Creative Technology

5 Vidcode Projects That Have Taught us About Science

Guest blog post by our summer intern Olivia, a rising senior at Marymount.

1). This first Vidcode project, coded by Candace Miller, teaches students about the digestive system in a fun and simple way. Great job, Candace!

2). This second Vidcode project, coded by Olivia Miller, allows viewers to see what the sun may look like in space. Since we cannot actually go to space and observe the motion of planets and of the sun, it is great to see animations of them online when studying astronomy. Great job, Olivia!

outer space coding project

3). This third Vidcode project, coded by the Earth Guys, gives us tips on how to minimize our environmental impact. Great job, Earth Guys!

climate change coding project

4). This fourth Vidcode project, coded by Vidcoder, shows us all that global warming is a serious issue which must be stopped.  If we do not take measures to prevent global warming
from happening, the earth will burn one day. Great job, Vidcoder for bringing awareness to global warming in such a clear way!

global warming computational thinking


5). This fifth Vidcode project, coded by Vidcoder, brings awareness to global warming once again. Given that there are multiple projects on global warming, maybe it is a sign that we should start doing something as soon as possible to prevent global warming from continuing! Great job on your project, Vidcoder!

global warming coding project

Teaching Students to Code at the 92Y

Starting in the summer of 2015 and continuing through 2016-17, New York’s 92nd Street Y teamed with Vidcode to introduce the educational tool to local children with a passion for technology as part of their workshop program.  While aimed at younger students, many adult teachers were quickly grateful for the fun lessons that they, too, are able to take part in.

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“Personally, I am always looking for ways to use technology creatively,” said Kelly Saxton, an educator who oversaw the Vidcode classes.  “Any time you give students a voice, or an opportunity for self-expression, the learning outcome is incredible.  If, for example, you enable a student to learn through creating something from their own mind, they will retain that information easier and stronger.  It immediately becomes more real, eliminating the drudgery and replacing it with creativity – and I love that.  With Vidcode, that esthetic was at work, and I think that the kids gravitated towards learning [the coding programs] because of it.”

   
The Vidcode summer intensive workshop launched less one year after Vidcode became available.  Educators associated with the camp were immediately drawn to the app’s functions and quickly joined forces to meet their own initiatives: teaching Javascript, “the "language of the web," through creative video projects.  Located on Lexington Avenue in the heart of New York City, the week-long intensive was comprised of five core lessons – and was successful enough that the organizers again teamed with Vidcode the following year.

“The 92Y already offered other creative programs, such as comic art and sculpture,” Saxton continued.  “But Vidcode offered something unlike we had ever had before. I had been teaching digital media for some time and was excited to try their ‘pre-existing framework,’” which you could then turn into anything you’d like, for myself. The students immediately loved the Vidcode modules which showed how animation works, and proved to be an amazing introduction for the kids to learn code.”

Vidcode’s learning curve is primarily based on teaching Javascript in a fun, game-like way.  The app’s state-of-the-art interface teaches the Javascript coding language through lessons built around creative art projects.  Once viewed as a sophisticated and difficult tech language to comprehend, Javascript is instantly demystified by Vidcode’s unique program initiatives – creating video filters, JavaScript libraries, and HTML5 to control how each user’s video will look.  

By playfully creating music videos, short animation clips, and movie special effects, kids and adults alike instantly pick up the skills needed to learn sophisticated coding practices. All of the young students who participated in the workshops stated that their favorite elements of Vidcode’s the user-friendly modules included movie-making, stop-motion animation, and the opportunity to instantly view their final projects in the app’s interface.  

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Thanks to the program, all of the students walked away from the experience, eager to learn more advanced techniques in coding and application creation.  


“The kids were able to understand pretty sophisticated concepts immediately,” Saxton added.  “Normally, it would take a little while for anyone to learn the syntax and more-advanced technology of coding and animation, but with Vidcode, they were hands-on and able to create things within in minutes.  I thought that it could even be an amazing learning tool for adults, as well.”


As an education tool, the young students – all of whom were novices in the world of coding and digital creation – quickly learned such necessities as variables, arrays, and various application functions, while retaining the advanced information due to Vidcode’s almost video-game like appeal.  

