Apple Teacher #5: Productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds

In our final look at the Apple Teacher Starter Guides and how they can be used to upskill staff to help them plan engaging lessons with iPad and Mac, we’re focusing on productivity, creativity and coding with Swift Playgrounds.

Enhancing Productivity Apple Teacher Guide

The Enhancing Productivity with iPad and Enhancing Productivity with Mac guides and badges could be completed either before or after the App guides. The book focuses on student productivity, and is broken down into four sections: Productivity fundamentals, Getting organised, Planning and sharing, and Documenting and reflecting.

We really like the ‘Organising a research paper’ activity and the vocabulary flashcards. It’s a great way to introduce the skill of referencing, which students will need to get used to if they go on to study the Extended Project Qualification or go to university after sixth form. The flashcards are a great and effective revision tool for students of all ages, as the content can be fully customised for the ability of the student, and personalised to them. There are links to other iBooks at the back of the guide that will give staff and students further information on how Apple technologies can make you more productive.

Fostering Creativity Apple Teacher Guide

The Fostering Creativity with iPad guide is all about initiating those creative juices, and is the perfect one to leave until last. You’ll know how to use all of the Apple apps on your iPad and Mac by this stage in your Apple Teacher journey, and will be one badge away from becoming an Apple Teacher. Fostering Creativity starts with the fundamentals of the creative process in learning, taking in brainstorming, gathering inspirational resources and, finally, telling compelling stories.

The ‘Reflect on family history’ activity, which uses Pages, Photo Booth (Mac)/Camera (iPad) and iMovie, is great for a simple app smash (combining apps together in one final piece of work). Not only does this develop local history knowledge, it can bring the whole family and school community into a student’s learning. By the end of the guide, you’ll be thinking of new possibilities to use iPad in your classroom.

Swift Playgrounds Teacher Guide

The Everyone Can Code series developed by Apple is a comprehensive, high quality and free set of resources that covers the entire curriculum from year 1 through to year 13. If students follow this programming language all of the way through to the end of sixth form, they will be working with industry standard development tools and be coding in a language that has been used to create apps such as Airbnb, LinkedIn and Eventbrite.

Swift Playgrounds is a block-based coding app (simply drag and drop a short piece of code or instructions) that has a full set of lessons and resources that can be downloaded, used and customised by teachers. For some activities, they also have possible answers which can be revealed (don’t tell the students!). You access them all from the teacher guide in the iBooks Store, and all of the lessons and challenges are mapped against the UK National Curriculum.

Additional support

Regional Training Centres hold a big event every year that are designed to support and inspire your iPad and Mac journeys. If you want additional support for Swift Playgrounds, then you might want to look at iTunes U. Apple Education have created an iTunes U course that is perfect for teachers learning how to code. It follows the Learn to Code 1 and 2 guides and is an excellent course to follow if you want that bit of extra support from home.

Next steps with Jigsaw24

Fostering Creativity introduces the concept of ‘app smashing’ (combining apps for learning), and to ensure this high quality learning is tracked and the progress is highly visible, we would recommend using Showbie. Our course The Paperless Classroom: Showbie upskills your staff to make sure app smashing and progress work seamlessly together.

The Swift Playgrounds app is an amazing introduction to computer science for Key Stage 2 and 3 students. What makes it perfect for the whole coding curriculum is that it allows third party apps such as Sphero and Parrot’s drones to be used by students for the control unit. If you’re interested in integrating these into your coding curriculum, contact your Jigsaw24 Education Manager for more information.

– Missed our last Apple Teacher article? Catch up on ‘Unexpected ways to use GarageBand and Numbers’ here.

Want to know more about Apple Teacher and iPad in the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 290 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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