Because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the closing of schools, we at Code Haven have chosen to adapt our current curriculum to an even friendlier online format. In addition to preparing for synchronous online classes, we’ve also created a video team — who has converted the lessons into Youtube videos! Let’s hear what they’ve been up to!
With kids nationwide having shown a decreased interest in online learning, a huge challenge was trying to figure out what engages kids. An advantage of making videos is that we have a huge toolbox from which to make the material more entertaining and engaging. We can make use of features present in other entertainment media, like animations and pictures, to bring the learning experience closer to something like watching a movie or playing video games. Taking inspiration from engaging mediums to heighten learning has been a part of Code Haven’s mission since its beginning. Creating these videos provides novel opportunities to engage students, but also exposes our curriculum to a broader audience.
We hope that our work will re-inspire kids who may have lost interest in learning this year. We also hope to provide educational tools and videos for other instructors wishing to expose their classroom to computer science asynchronously!
Video team production started over the summer in June. A team of five people met on a weekly basis to review and record a particular section of the Code Haven curriculum. So far, the team has managed to produce videos for the first full semester.
Each week’s videos are broken down into easily-digestible chunks. They can serve as both standalone classes or as an accompanying resource. The next step for the video team is reviewing and making critical edits to the fall curriculum videos. Our video-editing strategy has been to make multiple editing passes on each video to maximize both student comprehension and engagement of the material covered.
Over the summer, one thing I’ve learned from making videos is how to harness the power of visuals. An advantage of video editing is that you can easily incorporate definitions and examples at the exact moments you want. Unlike in-person classes, the kids simultaneously have audio and visual elements incorporated into the explanations. So if the explanation of “what is Computer Science” is not clear, kids can immediately look at the visual element to understand it. ~ Andrew (Video Board)
It’s also interesting to note how even small changes to the video can make a world of difference. In our globally interconnected society it’s become increasingly challenging to hold people’s attention spans. Adding some text here, or a well-placed cut there, is really all it takes to turn a slow, content-packed video into something that’s fun and exciting. I’m extremely grateful for having such a wonderful team of people working together to make these videos happen, and it’s great when we get to see the finished product. ~ Lucas (Video Board)