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Kids Build Their Own Games And Learn More Tech Skills At The Pixel Academy



Overheard on the subway, mother speaking with her eight-year-old daughter: “And what did you do in school today?” “Umm, we wrote a song… told stories… then we learned about Javascript and explored iOS app design.” Say again? Not what you were expecting to hear? OK, so this little girl might be attending a tech-centric institution in some near future, or… she might very well be a student at The Pixel Academy.





The Pixel Academy is a school where teenagers and kids learn about digital media and programming. Students take private lessons and attend workshops on subjects they want to learn about. The concept is to equip youngsters with 21st century skills and introduce them to technology likely to fire their imaginations but currently absent from more traditional classrooms.


Topics covered at The Pixel Academy include the following and more:


  • Video game design
  • 3d printing
  • 3d scanning
  • Kinect hacking
  • Digital embroidery
  • Arduino
  • Electronics
  • Adobe creative suite
  • Web design
  • Autocad
  • HTML5
  • CSS
  • OSX
  • Movie making
  • Video compositing
  • Special effects
  • Computer animation
  • Stop motion
  • 3d photography
  • Garage band


Start ‘Em Up Early

We all know that kids have an easier time mastering technology. It only makes sense to give them support, and the freedom to both learn and play at any early age. The Pixel Academy provides a creative space and instruction they can’t find elsewhere.


Student members, ages 8-18, can attend whenever schedules permit – after school for example, or on the weekends – and drop in to whatever workshops they’d like on any given day. Not only does this flexibility, not to mention the lab-like atmosphere, help to put some cool back in school, but the focus on design and programming literacy will no doubt serve students well in any future endeavors.





Startup entrepreneurs frequently remark that if they could just put technology in kids hands, creativity would explode. The Pixel Academy races past the difficulties of offering the latest equipment and software in the wider school system (not to mention teacher training and curricula adjustments), and gives students an innovative learning environment.


Mike Fischthal used to design games for Nickelodeon. The enthusiasm and creativity of kids he taught at camp, the Galileo Summer Quest, inspired him to start giving private lessons in New York City. Overwhelming demand led him to hire more teachers and put his energy full-time into growing The Pixel Academy.





The Pixel Academy Needs A Home

So far, classes have been held at a variety of locations such as museums, libraries, and living rooms. This makes it more difficult for parents to find, and challenging to transport expensive gadgetry. Fischthal has turned to the crowdfunding platform Fundable in order to raise money to establish a more permanent home. Take a closer look at the Academy in action and see what a more stable house would mean to kids by watching the video below:





Photo Credits

The Pixel Academy

Author : Keith Liles

Keith Liles is a freelance writer who loves travel, music, wine, hiking, poetry, and just about everything. He practices saying "yes" to life vigorously, rehearsing for the phone call when he's asked to tour with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Follow Keith on Twitter @KPLiles.

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