Apple has been granted a patent (number 10,929,008) for a “touch-based interactive learning environment” that shows that it wants to further entrench iPads in school and educational settings as it has with Swift Playgrounds.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that learning how to program a computer to perform tasks from a textbook can be challenging for many students. To learn how to code quickly, a student will often write code, compile the code, and execute the code on a computer to see if they get the expected results. If the results are unexpected, the student will “debug” the code, compile the code, and execute the compiled code on the computer again.
Apple says this learning process can be frustrating to students due to the delay between writing, compiling, and executing the code and seeing the results. The tech giant says that most students would prefer to see the results in near real-time in an interactive learning environment.
The use of touched-based tablet computers in classrooms is becoming ubiquitous due to their portable nature and ease of use. Writing programming constructs using touch gestures presents a new challenge to designers of user interfaces for touch-based computers. Apple wants to overcome such challenges.
Here’s the summary of the patent: “In an example method, a device presents a user interface on a touch sensitive surface of the device. The user interface includes a first portion for displaying a sequence of code and a second portion for displaying suggested segments of code. The device receives one or more character inputs in the first portion of the user interface, and determines, based on the one or more character inputs, one or more suggested segments of code. The device presents the one or more suggested segments of code in the second portion of the user interface, and receives a touch input selecting a particular suggested segment of code. The device inserts the selected suggested segment of code into the first portion of the user interface.”