll need for future success in STEM careers.

👏 Rumie is providing digital education across borders so that youth from underserved communities have greater opportunities to learn.

👏The Centre for Distance Learning and Innovation (CDLI) is a successful virtual school that makes learning from Department of Education approved courses accessible for rural students in Newfoundland and Labrador.

👏 Assistive technology has transformed Special Education for learners and educators, but these tools can be used to accommodate all types of learner needs ( cool, huh?). I’m user and a fan of Apple’s iOS assistive tech.

I honestly believe most teachers recognize diverse needs and want to be able to support all their students.

“Teachers are faced with classrooms that are far from homogeneous; individual differences and a unique set of needs that students bring to the learning environment represent a major challenge for their work. In the teaching to which they aspire, teachers did not express a desire to eliminate this challenge, but recognized the importance of sufficient resources. Many expressed the belief that addressing these differences and meeting the needs of every student is integral to their vision and purpose as a teacher.” –Teaching the Way We Aspire to Teach: Now and in the Future

So say you’re like me, and you’re opening up to teaching using technology as a tool to close gaps and enrich learning. Say you’re already working at a school that has just ordered a bunch of shiny new iPads. How do we do this right, with intent, in our classrooms, schools, school districts?

“As connectivity improves, the digital divide persists in teacher preparation”EdTech: Focus on K–12

“The wide variation in teachers’ use of technology suggests there is an ongoing need for high quality professional devel- opment to help teachers, particularly those who are not ‘dig- ital natives’, use ICT to support learning where appropriate.” –People for Education 

The “digital divide” as we knew it (being the disparity of digital tools amongst different schools/communities) might have changed, but the quality of instruction and teacher tech training is an issue that presents another challenge towards equity in education.

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👩‍🏫 #PDforlife

-Kristina

Intro to App Development with Swift (Lesson 1-5) & Scaffolding

So far I’ve completed 5 lessons and created my first simple app following Apple’s  “Intro to App Development with Swift”. I’m thrilled with my little accomplishments💪.

Lesson 1 is nice and easy, it gives you an intro to Playground, the platform in Xcode that lets you play with code. You can experiment with the tidbits of code you learn throughout the lessons and problem-solve errors. Playground also has a nifty results bar that you become accustomed to watching update while you write…don’t get attached 😔. In lesson 4 I learned that this feature is not a real part of the coding experience and p.s. actual Xcode is much more intimidating 😱 …But we don’t need to worry about that for now.

Below you can see come of the different features of Playground, including the results bar on the right side and the console at the bottom:

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 10.35.49 AM.png

I started my app development journey by playing around with Playground like a calculator, doing simple math expressions and watching the results show up in the results bar (this not shown in the gist below).

The best thing about these lessons is that despite the fact that I have zero programming knowledge, tasks have been designed very well to scaffold learning👏. I’ll give an example:

In Lesson 2 I began by solving a word problem where I had to update the data for the number of animals in a pet show. Easy enough, I was just filling in numbers and again using Playground as a calculator (keep in mind again that the results show up in the results bar in Playground).

My imaginary classroom dialogue…
Awesome Student👱‍♀️: “but it takes too much effort to update every single part..what’s the point? There must be a better way”
Awesome Teacher 👩‍🏫 : “you’re right, Awesome Student, let’s find a better way. What kind of thing do you think should happen?” (Awesome Teacher then introduces new terminology and how they can be more efficient by declaring constants):

The parts of lessons are structured and explained so that they build upon and enrich understanding. You’re given accomplishable tasks to support your current level, room to question/fail/explore in Playground, and opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills 👩👊.

Here’s another example with an actual dialogue between Alex and myself while I’m working on Lesson 3:

🙎‍♂️ Alex (looking over my shoulder at line 12): “Um…I don’t think you should do it like that. You should use string interpolation.”
👩 Me: “Wait, let me just do it this way first. I bet you the next slide will show me what you’re talking about…”
Next next slide: String Interpolation
👩 Me: “Seee?! Now I can appreciate this interpolation stuff”

“I like sushi because it is num nums”…truth 🍣 ❤️


“Computers and programmers have a history of changing the world, from computers the size of a room to the 32 kg computer that guided the first moon landing to the millions of mobile devices people carry in their ​
pockets every day. During that history, programmers have participated in ​
a fun tradition—a sort of ceremony that welcomes all new coders to the world of programming.

Now that you’ve had a chance to write some code, it’s time to get set up ​
for that tradition.”-Excerpt From: Apple Education. “Intro to App Development with Swift.” Apple Inc. – Education, 2017. iBooks. https://itun.es/ca/YNQgib.l (Lesson 4)

In Lesson 4 I got to experience going without the results bar and was introduced to the console. I participated in tradition and I got to print command the inaugural string of code, saying “Hello, World” to the programming world! 😁🙌 I was told to go ahead and take a selfie with my screen, and so I did!

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“YAY!”

Lesson 5 is when I got to create my first app project in Xcode. As I mentioned before, Xcode is a more intimidating place but it turned out just fine in the end. I really think it’ll just be a matter of practice. I’ll share my project in my next post.

