STEM Education

Apple to Add 50 Distinguished Winners Category to Annual Swift Student Coding Challenge

For its 2024 Swift Student Challenge, opening in February, Apple has announced it will add a special category called 50 Distinguished Winners, who will be named for outstanding submissions.

The challenge has been held since 2020, with students using the professional programming language Swift to create apps. Apple's Swift Playgrounds app was developed to introduce learners to coding and allow them to create their first app on iPad or Mac.

The company has been working with educators globally to teach Swift Playgrounds. It has also developed four new Everyone Can Code Projects to help teachers guide students through coding and app development. The projects can be integrated into any subject area and introduce students to SwiftUI, which builds interfaces with little coding involved but uses app techniques found in Swift Playgrounds. As students work, they can see how the app changes in real time with App Preview.

The four new projects, which can be created on iPad or Mac, are:

  • Design a Simple App: Creating in Keynote, students learn the basics of app design, rapid prototyping, and collecting feedback, just as professional developers do.
  • Build with Stacks and Shapes: With user interface design in Swift Playgrounds, students can build an app and code a self-portrait or artwork.
  • Build Custom Shapes: Using SwiftUI and the AboutMe sample app, students can design a custom shape and plot coordinates.
  • Design an App Icon: Students can create an app icon to communicate an idea, practice rapid prototyping, collect feedback, and upload the icon to Swift Playgrounds to be included in an app.

These new projects are available in the Apple Education Community, where educators can find resources for teaching Swift Playgrounds. Version 4.4 is available now and includes support for Swift 5.9, and software development kits for iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma.

Students can sign up here to be notified when the Swift Student Challenge will open. The challenge submission window will be open for three weeks in February.

The company said that out of 350 overall winners, "the 50 Distinguished Winners will be invited to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California, next summer, where they'll have the opportunity to connect with each other and the Apple team. All winners will receive a one-year membership into the Apple Developer Program, which enables them to submit apps to the App Store and receive support from Apple."

"At Apple, we believe that everyone can learn to code and build apps, and we're proud to support and recognize aspiring student developers with the Swift Student Challenge each year," said Susan Prescott, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations and Education & Enterprise Marketing. "We can't wait to see the app playgrounds students submit next year."

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.