Research Study: Student Engagement and Learning with Vidcode

About the Study

In December 2018, Vidcode partnered with WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research agency, to conduct a rigorous study of the Vidcode platform and curriculum’s potential impact on student learning. The goal of the study was to examine changes to student learning and attitudes towards computer science after using Vidcode in the classroom.

For this study, teachers used 10 hours of activities and lesson plans in the Creative Coding 1 course.

Main Takeaways

  • Students’ understanding of CS concepts improved, and teachers felt students could apply what they learned in other programming contexts.

  • Vidcode was highly engaging to students, and appealed to girls as much as it did to boys.

  • Vidcode was successful in reaching students who might not have otherwise tried coding.

  • 88% of students say they enjoy studying computer science using Vidcode.

Study Details

Four classrooms participated in the study. Two served as the treatment group and implemented Vidcode lessons, while two classrooms served as the control group and did not use Vidcode.

 
 

The student pre and post surveys were the same, and included ten multiple choice items measuring knowledge of the following coding concepts: variables, sequencing, loops, incrementation and randomness (the ability to make a range of numbers, such as by indexing arrays). Most items measured knowledge around these coding concepts in the programming language JavaScript. The items measuring knowledge of variables, sequencing and loops were adapted from a researcher-developed content assessment that was piloted, refined and implemented in WestEd’s Computer Science Pedagogical Content Knowledge Research Study.

Outcomes

Students who used Vidcode for 10 hours saw a 20% increase in their understanding of coding loops, variables and sequences, based on the pre and post content assessment, compared to the control group.

Students increased their understanding of loops, variables and sequences after 10 days.

students learned skills that can be applied anywhere

Research data suggests students could take what they’ve learned with Vidcode and apply the concepts in different programming contexts. One teacher said, “I’m sure [students] can go on to other coding programs… With this program they can take it and jump.”

Teachers also felt that through Vidcode, students improved at debugging code. One teacher said: “Everything [students] were learning is like, oh wait, I forgot a semicolon, or wait, I forgot to include the parentheses… They could problem solve themselves and figure out why their code wasn’t working.”

Student Engagement

Qualitative data indicates that students were very engaged using Vidcode and that the platform appealed equally to boys and girls. “The girls were all over it, I was very pleased with the fact that they were equally as interested as the boys seemed to be.”

Teachers reported that the artistic component of Vidcode helped engage girls in their classroom: “I think bringing in that visual part had changed their minds on trying to code. I don’t think a couple of my girls in there would have ever tried coding without that visual part.”

The girls were all over it, I was very pleased with the fact that they were equally as interested as the boys seemed to be.

Vidcode engaged students who weren’t interested in coding

Teachers felt that Vidcode helped increase students’ confidence in their coding abilities and expressed that Vidcode was successful in reaching students who might not have otherwise tried a text-based programming language like JavaScript.

“I have kids say ‘I was afraid of JavaScript at the beginning. I didn’t really want to do that.’ And with Vidcode they’re not afraid of [coding]. And that’s a big deal, for these kids to not be afraid to try another kind of coding.”

With the research conducted with Vidcode and WestEd, teachers saw student understanding of computer science and willingness to code improve.

If you’re interested in learning more about Vidcode’s research or platform, or to learn about how to build your district’s computer science program, get more information or set up a time to talk.