- Apple is expanding its move into education through a partnership with Chicago's public schools. The city will offer Apple's Learn to Code program to K-12 students in the Chicago Public Schools system, and to community college students, according to PC Magazine and others.
- The program will teach nearly 500,000 students about Swift, which is Apple's programming language and the preferred way to build iOS apps.
- Schools will begin offering the coding education next spring.
Chicago's public school system is one of the largest and most racially diverse in the country. The nation's third-largest city also is made up of many economically diverse neighborhoods. Launching a coding program in public schools brings a computer science opportunity to thousands of students who otherwise would not be exposed to such a non-traditional, technological educational measure.
The move certainly benefits Apple as well, because the company can grow its workforce base by offering the coding knowledge to large groups of new potential candidates. Chicago's diverse student populations likely have fresh ideas that Apple can tap into when searching for new developers to create apps for its products. It's a proactive move that could lead to an influx of new recruits, instead of Apple having to wait around for newly graduated candidates who may or may not have taken coding classes in school. It also could help Apple push past the tech industry stereotypes of a lack of diversity in both race and gender.
The community colleges will offer a full-year curriculum to teach students how to design apps by using Swift. As of right now, it's unclear exactly how extensively the education will be incorporated into K-12 classrooms next year. But to begin, the public schools will launch after-school Swift Coding Clubs for students to learn the basics of the programming language. It's also unclear which K-12 schools in the district will be the first to roll out the coding education. If this is done in an equitable manner, it could be a huge boost for Chicago's educational system, especially during a time when it's struggling with scandals and funding issues.