LaPixel focuses on teaching students how to think critically and creatively while developing a game in gamemaker. Student begin by learning the basics of photoshop and developing game concepts. This is teaching them how to think about things creatively and critically because they are asked to come up with ideas and present them to the rest of the class in the first week. They are forced to try to fully develop their idea as far as possible so that when they present they can answer any question asked of them.
Later in the program they begin to work in teams to develop one game within their team. The learn some basic coding and working with the GameMaker system. The team work is a vital part of their time in the LaPixel program because by working with others 5 days a week they are needing to think critically about how they speak to one another and what are the best ways to develop what they need as a team for their game and in a timely manner.
Being involved in this program taught me a lot about working with middle and high-school students that I didn't learn by working with Girls Who Code. I learned a lot about teenage kid dynamics and dealing with bullying. It is sad to say but it was surprising how much happened in the class. While students I don't believe meant to pick on each other, it happened that there was also no control on what they let out of their mouth. This taught me a lot about myself, because I had to think critically myself on how to handle the situation. I tend to be very aware of people's emotions and tiny reactions to things. I often recognize and sometime forget to react. There was a point in the program that I knew that what was happening was not acceptable, but it did take me a day to realize I need to speak up and squash what was being said and done. I am proud of my actions because I do believe it made a difference in a few student's lives and also taught the other students about kindness.
With all that being said I don't want anyone to think badly of any of these children because they are all marvels in their own way. I was proud to have worked with and met each one of them. In my mind working in a program like this and really digging into changing a person's perspective is what makes my job worth it. There were days that I went home absolutely exhausted, but I wouldn't have exchanged this experience for anything. I am so proud of all these kids. They are so creative and smart. With the right positive feedback I think these individuals will go on to do great things