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Apple’s Swift Student Challenge to open in February 2024 with new Distinguished Winners category

Apple’s Swift Student Challenge to open in February 2024 with new Distinguished Winners category

Apple’s Swift Student Challenge is slated to open its digital doors once again in February 2024, this time with a fresh accolade: a new category for 50 Distinguished Winners, earmarked for those whose submissions are particularly exceptional.

The enthusiasm for coding and app development extends beyond the tech sector, with a sweeping majority of students recognising these skills as indispensable. A survey conducted by YPulse in September, encompassing over a thousand American students, unveiled some compelling figures: 92% of students perceive learning to code as important, while a slightly higher percentage see coding as a critical skill for the future job market. These students are not just focused on personal growth; they are acutely aware of the broader impact of coding proficiency, from bolstering creativity to addressing global challenges.

Despite this enthusiasm, a gap remains between aspiration and action. While 85% of students expressed a desire to learn coding, nearly half admitted to being at a loss on where to begin. Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app strides into this breach, offering a robust platform that guides learners from the basics to the more complex facets of building apps in Swift, accessible on both iPad and Mac.

Apple’s educational efforts do not exist in isolation. On the contrary, they are part of a concerted effort that involves educators across the globe. New resources like the Everyone Can Code Projects provide educators with a structured approach to imparting app development skills. Take Tina Lewis, a life sciences teacher, and Apple Learning Coach from Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama for example. After teaching herself to code using Swift Playgrounds, she has successfully spearheaded a coding club, with one of her students participating in the 2022 Swift Student Challenge – a testament to the ripple effect of empowered educators.

In addition to working with educators worldwide, Apple supports educational partners in 99 countries and regions through its Community Education Initiative, such as the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). NC3 provides hands-on professional development opportunities to prepare community and technical college and high school instructors to teach App Development with Swift. This year, the organisation is committing to helping more students than ever submit their app projects for the Swift Student Challenge in 2024.

“The Swift Student Challenge is a stepping stone for young talent, and we're building a pathway for their success,” said Roger Tadajewski, NC3’s executive director. “App Development with Swift training equips faculty with the skills to guide students, fostering an environment where curiosity is celebrated, creativity is encouraged, and every idea is given the opportunity to flourish.”

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