Saturday Kids – Swift Programming

Date:  Nov 29, 2016

This school holidays, I sent both Jay & Kay together in a same class to learn Apple’s Swift Programming @ Saturday Kids.

Swift is the programming language created by Apple so that people can use it to create Apple Apps.

This is how I teach the kids.  If you create the Apple Apps, you can sell it on the Apps store.  If your App is popular, people will buy it.  Hence, you can make money.

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So, after I made the introduction to the kids, and Kay Kay simply says “Yes.  OK”.  So, Kay who is 7 years old wanted to learn how to program in Swift.

So, I wrote to Saturday Kids, and explain the situations to them.  And since they already familiar with both Jay and Kay during the Scratch programming class last mid-year holidays, they happily allow Kay who is 7 years old to take part in the course.  As you can see above, the recommended age is 10-15 years old.

In my view, the earlier they learn how to program, the easier they will grasp the idea.  And they might use it to solve day to day problems.  Both Jay and Kay was sent to learn Robotics (i.e. Lego Mindstorms) as early as 6 years old.  So, they already familiar with “programming”.  And after went to Scratch programming class, they are actually experts in these GUI type of programming environment.

So, now it is time to break the graphical programming method into the “wordings” programming or text programming.  See how they can handle it.

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Apple actually created a Swift Playground app for kids to solve puzzle and at the same time learn the Swift language itself.  It has quite a nice interface for kids to drop text in the sand box area to try out the Swift programming.

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It is good to have a older siblings so that they can both learn together and help each other.

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It is problem solving and learning the language at the same time.  Your task is to move the character around to toggle switch and collect gems.  And you need to write almost “real codes” to do so.  Here is a sample of easy questions.

Notice that the number of gems and switch as well as the locations are constantly change and your code will have to be smart enough to solve it.

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Kids have to learn the commands and write the functions.  Wow, the concept of functions were taught at very early stage.

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Then, they learn how to solve problem with For Loops.  Where you already know how many gems to collect or switches to toggle.

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Then, they have to learn the conditional code.  i.e. If, Else If and Else.  And learn where and when to use them.  So, they also need to learn the logical operator, such as && (AND), || (OR) or ! (NOT).

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Then, they will learn the While Loops.  At some point, nested while loops.  The concept is hard to grasp but the kids did just fine.

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Lastly, the Algorithms to solve problem.  How do you write so many codes and make them interact together and solve problem.

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Once they have done that, I am sure they will need to write a small program to show the parent.

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So, after this course, they will be familiar with this kind of coding method.

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Every new lesson, they will teach new concept with animations to illustrate the ideas.

It gets harder and harder.  How do you program the cartoon character to move and collect gems and toggle switches???

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So, you write codes to solve them.

And I solved the hardest puzzle.  Although not elegant, but it does the job!

And now the two kids really worship me as I know how to solve the puzzle.  hahahahaha

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Me and the kids are really geeks.

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