Our story

We created Blackbird School to be a truly practical alternative to the platforms available for learning how to code. We join all the teachers and students who are ready for diverse tech industry. 

When we started we did a lot of research to figure out what was the problem. Why hadn't the tech industry solved this problem of making learning how to code accessible?

 

It seemed to come down to this idea that it should be hard?!

But, we know there is no need to leave students or adults that aren't immediately drawn to tech and computer science to be left behind. We are here to give the world a new way of learning to code with less watching and more actual coding from the very first lesson.

 

We have been developing the product since 2015 using these questions as our guide and these are the answers we’re getting:

 

Q: What happens if you provide down-to-earth, readable, docs and bite-sized lessons?

A: Users dig it!

 

Q: What happens when error messages are understandable?

A: Users learn!

 

Q: Wouldn't it be great if all teachers, not only computer science teachers, could teach coding too?

A: It is great! We’ve seen it in action.

 

Q: What's beyond Hour of Code but not so far beyond that you confuse the heck out of users?

A: We are!

 

Our vision is to make Blackbird School available to schools and users across the US and across the globe.

 

We want our platform to be an agent of change in bringing new coders into the industry. Adding new voices will open career possibilities for those that wouldn't have had the opportunities provided by coding literacy.

 

We are a small, self-funded, company. If you have skills or funding you would like to bring to this big project we'd love to hear from you!

 

Let's get coding!

Our team

Bjorn

Director of Technology

Why I'm here

I understand how powerful online learning tools can be. I think our application can take this technology to the next level.

I'm motivated by making education more accessible and breaking down barriers that have discouraged learners in the past, whether technological or cultural.

Background

I graduated from Lewis & Clark College in 2015 with a degree in economics. After dabbling in falconry and audio production, I took an interest in coding. Since becoming part of Blackbird School in 2016, I've been figuring out how to best teach coding to others.

Ness

Ideas & Technology

Why I'm here

When I started to teach my kids to program I could only find online tools that taught "algorithmic thinking" but not actual programming, or which taught programming in a very non-intuitive way. When the kids were done with the excellent Hour of Code, I couldn't find anything that could really help me teach them; so in 2015, I decided to build my own.

I want to make programming accessible to everyone by making it easier to learn. For me, a good tool for teaching programming needs a friendly debugger, helpful error messages, and an easy-to-use, properly structured curriculum that emphasizes practice, preferably by writing games.

Background

After some misadventures in the corporate world, where I don’t belong, I started a programming business; this eventually led to the launch, in 2006, of a software platform that supports nonprofit performing arts groups selling tickets and managing data.

Heather

Director of Operations & Outreach

Why I'm here

Blackbird School is the product of our shared belief in the power of accessible coding educational tools. We want to build equality in the tech industry and our world by providing education to those that continue to be excluded due to barriers to learning tech.

Background

My training is in teaching writing and non-profit management. But, for the past 15 years, my work has been in software. Being a non-technical person in a technical field, I struggled and watched others struggle against the barriers the tech industry presents. I’m excited to be a part of breaking down those barriers. It’s been a long time coming!

Mike

Director of Education

Why I'm here

All learners deserve the opportunity to develop relevant and meaningful skills. Blackbird School is developing the type of learning platform that makes it possible for people from all types of backgrounds to learn to program.

Background

I was a high school classroom teacher for 8 years before joining Blackbird School. My academic background is in the sciences, and as a teacher, I focused intently on equitable teaching practices for students in the public-school setting.

As a new programmer, I enjoy the challenge of translating new skills into meaningful learning experiences for others.

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