Vidcode is a programming tool geared toward teenage girls

With the technology industry considered male-dominated, many have wondered how to encourage more women into coding. Alexandra Diracles and Melissa Halfon have an idea: change the language.

The result is Vidcode, interactive software geared toward teenage girls that enables them to customise Instagram videos with effects that they program. By combining programming with a hobby that their target demographic is already familiar with, Diracles and Halfon aim to combat a perception among girls that tech and coding are “boring.” Students can also share the videos with their friends, adding a social aspect to the coding.

“A lot of young girls are interested in fun, artsy stuff like Instagram and Vine, but right now, all they see is the end product, not the code under the hood,” Diracles said in an interview with Startup Weekend EDU NYC, a competition they won earlier this year. “I learned to code just recently—while in grad school—and I don’t want girls growing up today to wait so long to see how fun coding is.”

Vidcode primarily deals with the languages of JavaScript and HTML5; it teaches JavaScript by creating video filters and uses JavaScript libraries and HTML5 to control how the videos look. Moving into more advanced animated effects will provide further lessons in JavaScript. Their current objective is to distribute the completed software to schools in the spring of 2015 as either a standalone JavaScript teaching tool or as a supplement to an existing curriculum.

The software is currently in beta and is free to try for the public until the end of October. You can also find it on Kickstarter.