Frequently Asked Questions


Who can participate in Creative computing and ideaSpark?

Creative Computing and ideaSpark are open to all students in grades 3 through 8 (current 2018-2019 school year) from all schools. The program information and online registration link is:

How often do student teams meet?

Teams meet weekly during two-hour sessions. Creative Computing is a 10-week course, ideaSpark is 14 weeks, including Demo Day.

Are students required to attend all of the sessions?

We encourage students to attend all of the sessions, if possible, in order to fully participate in the team’s projects. However, we know that things come up – illness, family situations, school homework, etc. - and we understand. We just ask that you give your the lead mentor at your program site a heads up if there is an expected absence.

What does my child need to bring? What does Bold Idea provide?

Students just need to bring an outgoing attitude to each session. No supplies or laptops are required. Bold Idea provides a program t-shirt and take-home learning materials for each student.


Do you offer financial assistance?

Yes, on a case-by-case basis. In order to request financial assistance, please complete a quick survey during the registration process.


What will my child be learning?

By participating in Creative Computing and ideaSpark, students will develop computer science and 21st-century skills. As students return each semester, they will continue to gain a deeper understanding and mastery of these skills, plus how to apply them to create technologies as a team. Our mentors track student progress during each session and project, while Bold Idea keeps track of student growth over multiple semesters.

> Learn more about the skills we teach and measure


Do students learn programming languages? which ones?

Yes, students will learn several programming languages throughout their time with Bold Idea. They will learn these languages while creating their own computing projects. Bold Idea students have used Javascript, Python, HTML/CSS and MIT Scratch, a visual programming language, to create everything from mobile apps to 3D games, animations and websites. We teach programming with both visual- and text-based languages that give students experience writing programs, interspersing this with activities that challenge them as computer scientists.

Computer science is much more than just coding, though. It includes algorithms, abstraction, data, the Internet, global impact and creativity — in addition to programming. Computer science is the art of blending human ideas and digital tools to increase problem solving power. Bold Idea gives students a computer science context for their projects to help them solve problems and design solutions, which they have the option to create with code.

Today, programming languages come and go in popularity and usage — therefore, it is important that students understand the computing principles that are common across all languages.


Does my child need to have any prior knowledge of coding?

No prior experience in coding is required to participate in Creative Computing or ideaSpark.


How do you teach computer science?

We use a project-based learning model that gives students hands-on experience applying coding concepts and computational thinking. Every two students are paired with a supportive and trained mentor. We call this collaboration pair programming. With support from mentors, students follow a process when working on their creative projects that includes discovery, ideation, prototyping, testing and sharing.


Who are the team mentors?

Volunteer mentors guide student learning, sitting with teams as they learn and code together. They get excited about their successes and are invested in a student’s development. Many have a technical background as professional coders while others are students from area universities, like UT Dallas. Bold Idea conducts a thorough background check as well as training and coaching sessions for all mentors that we thoughtfully pair with student teams.

> Learn about our mentors

Why teams?

From our experience, students learn best on a team with supportive mentors. They are encouraged to help their team members as they learn together and share equal participation in team projects. As a result, students are better able to problem solve, collaborate and communicate in a small group environment.

Significant progress is rarely made in computer science by one person working alone. Typically, computing projects involve large teams of professionals working together to design, code, test, debug, describe and maintain software over time. New programming methodologies such as pair programming emphasize the importance of working together.


Have another question?

If your question was not answered here, please feel free to contact us.