Everything on Code School will be free over the weekend, not just those links I posted. Code School has lots of courses covering tons of different subjects: https://www.codeschool.com/courses
If you don’t finish a particular course during the free weekend, the website will simply lock you out from further progression in that course and won’t allow you to finish it. You’ll need to pay for a subscription in order to finish a course that you’ve started, after the free weekend is over. But most courses are relatively short, and it’s possible to finish one course in a few hours.
It is truly free (I did it last year), and if you can’t finish a course, you can download the lectures. I downloaded about 20G of courses last year. I don’t think the quality of courses on codeschool is that great, but you can’t go wrong for free.
I wouldn’t say they aren’t using best practices. I think you can learn the basics with CodeSchool very well. The problem with CodeSchool isn’t that the video or writing quality is bad, they just don’t cover in-depth. They focus most of their attention on building songs and fancy videos, and while the content they do have is good, it is very basic. Learning to ride a bike is good, but CodeSchool never takes the training wheels off. Topics don’t cover more intermediate and advanced skills. You won’t be doing a lot of work building actual projects like you would on freeCodeCamp, because everything you do is on their own challenges. The courses also don’t give you much to go when you finish. You have a good idea of the subject and know the basics, but it is hard to relate it with other skills and put it to practical use. This is what I mean by the quality isn’t that great. Yes, the video quality and songs are catchy, the things they teach are good, but the courses are more for the beginner or casual learner than a serious developer.
Code School courses are cute and entertaining. I don’t think they explain stuff as well as a course from say, edX or Coursera, and they certainly don’t show you how to do anything in your own editor or browser. I do participate, though, just for kicks and their jingles are pretty catchy.
I personally find Code School’s gamification-based approach a bit annoying as well, but to their credit, their courses do a really effective job at showing the basics, as you mentioned. Probably the best thing about their courses is how good they are at explaining the “big picture” for important concepts and how things fit together, and in that sense they make for great intro-level courses to a new language, framework, library, or tool.