creative coding

Hour of Code: 5 Tips and Tricks

Hour of Code is approaching! 

Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week (the 2016 Computer Science Education Week is December 5-11). 

It's a week to build and learn with code - anyone can do it. CS Education Week is meant to provide a time for schools, teachers, and communities to set aside a small amount of time dedicated to exposing students of all backgrounds to the world of CS opportunities.

Join the movement and introduce a group of students to their first hour of computer science with these five tips and tricks!

 

1. Offer your students tutorials that fit their interests

It's no secret that students want to build things they love. Since your students have different interests, offer them different tutorials!

 
 

Vidcode has fun new activities for students with diverse interests, ages, and experience levels. These tutorials are created to be self-guided for students, and require minimal prep time for teachers.

  • Code the News teaches students how to create the effects they see on news shows on tv.
  • Bestie Greeting Card lets students create a card or invitation using code and graphics inspired by Girl Scouts.
  • Climate Science and Code works best in a Science classroom, and encourages students to research and record a video about a climate fact, and add effects and graphics using code.
  • Code.org has many more activities, including games and art projects, for your students to find something they love!
Projects created for Hour of Code 2016

Projects created for Hour of Code 2016

All Vidcode tutorials cover basic computer science concepts, such as sequencing, creating and assigning variables, repetition with loops, and conditional logic, and follow the principles:

  • Easy enough for beginners to access
  • Ramps up slowly
  • Spiral design
  • Promotes “deep learning”
  • Promotes positive identity, role models
  • Math should be prominent, but not annoying.

Look through all of this year's Hour of Code activities on Code.org, and filter by grade and subject area to find the perfect tutorials for your students. With all these choices, students can be introduced to computer science in a way that's engaging to them!

 

2. Take advantage of Teacher Resources

 
Conditionals activity for Hour of Code

Conditionals activity for Hour of Code

 

All Vidcode Hour of Code activities can be accessed at www.vidcode.io/hour-of-code. Under each tutorial, you'll find Teacher Resources filled with lesson plans, common core standards, other resources and inspiration.

We've released two new lesson plans for Code the News, our newest Hour of Code.  One introduces students to programming as creative and fun, the second is focused on really understanding conditionals (telling a computer what to do if something happens).

 

3. Unplug!

Not all computer science activities require a computer! This year, Vidcode has two Unplugged Activities for Math and Art classes, that could work in any classroom.

 
 

Looking for more? Select 'No computers or devices' under Classroom technology on Code.org to see more tutorials that introduce computer science to students without putting them in front of a screen.

 

4. See your students' work

To see all your students' work in one place, make an account and add your students to your classroom.

Press 'Create a New Class' and then invite students to join with the URL that gets generated.

From this dashboard, you'll be able to see your students' progress. And if you click on the class name, you can see all their completed Hour of Code projects in one place!

To see more Hour of Code projects and get inspired, visit the Gallery!

 

5. Keep going after Hour of Code

 
 

After the Hour of Code, select some creative, funny, or generally awesome projects and easily share them online, with parents, other educators, and on social media. Make sure to tag us at @vidcode and #HourofCode. We love seeing what students create with Vidcode!

And remember, learning to code doesn't have to end just because Hour of Code is over! Vidcode has a full year of curriculum that makes it easy to keep teaching computer science in your classroom.

Request a quote for your school to keep coding creative projects all year!

 

Good luck running the best Hour of Code ever!

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.

Empowering Students to Talk About Climate Through Art and Technology

Vidcode is excited to announce the Girls Code 4 Climate @EDU Contest created along with Millennium@EDU Sustainable Education, as a Contribution to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The contest encourages students to use the skills (or as we call them, superpowers) they learn in computer science, art and media classes in new ways. 

To participate in this contest, students choose a topic related to climate, research that topic and then record a video sharing their research. Topics include:

  1. Climate changes and its effects
  2. Public responses to climate change
  3. How climate changes impact your everyday life
  4. What actions participants can take to make a difference

Once they've recorded their video, students add effects and graphics with JavaScript. They can use the graphics that Vidcode provides in creative and relevant ways, or they can create and upload their own. One student, Anna, created and coded a video using a yellow lawn in the background as an example of the drought she refers to and added graphics and effects in the scene to emphasize the lack of water.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 5.23.52 PM.png

We created a guide to help participants get started choosing and researching topics. It includes more information on the topics they can choose from, important climate terms and examples of how other artists are responding to climate change in their work.

Empowering students to show their point of view through art and technology is powerful. Art is a way to connect people with ideas that they would otherwise not be exposed to and gives artists a voice to say something they might not otherwise have been able to say. Alongside art, technology offers new media to create artworks, like creative coding, and new channels for messages to spread and be shared.

And this is important, historically art and technology combined have made a real impact. For example, Judy Collins took recordings of humpback whale songs and included them in her 1970 album Whales and Nightingales, which exposed millions of people to the beautiful and complex songs that whales use to communicate. These whale songs inspired the 'Save the Whales' movement, and in 1982, hunting whales became banned internationally.

We hope that this contest is a starting point for students to have conversations, and to research and create their own projects about climate and climate change, even after the contest ends. The top 5 winners of the contest will get full access to the Vidcode platform, offering them more tools to create projects with code and videos. And the overall winner will receive, in addition to full Vidcode access, a computer device designed for education and a science lab complete with sensors and software, so they can continue their research of the world around them.

Learn more about the contest and submit your own video, or use our Teacher Guide to bring coding, art and science into your classroom. The contest runs until November 15, 2015.

Coding and art for climate change

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!

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!

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!