Apple has today announced that is launching a new app development curriculum designed to teach students how to start using Swift to create fully functional iPhone apps. The course is available for free on iBooks (plus teacher’s guide) for anyone to download, and builds on the Everyone Can Code series Apple already publishes.

This fall, Apple says six American community colleges will teach the curriculum as well as ‘select high schools’. Apple wants to help more people learn to code and enter the app economy.

Apple says ‘App Development with Swift’ teaches students a solid foundation in programming using Swift.

It features Xcode tutorials and structured lessons about data types, variables and even elements of application design. It includes enough material to be taught across an entire year.

In the first unit, students learn how to create a ‘flashlight’ app where tapping the screen toggles the background color from white to black. The course includes Swift Playgrounds exercises, homework projects and quizzes as well as a teacher guide with solutions, teaching presentations and grading advice.

From this fall, the following colleges will teach the curriculum: Alabama Community College, Columbus State Community College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Houston Community College, Mesa Community College and San Mateo Community College. Apple says that some high schools will also run the course and some local businesses will offer complementary internships and mentoring.

Moreover, Houston Community College is opening a brand new iOS Coding and Design School centred on App Store development. In a statement, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he hopes the new free courses ‘open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds’.

“We’ve seen firsthand the impact that coding has on individuals and the US economy as a whole. The app economy and software development are among the fastest-growing job sectors in America and we’re thrilled to be providing educators and students with the tools to learn coding,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Community colleges play a critical role in helping students achieve their dreams, and we hope these courses will open doors for people of all ages and backgrounds to pursue what they love.”
You can find all of Apple’s free coding materials in a section of the iTunes Store, with resources for both students and teachers. To date, Apple announced over 1 million downloads of Swift Playgrounds and 430,000 downloads of the K-12 Everyone Can Code curriculum. Over 1,000 schools will use Apple’s Everyone Can Code teaching materials in lessons this fall.

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Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.