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.

photo 3.JPG

“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.  

photo 4.JPG

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.