Learn to Code

Accessibility in Computer Science Education

Adding to the easy-to-use interface, users need only drag and drop their ideas and concepts into the video editor to see their creativity and newly-learned tech skills in action.  Aside from making once-painstakingly difficult concepts simple to understand for a younger demographic, Vidcode’s abilities are further demonstrated by its usage in a special needs educational base.  


“We had tried to offer coding to our students in a few different ways in the past,” said Cristina Ulerio, Program Manager for Tech Kids Unlimited, “but this was the very first time that we used a coding program that also integrated video and was very visual – which is an excellent element for special needs education.  That truly made Vidcode stand out.”

Tech Kids Unlimited is a not-for-profit technology-based educational organization for children ages 7 to 19 with special needs.  Within that spectrum, children with Autism and other interrelated learning and emotional disabilities are given creative outlets for learning new technologies and communication tools.   


“Our students are very visual learners, so while we have taught regular coding in the past, we found that it can be difficult for them,” Ulerio continued.  “It’s like learning a new language.  So, the visual aspect of Vidcode intrigued us immediately.  Also, the idea that it integrated video editing, along with coding, was a major plus.  It was truly unique and helped our students learn both of those skills simultaneously.  The students loved it, especially the fact that they were able to use their own photos and videos as part of Vidcode’s customization in the creative process.  It was a perfect fit.”  

 

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! 

Project Tutorial: Galentine's Day Video

It's February, and you know what that means: Galentine's Day is coming up! As Leslie Knope describes it February 13th, or Galentine's Day, is when "my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home, and just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies."

I used Vidcode to make a Galentine's Day video. You can follow along with the steps below to make your own Galentine's Day video with code!

 

Life After Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week is officially over. And what an incredible week it was!

We teamed up with Girl Scouts of Greater New York to create the tools for Girl Scout troops and classrooms around the United States (and world!) to run their own CS Tech Jam and Hour of Code events, introducing thousands of students to computer science in the process.

 

Between December 7th and 13th, with the help of communities around the world, some amazing things happened, including

  • Introducing over 3,500 students to Computer Science in 41 countries and 42 states.
  • Providing tools to help organize over 300 in-person Tech Jams.
  • Us receiving 686 requests for Hour of Code patches from Girl Scouts around the country.
  • In NYC alone, 651 Girl Scouts participating in Tech Jams and Hour of Code with Vidcode and GSGNY.

But it's important to remember that all these students getting introduced to computer science and technology during CS Ed Week is so much more than just a list of numbers. All across the country, classrooms participating in Tech Jams have been sending us stories about their experience, and telling us why their events are special.

One school in New York told us, "Many of the girls in this troop of 4th and 5th graders have never coded before or thought about computer science as a future career option. This first exposure will hopefully get them interested in this field - and continue their love of learning about technology!"

Another classroom in Dallas Texas shared with us that, "This event will be special for my students and I because it will be, for many of us, our first time being exposed to coding/programming. As we learn the programs of Adobe CS6 this will be a great compliment to help us take graphic designing to a whole new level." In Northern California, "The Hamlin School is working with the girls and encouraging them to use code to 'build their dreams' at both the middle and lower school." Check out the interactive coding map and read all the stories on the Tech Jam home page.

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One of the most exciting events of the week occurred when over 120 Girl Scouts gathered in the Girl Scouts of Greater New York offices in Lower Manhattan to learn the basics of computer Science. Older Girl Scouts helped girls as young as 5 code video greeting cards and program robots to do simple tasks, like picking up water bottles.

 

Girls of all ages learned and celebrated computer science through creativity and problem solving. There were two rooms, one full of computers for Hour of Code activities, and another for Unplugged Activities. These included girls 'programming' their friends to draw certain images, or do dance moves in a particular order.

 

After spending the day at the CS Tech Jam, Girl Scout Anyia Smith said "When I think of girls, I think of almost anything." Watch the NY1 News video to see the CS Tech Jam in action.

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In the spirit of creative coding, all the Hour of Code and Tech Jam participants had a place to share their finished projects and code with each other.

That place is the Hall of Fame, where everyone who chose to make their projects public could publish their final video greeting cards for every other Tech Jam coder to see! All the projects are still live to check out (and to sneak a peek at the code that made them happen). 

 

So, Life After CS Ed Week

Wondering what to do next? Learning to code doesn't have to end when CS Ed Week does! We offer many free projects online, as well as 40+ hours of curriculum and lesson plans, all centered around creating video art with code.

Keep exploring! The CS Ed Week website has an entire section dedicated to learning beyond Hour of Code, with resources that include learning to code by building robots, creating websites, or drawing animals.

Happy coding!

Computer Science Education Week with Girl Scouts of Greater New York and Vidcode

Computer Science Education Week takes place this December 7th to the 13th. It's a week to build and learn with code - anyone can do it. Only 5% of schools nation-wide offer students the opportunity to take a rigorous CS course. CS Education Week is meant to provide a time for schools, teachers, and communities to set aside a small amount of time devoted to exposing students to a greater realm of CS opportunities.

For this year's Computer Science Education Week we've built a special Tech Jam and Hour of Code in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Greater New York

Our partnership is centered around a shared commitment to give teen girls leadership and STEM opportunities.

