Pathfinders Summer Institute
Course offered by Peblio and The Processing Foundation
Program Faculty: Esther Hersh (Peblio Founder), Saber Khan (Educational Director Processing Foundation)
An Introduction to Creative Coding with p5.js
“My students really enjoy coding with p5.js because it allows them to interact with coding outside of the abstract and engages them by providing a visible product and immediate feedback. This positive loop has them excited to learn more and has them looking forward to what else the platform can offer.” - Jacob Farkas, Little Red School & Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York City, NY
Course offered by The Beauty and Joy of Computing
Program Faculty: Dan Garcia, PI, University of Berkeley, Tiffany Barnes, PI, North Carolina State University, Marnie Hill, North Carolina State University
Beauty and Joy of Computing
The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) is an introductory computer science curriculum for high school students to get a broad perspective of computing and its impacts. BJC is designed to attract diverse students, including females and underrepresented minorities, by emphasizing the joy and complexity of creating visual computer programs and with critical reflection on the impacts of new computing technology. Through BJC, students will learn about core programming concepts, big data, internet foundations, as well as abstraction, creativity, and social implications of computing.
BJC is an AP Computer Science Principles course, endorsed by the College Board, and supported through NSF-funded projects at North Carolina State University, UC Berkeley, and the Education Development Center. The Snap! visual programming language and research-based curriculum prepare students for the new AP CSP exam; however, attendees are not required to offer BJC as an AP course. Computer Science experience is not required for teachers or students.
"BJC Palooza was extremely helpful for teaching AP CSP this year. My instructor, Sean, was AWESOME. He did a great job of fitting each day to what we needed. The networking/friendships made during the week have been a plus as well. I have found the bi-weekly small groups during the year a great place to get questions answered and troubleshoot classroom issues." - Kim Overman, Ponderosa High School, Shingle Springs, CA
Course Offered by Wonder Workshop
Facilitators Bryan L. Miller Senior Director Global Strategic Outreach, Wonder Workshop
Bringing Wonder to your Classroom with Dash, Dot and Cue!
Every day, classrooms around the world demonstrate the powerful sense of collaboration and hands-on learning that Dash, Dot, and Cue inspire in students. Wonder Workshop’s comprehensive solution will be demonstrated in a hands on program that helps educators with a concrete way to teach an abstract concept–coding; it is the new literacy. Through this program, you will engage and learn how to not only use our robots, but how they can make an impact across all subject areas, in a fun, creative way!
“Wonder Workshops engaging approach to coding and robotics helps my students develop the fundamental skills of collaboration, problem-solving, and persistence through engaging, hands-on activities that enhance lessons in all subjects.” Tiffany Hogg, First-grade teacher, Fredericksburg, PA.
Course offered by Chibitronics
Program Faculty: Susan Brown, Chibitronics Educational Specialist, Chibitronics.com; Ivy Daniels, Teacher, James Madison Middle, an International Baccalaureate MYP World School, Prince George’s County Public Schools, MD; Diane Spann, teacher, Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle, an IB MYP World School, Prince George’s County Public Schools, MD; Natalie Freed, doctoral student, University of Texas Austin, TX and Chibitronics Instructional Designer
Creative Electronics and Coding with Chibitronics Paper Circuits
This course is for everyone, from the “I’ve never created a circuit before!” to “I know a lot about electronics, but how do I connect it to art........?” We will differentiate instruction to meet the interests and experiences of all learners. In this workshop, participants will use paper circuits to explore the intersection of media arts and engineering by teaming up to imagine and build interactive papercraft models of either a “future city” or an interactive storybook. New this summer, we will also be teaming up with the Paper Mechatronics group to help participants add motion to their papercraft inventions. Participants will learn to build expressive circuits on paper with easy to use peel and stick electronic modules (LED stickers), copper tape, and a variety of art and craft materials. They will then program these circuits to be interactive using a reusable microcontroller in a clip form factor, designed to be moved easily between pages. Participants will learn to program their circuits with Microsoft Makecode, a block-based programming language that runs in the browser on phones, tablets, or computers. Finally, they will apply these techniques to a choice of project design challenges, creating tangible paper models to interactively illustrate what they have imagined.