Make a Pokemon Augmented Reality Game

The Pokemon Augmented Reality Game Builder is live! Anyone can create a game and watch their friends and family try to beat the high score. Even if you've never built a game before, the tutorial will walk you through it step by step.

 
 

Once you're done, share your project and visit the Gallery to get inspired by the games other creators have built! 

Vidcode Takes CES 2016 on the Diversity Spotlight Stage!

The first week of January tech took over Las Vegas as the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show came into town. The Vidcode team came to Vegas with the rest of the techies, as the Diversity Spotlight presentation at the Intel booth! 

Vidcode co-founders Allie and Melissa, experiencing a virtual reality roller coaster at CES 2016!

Vidcode co-founders Allie and Melissa, experiencing a virtual reality roller coaster at CES 2016!

Laina, an eighth-grader and talented Vidcode user, ran the presentation. Laina is an artist, and loves painting, drawing and playing her cello. As a student in middle school, her favorite subjects are math and science.

She was so excited when she found Vidcode, a platform she could use to combine her artistic and technical interests. She used Vidcode to create a computer vision project, using code she wrote herself and a video she had filmed. 

A coding tool for high school girls

Laina presented her beautiful computer vision project on stage alongside Vidcode co-founders Allie and Melissa. "I'm shocked that I learned a new skill through something I love, and it was exciting to see what goes on behind my favorite apps," said Laina after showing the crowd what she had made.

Watch the entire presentation below.

Creating Art in the Virtual (Reality) World

This year, Vidcode went to the Intel Developer Forum and had a blast seeing all the amazing things that makers and artists were creating with new technology!

Of course we also made sure to check out all the new technology we could, and were so excited when we stumbled on virtual reality that let us draw all around us, creating beautiful glowing art out of nothing in an empty virtual room.

Source: www.tiltbrush.com

Source: www.tiltbrush.com

We were using the HTC Vive headset, which comes with controllers and sensors that let you move around freely in virtual space, and draw anything you want around and above you. One of the Vidcoders wrote her name all around her, another drew a room full of rainbows and falling leaves. 

HTC Vive virtual reality art drawing

 

The Future of Storytelling created a video showing Glen Keane, the former Disney animator behind 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Aladdin', using this same virtual reality technology to make his 2-dimensional characters come to life around him.

 

Disney drawing with virtual reality HTC Vive

“When I animate there’s a frustration I have, wishing that the flatness of the paper would go away and that I could actually dive in,” says Keane. “Today all the rules have changed. By putting tools in your hand that can create in virtual reality, I can put goggles on and I just step into the paper, and now I’m drawing in it.”

In the video below, produced by The Future of Story Telling, Keane tries out this new way to create art and tell stories through technology — and what he creates is out of this world.

What the Vidcode staff is up to: ITP Camp

Sometimes we'll be writing updates about what the people behind Vidcode are doing outside of work!

During June Leandra, the Vidcode designer, spent the month learning, tinkering and building at ITP Camp. Read about her experience, and what she's bringing back to Vidcode from what she learned.

 

ITP Camp was an absolutely incredible experience. I attended workshops on creating audio visualizations with P5, user testing, creating bowls out of mycelia and making hanging plants, and ran sessions on using sketch and animating svgs with css!

Taken at the end of the 'Using Sketch' workshop, when everyone illustrated blue unicorn logos! I was frowning to match the unicorn.

Taken at the end of the 'Using Sketch' workshop, when everyone illustrated blue unicorn logos! I was frowning to match the unicorn.

Camp was a playground, with so many toys that I didn't even get to half of them. I spent a lot of my time playing with the laser cutter, I was absolutely blown away seeing things I made in Photoshop and Illustrator enter the physical world.

laser cut jewelry
laser cut illustration

 

What I was able to bring back to my work at Vidcode from the experience, was an understanding of the world of creative coding and the communities around creative coding that exist. Processing has been around since 2001! I had been working with Vidcode with the goal of getting people excited about learning to code through creative projects, but I definitely didn't understand the amazing ecosystem that that work is a part of. 

One of many Processing sketches I made while at camp

One of many Processing sketches I made while at camp

I'm already working on creating new Vidcode lessons around the creative coding technologies I was exposed to during my month of camp, be on the lookout for new lessons in the fall!