Infosys Foundation USA kicked-off its third annual Pathfinders Summer Institute today, but unlike previous years, this year’s event will be fully virtual. Like many other large in-person gatherings, the Pathfinders Summer Institute had to change course due to COVID-19. Over 400 teachers from across the country will receive computer science (CS) and maker education professional development “together” from the comfort of their homes from July 19-24, 2020.
"K-12 teachers are again rising to the occasion to adapt in the spirit of bringing innovative learning solutions to their classrooms,” said Kate Maloney, Executive Director, Infosys Foundation USA. “Having just emerged from a spring semester where schools were shuttered and teaching was remote, these impressive, energetic teachers from across the country are forging ahead to retrain, upskill and prepare for a dynamic - likely virtual - academic year ahead. In addition to bringing them the latest in CS and maker ed curriculum, the Foundation is looking forward to fostering a virtual community at Pathfinders where all teachers have fun and can connect with their fellow teacher heroes who understand that digital literacy is the future!"
With millions of job vacancies projected in the computing fields over the next few years and less than half of high schools across the US offering computer science, there is a critical need to recruit, train and retain educators who can teach these skills. In a recent Microsoft survey, 88% of teachers said that they believe computer science is important to the future success of their students, but felt they lacked the funding, curriculum and support to bring it into their classrooms. The Pathfinders Summer Institute aims to provide teachers with the knowledge and confidence they need to teach their students critical computer science skills.
"In a world of rapid digital transformation, a majority of 21st century careers will require foundational skills which students gain from computer science education,” said Ravi Kumar S., Chairperson, Infosys Foundation USA. “By focusing on teachers, the Pathfinders Institute ensures that we are providing this curriculum in K-12 classrooms and setting our students up for successful futures."
This year’s cohort of teachers represent 45 states – stretching from Maine to Hawaii – and a diversity of locales. Of the over 400 teachers in attendance, 77% teach at a Title 1 school and 40% are brand new to teaching computer science. To ensure that teachers could attend at no cost to them, funding from the Infosys Foundation USA was matched by citizen donors on the crowdfunding platform DonorsChoose and by local districts.
In order to appeal to the varying grade levels, subjects and interests of the teachers in attendance, the Foundation is partnering with 16 professional development providers to offer educators 18 diverse computer science and maker education curricula. Participating providers include: The Beauty and Joy of Computing, BootUp Professional Development, Citizen Schools, Chibitronics, Concord Consortium & Georgia Tech, Firia Labs, KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, Maker Educator Collective, Microsoft, Mouse, National Center for Computer Science Education, Peblio and The Processing Foundation, Project Invent, RoboGarden Inc., Tynker and Wonder Workshop.
"The Pathfinders Summer Institute is a truly unique professional development program – bringing together a great group of curriculum providers and teachers from all across the country. We are thrilled to participate in the new virtual format and continue to train hundreds of teachers from various backgrounds who will be able to reach thousands of students." – David Lockhart, Educator Support Coach, Tynker.
Aside from daily classroom instruction, teachers will hear from leaders about the impact of CS and making including: Emily Pilloton, Founder and Executive Director, Girls Garage; Paulina Chávez, Actress and Songwriter; Debbie Sterling, Founder and CEO, Goldieblox; and David Wright, Professor of Physics and Astrology, Tidewater Community College.
For more information on Infosys Foundation USA, visit
Infosys.org/usa/ or follow this week’s activities @InfyFoundation #InfyPathfinders.
About Infosys Foundation USA
Infosys Foundation USA was established in 2015 with the mission of expanding computer science and maker education to K-12 students and teachers across the United States, with a specific focus on increasing access to underrepresented communities. The Foundation achieves impact through delivering professional development programs for teachers, partnering with leading nonprofits, and delivering innovative media campaigns that inspire everyone to be creators, not just consumers, of technology.