For now, some thoughts 🤔…

I’m feeling pretty good about all of this.  I’m understanding more why teaching students to code is not only an important part of 21st century education but I think all hesitant teachers might feel relief to learn what I have begun to, that coding skills compliment a lot of what we already teach, such as math sequencing and patterning skills or the ability to use language effectively like when defining constants.

As a result of this new learning investment, I also find myself Googling like crazy to find more resources related to coding in the classroom. I’ll probably end up writing about this at some point but I wanted to share the following paragraph. I came across a list of coding apps for kids and eventually found ScratchJr, an introductory programming language for young kids backed by MIT, and I really dig the developers’ stance on teaching coding:

“Coding (or computer programming) is a new type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thinking and express your ideas, the same is true for coding. In the past, coding was seen as too difficult for most people. But we think coding should be for everyone, just like writing.
As young children code with ScratchJr, they learn how to create and express themselves with the computer, not just to interact with it. In the process, children learn to solve problems and design projects, and they develop sequencing skills that are foundational for later academic success. They also use math and language in a meaningful and motivating context, supporting the development of early-childhood numeracy and literacy.” – SratchJr (download the free ScratchJr app)

Computer programming=new age literacy😲🗯 🌋

“I’m so computer illiterate”–ever heard someone say that? Maybe in the past, but not so much anymore. It seems like more children begin to learn how to use smartphones and tablets at a young age (even if its just learning how to take a selfie with mommy or play games on daddy’s iPhone). Children are already becoming computer literate; they begin to communicate with computers, pressing commands, swiping right and left, getting a response. So how do we push this literacy development further? When students develop literacy skills for reading and writing we want them to also acquire critical thinking and communication skills. Therefore, if computer programming is literacy, then learning to code will also help students understand how and why a computer communicates and will allow them to respond in critical and creative ways.

Feeling excited too? Why not learn with me😉!

-Kristina

Learning a New Language

For the past few years I’ve been backing the use of technology in classrooms of both younger and older students. It seems the teaching world is shedding the stigma around students owning their own cellphones and finally accepting reality. We are beginning to teach students how to communicate with technology in a meaningful way; to create, rather than simply becoming more snap-chatting, angry-bird flinging users.

So why am I learning to code?
I need to put my money where my mouth is. I’m a believer in ed-tech but among the wave of resources that have come out in the last few years, I feel liked I’ve just dipped my toes in the pool. If I believe teachers should teach skills like coding, and if I believe that even young school students can start learning to code, then it is time to turn this idea into a reality. I’m putting myself up to the challenge and learning a programming language: Swift (for iOS, OS X, watchOS and tvOS).

Why now? Why Swift?
About a year ago I picked up a beginner’s guide to programming and I was told “it will be confusing but just power through it”. As a complete newbie to the world of computer languages I was discouraged by the terminology, I felt like my brain wasn’t wired to handle this type of learning and I gave up.

Recently, I  found Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” series on iBooks (free to download). My familiarity with Apple hardware and software is the main reason why I chose Swift. Plus, as a teacher I appreciated Apple’s attention to education and there already exists tons of resources (like this one) on Apple’s website and in iTunes if you do some digging. I decided to give it another shot and I’m hoping that Apple’s approach to teaching Swift will be easier to understand.

As an added bonus, it also helps that I live with my very own Swift “Ask Siri”. Alex has been using Swift to create iOS apps for for years, and now he does this for a living. He also began with no computer science background, but he did a ton of his own research, ordered a bunch of heavy old books off Amazon, and fought his way through the learning curve until he became a pretty damn good iOS developer. He says that if he had resources like the ones available now, his learning experience at the beginning could have been a lot easier.

My goal?
I don’t intend on becoming a programmer, I’m more interested about the process of learning this new skill from someone with no computer science background; someone who barely knows HTML. I’m going to be writing about my experience as a learner while also thinking about the ways in which this resource can be used in a classroom. I’ll start with the tools I have on hand and go from there…:)

Want to learn with me? Here are the resources I’m starting with:

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1. My MacBook with the updated OS (Sierra).
2. Apple’s “Everyone Can Code” series available free on the iBooks Store. I don’t know how many of them I’ll actually use but I’ve downloaded all 8. The Swift Playgrounds books look really interesting because  they seem geared towards younger learners, using the Playground iPad app to provide an even more interactive “touch” approach to teaching and learning Swift. Sounds cool, I’ll check them out later.Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 6.50.58 PM.png
For now I’m using the Teacher and Student Guide for “Intro to App Development with Swift” in order to have a better understanding of how it would be applied in a classroom setting.
3. Xcode 8, where all the magic will happen.
4. Playground project files for Apple’s “App Development Curriculum” (downloadable link on the “Getting Started” Page in the “Intro to App Development” book.
5. A notebook/the Notes app for my “app journaling”.
6. A GitHub account. I had no idea what to do with this but Alex insisted I’d need it. I did the 10 minute tutorial on the website and it gave me a pretty nice overview. Below you’ll see I’ve used the Gist feature:)

The first thing you learn in a new language is “hello”, right?

-Kristina