With clear vision and dedicated energy, Pixel Arts (PA) actualizes the promise of the Maker Movement in education by creating communities of practice that emphasize design for learning, that can inform youths’ experience in traditional schooling (Halverson & Sheridan, 2014). PA provides youth in the greater Portland OR Metro area with opportunities to join in a community of learning that celebrates making in the context of games and that promotes healthy internalization of maker identities. Fueled with an awareness of the inequality in excellent educational experiences currently seen in the US, PA aims to engage youth who experience the brunt of this inequality by nurturing skills and learning identities. One “free-of-charge game-camp” at a time, PA reaches youth who, primarily for SES reasons, lack opportunities for academic and personal enrichment in STEM fields, thereby bridging the local digital-divide. With game-design as their theme, it’s PA’s intention that participating youth acquire both technical and personal learning skills. In this report, we present a snapshot of how well PA is doing, in terms of meeting their outcome goals. Not content to rely on anecdotal evidence/testimonies as their success-indicators, PA follows empirically based assessment practices. This report presents their camp training and assessment model and a snapshot of an effectiveness evaluation utilizing data generated from eight camps. Evidence of technical skill learning comes from work-documentation and evidence of growth in “the non-cognitives” comes from both quantitative and qualitative sources. Results indicate that PA’s unique curriculum effectively nurtures youths’ technical and non-cognitive learning skills.
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