FAQ

We are here to answer any questions you have. Here are a few to get you started!

Q: What is Blackbird School?
A: Blackbird School is an online code learning platform for anyone that wants to learn how to code. We focus on making it easy to understand and emphasize accessible practice lessons and friendly messaging and support.

Q: Can I see a demo of Blackbird School?
A: Absolutely. We are available to schedule a demo with you! Get in touch by emailing us at support@blackbird.school.

Q: What ages is Blackbird School intended for?
A: Blackbird School is for anyone who wants to learn to code from age 11 up.

Q: I want to learn to code but I’m not a kid, or I’m not part of a classroom at a school, is Blackbird School still a good fit for me?
A: Yes! Blackbird School is an excellent fit for code learners just like you!

Q: Can I get a family account?
A: Yes! Family accounts are $15 per month and $5 for each additional household member/child.

Q: How do I sign my child up with an individual account?
A: Sign up with the email of your choice for the main family account and create your family's username and password. Once your account is setup you can add each child/household member.

Q: How much does it cost?
A: Individual accounts are $10.00 per month. Family accounts are $10.00 for the first household member and $5 per month for each additional household member/child that's added to the family's account.

 

Scholarships are available. School and District accounts are priced based on the number of students.

Q: What do students learn?
A: Blackbird students learn to code with an educational version of JavaScript. Examples of coding concepts learned are variables, conditional statements, data types, objects, loops, and arrays.

Q: Why is Blackbird School better than other apps out there that teach coding?
A: We break down the lessons into bite-sized pieces and give you examples and support every step of the way. We offer documentation and learning sessions.

Here are some examples of how Blackbird School makes learning to code accessible:

  • We’ve modified the programming language you learn (JavaScript) so it can give you helpful messages.

  • Blackbird School makes the correct code you’ve written un-editable so it can’t be accidentally edited.

  • Blackbird School gives you lots of chances to practice what you learn so you don’t forget as you progress.


Q: Can I get help if I need it?
A: Yes! Here are some ways help is available:

  • Inside the app by clicking Help. You’ll receive a reply to your question inside the app in your Messages.

  • You can also reach out by emailing support@blackbird.school.

  • Blackbird School has the Docs - a feature that has easy to read explanations for words, topics and concepts you’ll learn.

  • Blackbird School hosts live weekly Learning Sessions with our staff you can come to - these are great if you’d like extra focused support.


Q: How will I learn to code using Blackbird School?
A: Blackbird School will introduce you to code in a supported way by giving you a first coding language to learn - JavaScript (JS). The version of JS you’ll code with in Blackbird School has been enhanced for learning so that it’s able to do what regular JS can’t - give helpful messaging to you when your code isn’t correct.

You’ll earn stars and move through levels as you complete lessons in each stage of the curriculum. You’ll start by learning about the canvas - the space you’ll use to create points, then shapes, then moving shapes, then games. During the course of making fun, cool games - which are a great way to learn to code because they move, change and engage you right away - you’ll be learning core programming concepts you’ll take with you to learn other coding languages when you’re done with Blackbird School: variables, conditional statements, data types, loops, objects, and arrays.

Q: Can I try out Blackbird School for free to see if I like it?
A: If you can’t afford the monthly cost we have scholarships available. Please email support@blackbird.school to find out more.

Q: What does Blackbird School teach?
A: Blackbird School focuses on developing student understanding and expertise in fundamental computer programming concepts such as variables, conditional statements, loops, objects and arrays.

Q: What programming languages do you teach?
A: We teach fundamental concepts which are common to all programming languages by using an educational implementation of JavaScript.

Q: What is the format for learning?
A: Blackbird lessons introduce a new coding concept/skill and then immediately give the student the chance to practice it and repeat that practice. This practice-first model is built into the curriculum - a Blackbird slogan used while developing the app is "Practice makes programmers".

Q: Do you have a scope & sequence to share?
A: Lessons build in complexity to allow students to code fun, dynamic games when all lesson stages are completed. Beginning lessons introduce the canvas, drawing points and shapes, then move into functions, conditional statements, data types, objects, and loops.

The 'Work on' feature allows students to take lesson code they’ve written and re-work it to branch out and get comfortable with writing their own programs from scratch.

Guided programs are folded into the lesson sequence and give students commented prompts for support in coding their own programs.

Final lessons allow students to complete their goal of coding fun, dynamic games.

Q: How can I track student progress?
A: Functionality for teachers allows you to fully monitor student progress. View lessons, stages and units completed. Stars earned (lessons completed without the Show me feature). See the amount of time using the app and the number of errors seen.

Blackbird School's code review feature allows you to view projects students have completed outside their lesson curriculum, comment on them, and see whether the student has viewed your comment.

Q: How do you scaffold & differentiate for accelerated learners?
A: Blackbird School uses a go at your own pace model. Lessons are divided into stages with optional practice lessons. Accelerated learners can skip practice lessons and go back to them if they find moving ahead exposes the need for more practice.

Q: And learners with differences (ELLs, learning differences, etc)?
A: ELL and students with learning differences may find restarting lessons helpful (up to 3 restarts of a lesson earns additional stars!). They may also find more check-ins with teachers and/or peers helpful.

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