Apple Turns Retail Stores Into Coding Camps

How does one get devices into the hands of the next generation, and build brand loyalty before people are aware of brands? Well, for Apple, two words will just about sum it up: summer camp.

Summer camp is not exactly a new offering at Apple stores in the summertime, though this year will feature an expanded lineup of Camp Apple sessions, including courses that will teach some 101 coding skills to 8-12 year olds.

Those classes will focus on the use of software from Tynker to help kids get the fundamentals of block-based coding. The three-day program will also offer students an opportunity to design Sphero robots. Classes are small, intentionally, and capped at 12 or so students.

The move this summer follows on recent initiatives to build and develop the next generation of developers, and to make sure they are good and enthused to design for Apple. During WWDC, Apple rolled out a new iPad app called Swift Playgrounds designed to help kids learn to design in Swift.

But that app is for bigger kids (12 and up). This camp experience is apparently to get them on the runway that leverages Tynker’s learning software into an intro to coding concepts.

Apple Camps aren't the whole-day experience normally denoted by the terms. They are 90-minute learning sessions where parents stay nearby in the store and can see what their kids are learning, or get some extra training on child-proofing their own devices.

Previous camps have focused on iBook and iMovie training.

Courses are free, but first come, first serve. Class sizes are capped and can tend to fill up fast. All in, 60,000 kids are expected to participate in Apple Camp this year.

But only some of those kids will get a crack at coding camp, as only stores in the U.S., U.K., Canada and greater China will have them on offer. Elsewhere in the world another class will fill in for the session during the last week in July.



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