2014 - Swift 1.0: Improvising
I started teaching Swift in the 2014-2015 school just months after the release of Swift 1.0. At the time Swift Playgrounds existed only in Xcode 6 on the Mac. The students in my school district all have an iPad so I had to come up with a way for them to code in Swift on an iPad. I decided to write an iTunes U course and made the Swift files plain, text files so that students could copy the text and paste the text into Notability or Apple Notes. Students were then able to write the Swift code on their iPad devices. The problem was that while the students were technically able to code on their iPads, the Swift code would not compile on their iPads. Instead, my students had to AirDrop me their text files so that I could copy that text and paste it into a Swift Playground on my MacBook Air. This was not an ideal set up, but it worked well for us given the hardware and software we had at the time.
2015 - Swift 2.0 and the IBM Swift Sandbox
The teaching situation got better in the 2015-2016 school year with Swift 2.0 and with IBM introducing an online Swift compiler: the IBM Swift Sandbox. IBM's initiative enabled students to copy the code from the text file in iTunes U, paste it right into the online compiler in a web browser, finish the exercise, and then see the code compile directly on their own iPad devices. This was a huge step forward as students were able to work at their own pace, on their own time, and discover the joy of coding in Swift on a device they had readily available to them.
2016 - Swift 3.0 and the Swift Playgrounds app
The Swift Sandbox improved my ability to deliver a good learning experience for my students; however, that improvement does not even compare to what I am able to do now with the Swift Playgrounds app for iPad, the Learn to Code 1, 2, & 3 curriculum, and the App Development with Swift curriculum. These are amazing materials that the Apple Education and Engineering teams have created! And all of it at no additional cost. My students are now engaged, challenged, and learning Swift at a much higher level because of the immersive, deep-dive into the Swift language that they are doing because of these new materials. I cannot wait to see what we materials Apple will create next to help teachers educate the next generation of coders/computer programmers/computer scientists.