In contrast to traditional electronics materials like wires and breadboards, paper circuits make use of familiar craft materials such as tape, paint, and stickers to build working electronics that look and feel like paper but can come to life with sensing and interactivity through the power of circuitry and code. Because paper is so common and familiar, learners can use the skills and comfort that they already have for creating with paper as a friendly on-ramp into the new world of electronics and programming. And because paper is such a flexible artistic medium, combining it with circuits also broadens ideas about what technology can look and feel like, helping to nurture artistic creativity and personal expression.
"I could not believe how engaging Chibitronics are. I found myself fully immersed in circuit building and programming though paper, typically a non-traditional method. Being introduced to and using Chibitronics has inspired and empowered me as an educator by allowing me to create truly learner-centered experiences for my students that extended beyond my (technology) classroom. Through Chibitronics I am able to provide my students with multiple pathways to creativity (through choice) and cross-curricular learning when lesson planning. When you factor in the power of the Chibi Chip, the possibilities are endless." - Chris Awad, teaching Pre-K through 8th technology in an urban public school in North Jersey
Offered by National Center for Computer Science Education
This course is free for the first 15 eligible and accepted teachers who apply due to a grant from Google and Infosys Foundation USA
Facilitators: To be determined
Pre-requisites: Some programming experience, such as CS Principles
CSAwesome is an Advanced Placement CS A curriculum equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science. The course emphasizes both imperative and object-oriented design and problem solving using Java, covering fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The CSAwesome curriculum is available for free on Runestone Academy, an interactive e-book platform with many hands-on activities, sample AP questions, and programming challenges. The CSAwesome professional development workshop will introduce the curriculum and teacher lesson plans as well as inclusive teaching practices to recruit and retain underrepresented students in computing. The professional development is 45-65 hours total; 5 days (~36 hours) will be completed online during the Pathfinders Summer Institute week with the remaining hours completed as pre-work. Those new to Java will be assigned 20 hours of pre-work in Java specific PD before attending theonline during the Pathfinders Summer Institute week. Follow up support during the 2020-21 academic year is also included, led by the PD facilitator.
“I work for The Schools of McKeel Academy, a charter school district in Lakeland, FL. As the only Computer Science teacher at the high school for the last 5+ years, I have often felt isolated and without support. In the first year of teaching AP CSA, I know that I did not have the resources needed to be as successful as my students deserved. When the opportunity was presented by CSAwesome to participate in their professional development program, their active user group and their excellent curriculum, I jumped at the chance, and I am so glad I did! I have finally found a student-friendly curriculum and a supportive community, both of which are helping us take our CS program to the next level. Their support, guidance and patience rank far above any other PD organizations I’ve ever worked with in my 20+ years of teaching. Thanks, CSAwesome!!” – Teacher, McKeel Academy of Technology
Course offered by Firia Labs
Program Faculty: David Ewing, President of Firia Labs
Firia Labs: Introducing Python with Robotics
By middle school, many students who’ve experienced block-based coding for several years are ready to graduate to a text-based programming language. Even those with no prior exposure to blocks appreciate learning Python, an authentic real-world language. A must-attend session for teachers of: • AP Computer Science Principles • HS Introductory Programming • Gifted Enrichment • Middle School CS Elective • Makerspace / SparkLab • Math and Science co-curricular labs • Coding and Robotics Clubs Participants will program the micro:bit and Firia Labs’ CodeBot using CodeSpace, an online platform that integrates engaging curriculum modules with a powerful Python development environment. Students are guided through a series of projects where they write Python code to interact with a device. Each project presents a practical, meaningful challenge, expanding the student’s understanding of each hardware system while teaching them the Python programming language one step at a time. Participants will take home a Jumpstart classroom 10-pack, one CodeBot, and a full curriculum with teachers manuals, pacing guides, standards alignment, lesson plans, project remixes, rubrics, assessment, co-curricular labs, and student resources. The physical computing and project-based learning approach appeals to students otherwise uninterested in learning programming, as they seek relevance, meaning, and real-world value from instruction. Get your hands on some real Python code, and experience how physical computing can level-up the engagement for your students!
