Swift Playgrounds expanding coding education to robots, drones, musical instruments

Apple says that Swift Playgrounds, a free iPad app to teach kids of any age basic coding skills in Swift, will soon offer a new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments. 

Playgrounds is designed to teach basic programming concepts like loops and conditionals using an animated character that the budding programmers direct by writing code. The app offers suggestions for code to be used, and Swift Playgrounds also has a special iOS coding keyboard to ease entry of all of those pesky brackets. Swift Playgrounds is compatible with all iPad Air and iPad Pro models and iPad mini 2 and later running iOS 10 or later.

Apple says it's working with device makers to make it easy to connect to Bluetooth-enabled robots within the Swift Playgrounds app, allowing kids to program and control popular devices, including LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, the Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more. The Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update will be available as a free download on the App Store beginning Monday, June 5, the first day of the annual Apple Worldwide Developer Conference.

“More than one million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” says Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”