Vidcode

Website review by
Stephanie Trautman, Common Sense Media
Vidcode Website Poster Image
Digital-media, coding site promotes female programming.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about coding, particularly about HTML5 and JavaScript5. Kids will learn by doing on this site. Teens can import their own photos and videos (the site can link to their Facebook or Instagram accounts) and then learn how to transform them into things such as stop-motion videos and memes, create their own filters, or make their own music video with them. Two screens will open when they choose a project to work on: One screen gives a brief overview and lesson of which code to use, and the other allows the user to input the code. Steps delve deeper into changing the code to get different outputs, which are shown in real time on a screen that displays the creation or project the user is working on. Vidcode provides a strong foundation for girls to learn how to code with media objects they already possess, which should help build the next generation of Web programmers.

Positive Messages

Kids will learn how to code on a basic level, which will boost their confidence, but they'll see no mention of well-known female coders, women who empower other girls to learn to code. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Vidcode is a site with an auxilliary app that targets high school girls, allowing them to get excited about coding. The main idea is that girls are targeted at a younger age, so coding is something they can become passionate about. 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. Users can log in and link their Facebook or Instagram accounts to grab photos and videos to use. Though kids can keep videos and projects private, parents should also make sure they talk to their kids about possible hazards of sharing content on social media sites.

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What's it about?

On VIDCODE, coding is broken down into simple steps using what kids love most: their own photos and videos. When kids log in, they'll see two screens in a project. The screen on the left side of the screen allows for a lesson, and the screen on the right allows users to input the code. Teens can experiment with code, and the lesson screen will offer hints on how to change the coding to see neat changes occur. Teens can then share their projects and videos with their friends or parents, making the coding experience a social one.

Is it any good?

This website is a great tool for teens to get started with coding, particularly girls, by using JavaScript5 and HTML5. Javascript5 is used to create video filters, and HTML5 controls how the videos look. These are great introductions to coding, as the site gives helpful hints on not only how to use these types of code but also how slight changes to the code can make big differences (which users can see in real time) to the project they're working on. The ability to allow students to pull in videos and photos from their own social media sites (Facebook and Instagram) allows for genuine buy-in from teens. Yet, the videos can take a long time to upload to the site. The lessons assume some knowledge of basic coding terms, so beginners may need a little more guidance along the way, which is not always easy to come by on the website. More help functions, a user guide, a glossary, or the ability to ask a person questions in real time would be helpful. But overall, Vidcode is a great first start to get more kids, and especially more girls, interested in coding.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about privacy. What are the problems that teens could run into by deciding to make projects public?

  • Talk about the careers coding can be used in. Where could those careers take young women? Families could also research colleges that offer summer programs or scholarships for girls who code.

  • Talk about how coding must be broken down into small parts, and relate this to breaking down any type of problem that needs to be solved.

Website details

  • Subjects: Science: engineering
  • Skills: Creativity: innovation, making new creations, producing new content
    Communication: conveying messages effectively, multiple forms of expression
    Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
  • Genre: Creating
  • Pricing structure: Paid, Free

For kids who love programming

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