"Firia is doing great things for education! By the way, CodeSpace:Python is a hit with my students; they love it! They come racing into my room each day, get out their assigned box and are immediately ready to work. (I bought the photo box set like you had at the training for the Micro:bits - they work great). When it is time for me to take the students to lunch many days we are late because they keep begging me "Just one more minute...just one more minute" as they are working on their activities. They are so engaged that they literally don't want to leave. It is a joy seeing my students so excited to learn!" - Laura Collins, M.Ed., Discovery Middle School, Madison AL
Course offered by BootUp Professional Development
Facilitators Brenda Bass, Professional Development Facilitator; Jared O’Leary, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development; McKay Perkins, Professional Development Facilitator
Interest-driven Coding through Scratch and ScratchJr
Coding should be elementary – everywhere. But today, many schools across the nation are not teaching their students an essential, creative, and collaborative literacy – the ability to code. Worse, even as the popularity of coding grows, the equity gap is growing even faster.
BootUp empowers all elementary students by immersing them in practical and imaginative curricula that extends beyond coding. Our professional development initiatives give students access to important 21st-century skills – particularly girls and underrepresented minority students. With BootUp Professional Development, now, coding is elementary.
BootUp has worked with over 300 elementary schools in several states across the nation, reaching over 170,000 students through elementary CS initiatives. Our professional development teaches educators how to engage students with easy-to-use, block-based programming languages and interest-driven projects to create and share interactive stories, animations, games, art, music, and more. In 2018, BootUp was awarded the STEMworks by WestEd “accomplished program” designation for its design principles and rubric standards.
The professional development workshops will discuss the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge needed to facilitate over a dozen interest-driven projects in both Scratch and ScratchJr. Each workshop will discuss topics such as why teach coding, assessing elementary coding and CS, integrating coding projects in other subject areas, project-based learning, fostering an inclusive culture, differentiation, and communicating about computing. Teachers will walk away with free access to hundreds of lessons, projects, and resources to get started with their elementary coding initiative.
“Coding is an essential skill for our students. The computational thinking skills gained from learning to code prepare students to adapt to what they will encounter in the real world. This pilot aligns with our district vision of innovation and excellence.”- Vincent Ardizzone, Ogden SD STEM Admin
Course offered by KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
Program Faculty: Carol Goodgame; Steve Goodgame, KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
Junior Botball Challenge
The Junior Botball© Challenge is a Computer Science (CS) focused education program that provides reusable robotics equipment, standards aligned curriculum and professional development for elementary and middle school educators (K-8) to enable them to teach their students computer science and computational thinking concepts coupled with real-life applications of the engineering design process. Attendees do not need any prior CS or programming experience. The curriculum is aligned to Common Core math, Next Generation Science and CSTA standards and vertically aligned to concepts and skills in middle and high school.
The inquiry-based program focuses on discrete programming skills and engineering design concepts designed to improve computational skills and promote mastery. The program is currently being successfully implemented in over 1000 elementary schools with a focus on education and impacting all of the students in the classroom or extracurricular club or camp.
In addition, students and teachers can participate in one-day public events where student teams showcase their robot designs and challenge solutions.
The program is sustainable as schools can reuse the equipment allowing for continued participation. The focus on education (computer science, engineering and math standards) coupled with the sustainability and the low cost of the equipment, which includes activity mats, curriculum, and professional development make it easier for all teachers in a school and not just the STEM, gifted or technology teachers that traditionally participate in these types of activities.
Teachers attending the professional development workshop with receive the curriculum, a robot kit, activity mats, teaching strategies and everything needed to implement the program. They will receive hands on training implementing the curriculum. A module of Artbotics will be part of the professional development.
"I came to the Pathfinders Junior Botball Challenge workshop with zero experience with coding, robots or teaching computer science concepts. After the first session, I knew this was something that I could be successful at and was eager to bring it back to my elementary classroom. It was an AMAZING five days! I left with equipment, curriculum and so many great teaching skills that it pays dividends with not only my class, but also my weekly robotics club I started that has now grown to more than 50 students." - Jennie Clement, John K. Hubbard Elementary School, Noble, OK.
