Youth Game Education
At the heart of Pixel Arts services are programs to spark youth imagination by playing, making and designing games together. Our informal learning programs are tailored to a range of K-12 youth needs, and their goal is to drive youth engagement and resilience with mentoring by a diverse, intergenerational community. Our volunteers come from many professions including artists, engineers, programmers, scholars, designers and educators. By bridging informal and formal learning, our programs support the development of soft skills, technical literacy and high level conceptual knowledge for 21st Century prosperity.
Youth Game Camps
• Provide an immersive maker-based learning environment for youth to explore, discover and engage newfound interests. Game camps range from 2-day to week long events focused on art and animation, programming and computer science, and design. By combining the best of maker pedagogy–Play, Make, Design–with project-based inquiry, we open new doors to youth enthusiasm and higher level conceptual knowledge.
Youth Expos & Maker Faires
• Create opportunities in entrepreneurship and real-world engagement with consumers. We offer regular opportunities at conferences, conventions and faires for youth to showcase their game design work. These events allow youth to play test their ideas, develop communicative skills and learn about the marketplace of games.
• Offer condensed periods of time–ranging from a half day to 72 hours–for youth to invent and build a game in the company of other enthusiasts. Besides finding a community of like-minded game developers, jams allow youth to form teams and rapidly prototype game ideas. Game jams help promote key habits and practices of successful game development including group communication, team management and collaborative inquiry.
Maker Places for Games
Schools are not the only place to develop 21st Century skills in game development. Maker places combine the best of hackerspaces and project-based inquiry by providing community driven, open facilities to discover, explore and build. The goal of our maker places programs is to provide access to tools and resources for independently published games. We focus on building bridges between formal and informal learning contexts. Part showcase, part playlab, maker spaces help reduce barriers of access and create shared resources for prosperity.
Pixel Arts Playlab
• Beginning in 2014, Pixel Arts is developing a program to launch Portland’s first open community space dedicated to the independent publishing of games. We are working with Motive Space, a nonprofit property developer and advisory network in Portland, Oregon, and the Portland Metro STEM Partnership to create a site for community collaboration.
Pop-Up Maker Labs
• Instead of a permanent dedicated space, our pop-up program creates temporary maker places where youth congregate: libraries, community centers, science museums, religious places and schools. We roll in, set up and create immersive environments for informal learning. Pop-ups can be tailored to age groups and learning needs, allowing youth to walk-in and try their hand at many different activities.
• Maker places are showing up in increasing diversity, but often, they are silos of activity limited to their physical space. Our maker neighbors program is designed to build bridges between programs and increase community resources through video conferencing, tool libraries and shared mentoring. By networking our neighborhood maker places together, we can increase opportunities available to youth and reduce barriers of access.