Product Review of Vidcode
Vidcode is a site created by women that aims to get tweens and teens excited about coding by emphasizing creativity and social media culture and expression. Users can upload their own photos and videos and use premade effects to create projects such as stop-motion videos, music videos, memes, and much more, all while learning about the code that makes these things possible. When users create their accounts, they can choose to link their Facebook or Instagram accounts to grab photos and videos to use in their projects.
When learners log in, they’ll see two screens in a project: a lesson on the left and a space to input code on the right. Learners can experiment with code, and the lesson screen offers hints on how to change the coding to see subtle and dramatic changes occur in the project. Learners can then share their projects and videos with their friends or educator, making the coding experience a social one.
Educators can use Vidcode as an independent assignment for learners to explore coding. Assign projects on Vidcode to assess learning — e.g., asking learners to make a stop-motion video of a topic you studied in class. Or, use Vidcode as a go-to tool to boost your beginning coders’ skills with Java and HTML5. Vidcode would also fit perfectly in a STEM or STEAM classroom to build skills for learner creation, computer science, and digital media writ large. If educators want to keep going with the program, there are pay versions available with more support and advanced projects.
The lessons assume some knowledge of basic coding terms, so very beginning users may need a little more guidance along the way. Unfortunately, basic coding info isn’t easy to come by on the website. More help functions, a user guide, a glossary, or the ability to ask questions to a person in real time would be helpful improvements to an already powerful learning experience.
Overall User Consensus About the App
By creating music videos, filters, stop-motion videos, and memes, learners see code’s relevance to things they love and are naturally motivated.
Curriculum and Instruction
Helpful hints peppered through each lesson allow girls to understand coding basics. Sharing creations empowers learners to express themselves.
Lessons assume some knowledge of coding, so users who don’t know anything about coding may get a little lost and find few places for help. They can email questions, but more instant feedback would be helpful.