Course offered by Maker Educator Collective
Program Faculty: Adam Maltese, Co-Director, Maker Educator Collective; Casey Shea, Co-Director, Maker Educator Collective
Maker Educator Collective Bootcamp
In this online program, we will develop the skills of educators who seek to incorporate making into their pedagogical toolkit. Our original Bootcamp based on our research and collective years of experience working with K-12 students and teachers who wanted to start on, or advance on the path toward being a proficient maker educator. To achieve this in an online format we will utilize different educational approaches to interweave skill development and discussions of maker pedagogy through a series of at-home and online exercises. Our sessions will provide you with skills and experiences with engineering and design challenges, digital manufacturing, microcontrollers, electronics and a variety of other inexpensive low- and high-tech materials and equipment. We will engage you in thinking about and exploring maker pedagogy that connects with a range of content standards, includes assessment and documentation, and is designed to increase accessibility.
For educators just starting this journey we will walk you through developing goals for engaging students in making and discussion around how to get your program up and running, including budgeting for equipment and materials. For educators looking to further develop existing skills and knowledge, we will provide you with a set of unique experiences to achieve appropriate levels of challenge to advance your skills and knowledge, provide time for discussion about curriculum planning, assessment and work to deepen your pedagogical practices. Even with the online format, we believe attendees who complete the Online Bootcamp will leave with the resources, skills, and connections to employ maker pedagogies when school starts. Prior making, computer science or programming experience is not required, but welcomed.
“It has not been often in my 28 years of education that I have experienced such a deeply life-changing professional development.”
“(Making) is the educational experience that is life-changing. This is what education should be like for each and every one of our students.”
Course offered by Citizen Schools
Facilitators Kyle Conley, VP-Impact; Amy Hoffmaster, Managing Director of Curriculum; Shanay Reed, Program Manager
Making Their Future: Deeper Learning with STEM Experts
Join us as we explore the intersection of project-based learning and external content expertise in this program designed for teachers interested in the Catalyst program. This program will allow participants to explore science units through a new lens by exploring the impact of adding hands-on learning strategies and an industry expert to the lessons. At Citizen Schools, we are working to democratize our education system by eliminating the opportunity gap that leaves many students without the opportunity to develop mentoring relationships with STEM professionals. This program will dig into curricula designed specifically to build middle schoolers' excitement about learning STEM content through the support of a volunteer STEM professional passionate about their content area.
"My students were really engaged in the project from beginning to end. The project brought out creativity that I have never seen before. Not only were the students engaged; but they were able to work with others, who aren't necessarily like them, to complete their videos and models. The project reached students on all academic levels. My volunteers also helped out tremendously; whether it was giving a helping hand by holding cameras; giving feedback during research or modeling, or just connecting with the students." -Antia Thomas, Githens Middle School, Durham NC
Course Offered by Microsoft
Facilitators: Jacqueline Russell, Microsoft MakeCode
Microsoft MakeCode (http://aka.ms/makecode) is a computing education platform that aims to combine the magic of making with the power of code, in a way that engages every student in computational thinking. In this workshop, attendees can expect to get hands-on creating MakeCode projects with the micro:bit, Circuit Playground Express, MakeCode Arcade and more. The themes of this course include: inclusive computing education practices, project-based teaching and learning, and integration of computing topics across domains. The first 3 days will focus on skills and confidence building with example classroom projects and activities. The last day will culminate in an original lesson or project design and presentation. This course is appropriate for upper elementary through high school grade levels, and designed for teachers new to computer science. No prior experience required, and all curriculum, resources, tools, materials and devices will be provided. Educators will need to bring their own laptops however.
“This class was phenomenal! I have a toolbox full of ideas and techniques to take back to my classroom! Facilitator was fantastic. She accommodated her instruction for all of the learning levels in the class”
– Mrs. Kristy Braaksma, Chandler Unified School District, AZ
Course offered by National Center for Computer Science Education, College of St. Scholastica
Facilitator: Geoff Boyer, Mobile CSP Master Teacher
Note: The first 5 eligible and accepted teachers from Massachusetts who agree to teach the course as AP in 2020-21 will receive a grant from the College Board and CZI to fund this course.