 

 

Take part in Computer Science Education Week by giving your students access to Hour of Code, or go beyond Hour of Code by running a Tech Jam with your community, Girl Scout troop, or classroom. There's no previous experience required, you can run an Hour of Code activity, or an entire Tech Jam, even if you've never coded before!

A Tech Jam is a model event for a community or school to celebrate computer science. The Tech Jam that Vidcode and Girl Scouts of Greater New York have created includes an Hour of Code, discussion questions, off the computer activities, and badges and certificates to win and share! It's free, and doesn't require signup OR prior experience.

By the end of the Tech Jam participants will have an understanding of the fundamentals of programming with JavaScript, and they'll have created a Bestie Video Greeting Card (like the one below) to share with their family and friends.

 

How to run a Tech Jam

Find information on running a successful Tech Jam in the Volunteer Guide, or print out the Participation Guide Booklet for you and the other volunteers.

You can mix and match Tech Jam steps to fit your needs, staff and schedule. For example, if you don’t have a volunteer or teacher to lead the event, the “Bestie Video Greeting Card” Hour of Code is a self-guided activity for students.

Other activities include Unplugged Activities to teach Computer Science Fundamentals without computers or even internet connection, volunteer led discussions before and after the Hour of Code, and a 'Hall of Fame' where participants can view their videos and code, and the projects of other participants! See a more detailed activity list and schedule.

To get started now, register your troop or class to get your event added to our events map. We'll also send you tips and resources as Computer Science Education Week gets closer!

 

How can you help 

You can help by spreading the word and getting your community involved! Tell teachers and Girl Scout Troop Leaders who might be interested in Hour of Code, or in running an entire Tech Jam!

Visit our Spread the Word page for resources to share your event. There are descriptions of the event, social media messages, graphics and banners for you to use to share to get your local community excited about Tech Jam, Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week!

 

 

Get Ready for Computer Science Education Week

Computer Science Education Week starts December 7th and ends the 13th. Get students excited by telling them about the certificates, Hall of Fame award and Hour of Code patches they could receive!

Still have questions about running your Tech Jam event or using Vidcode? We'd love to hear from you! Contact us at leandra@vidcode.io

We can't wait to see what you and your students create!

Hour of Code for teen girls



Getting Started with Vidcode for Educators (without a Computer Science background)

Starting a "learn to code" class or after school program can be overwhelming, especially if you don't have a computer science background.

But with the right tools and support, you can keep your students engaged and excited about making with code.

Starting a learn to code program in school

Starting off a coding club with Vidcode introduces JavaScript in a familiar way. Students already used to editing photos and videos see that code relates to something they're already familiar with. 

Students learn more advanced concepts as they make more complicated projects, learning about arrays, functions and if-else statements.

 

Don't worry! As you get into these more advanced lessons and concepts, there's additional curriculum, lessons, off-the-computer activities, worksheets and presentations that go along with the lessons Vidcode has available online. 

Vidcode provides advanced computer science curriculum, teacher training and technical support to help get your club or class set up and running smoothly.

students learning advanced computer science concepts through art

Vidcode also helps make coding a fun and social experience, students can share their code and videos with their class and see what all their classmates are working on. Each class and coding club is part of its own Vidcode group and gallery, where students can show off projects they're working on and share things they've learned with the rest of the group.

Are you thinking about starting an after-school coding club, but aren't sure where to start? Check out our Vidcode classroom roadmap! And learn more about the classroom support and curriculum Vidcode offers on our groups page or get started now at app.vidcode.io!

We Spent a Week With Hoboken Vidcoders!

Vidcode spent the week of June 15-18 at Stevens Coop School. Sixteen students spent four days learning the fundamentals of coding with JavaScript, and making some amazing videos!

Elise, our amazing instructor, spent the first day going over the elements of JavaScript, as students used them hands-on in the Vidcode editor.

They used objects, properties and numbers to add effects to their videos, and strings to change the color of the videos they'd shot.

They learned about and created variables to hold their number and string values!

   They worked with some very original variable names.

 

They worked with some very original variable names.

The next day, the class moved onto learning about how to create and manipulate arrays.

They used this knowledge to put photos they took into arrays, and iterated through them to create stop motions videos. 

Once they learned how to create simple stop motion videos, they went out with clay and paper to create more elaborate videos, including this one below titled 'The Big Blob Attack'. Check out the code that was used to put it together!

Stop motion with JavaScript arrays

Later in the week, students moved on to some more advanced lessons, and used functions and variables to make their videos change over time. Sam used these coding skills to make a video of a plane look like an old movie!

HTML5 canvas effects
video effects with code at summer camp

The last day was spent on everyone's final projects, and getting ready for final presentations! Students spent the day making new stop motions, music videos, and other creative projects, and then adding their final effects in Vidcode using everything they had learned about JavaScript that week.

Final presentations were great! Students showed off their final videos, and talked about the coding concepts that they had used in their final edits.

learn to code summer camp for middle school students

You can see all the videos the students made this week in our gallery!

Interested in having your own Vidcode workshop in your summer camp or school? Find out more about our group programs!