Mobile CSP provides a complete curriculum and professional development that engages students and teachers in learning the principles of computer science through building socially useful mobile apps - reaching students where they live, on their mobile devices. Students complete 6 units, each of which includes lessons on app tutorials and creative projects, big ideas in computer science, and the impact of computing. Lesson plans and a teacher dashboard are provided to easily implement the curriculum and track student progress. In 2018, a question bank will be available for assessments as well. The Mobile CSP curriculum is endorsed by the College Board for the AP Computer Science Principles course, which was the largest launch of an AP course in history.
This Mobile CSP Pathfinders program will provide an overview of Mobile CSP including hands-on experience with MIT App Inventor, a blocks-based language for programming mobile apps. Teachers will also learn and practice inclusive and effective strategies for creating a classroom environment where all students can learn computer science. Teachers will be mentored by experienced Mobile CSP master teachers during the summer and academic year while teaching the course. Teachers will join this warm and supportive community that includes over 700 teachers and 30,000 students throughout the U.S.
“I have worked with (other curricula) and Mobile Computer Science Principles stands above them all. The community that they have created is amazingly supportive and always there to help others that have questions. For many instructors, they are the only ones that teach computer science at their site, but true collaboration and support is only a single click away. I can personally assure you that the curriculum created by their excellent team is truly engaging, academically solid, and aligned with the College Board. Everything you need to be successful is ready for you to use and modify as you wish.”
-Ray Kinne, San Diego High School in California
Course offered by Mouse
Program Faculty: Carlos Leon, Mouse; Chelien Brown, Mouse
Mouse Scratch Creative Computing
The Scratch Creative Computing workshop focuses on a style of learning which supports the connection of a student’s personal interests and values to computer science. Creative computing draws upon their own imagination to express themselves with code. The curriculum consists of over 50 hours of instructional content that allows students to create animations, stories, and games with Scratch, a visual block-based programming language and tool created at MIT.
Through hands-on activities, all learners will be introduced to the basics of block-based programming, computational thinking, and creativity through Harvard’s Scratch Creative Computing guide. Participants then dive deeper in Scratch game design and learn how to use technology as a force of good through our Mouse Serious Games course.
This course can be integrated into a stand-alone technology block or integrated into math, social studies, science, art, or language subjects.
"I have been going to PD for 36 years. This is one of the top five ever! My confidence in teaching computer science has increased 1000 fold. This is due to the teaching style of Mouse facilitators and the curriculum. I can't believe how much I have learned about Scratch and programming in 4 days! " Jo Reed, Scroggins Elementary School, Houston TX, Pathfinders Summer Institute 2018 Participant
Program Faculty: Tom Bijesse, Mouse
Mouse Video Creator
In this age of Photoshop, social networks, and the spread of fake news, visual literacy is more important than ever. Mouse’s Video Creator course aims to equip students with the basic skills and insights needed to navigate today’s multimedia landscape by combining the knowledge about filmmaking, viral media, and animation and create media with a social purpose.
Throughout the week, workshop participants will learn shot and composition techniques for creating impactful images, create storyboards to plan for longer media pieces, practice recording good-quality sound, and combine various multimedia assets together to create meaningful visual stories. Finally, educators will dive into our making ethos of using technology as a force of good through by building a capstone visual media project that covers topics such as viral media, animation and activism in the social media age.
This course can be run as a stand-alone technology or making course during or after school or integrated into core STEM or humanities subject areas.
"I love that every time I participate in a Mouse workshop, you provide tools and materials I can implement in the classroom with minor modifications but you also challenge me to take your materials and make them work with my students’ design and programming skills.” Luna Ramirez, Information Technology High School, Queens, NY
Course offered by Concord Consortium & Georgia Tech (Schools of Industrial Design and Interactive Computing)
Facilitators: Colin Dixon, Research Associate, Concord Consortium; HyunJoo Oh, Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech
Bring your imagination to design and build machines using different kinds of paper, cardboard, and other craft materials. We will introduce Paper Mechatronics–an integrative medium combining mechanical, electrical, and computational ideas and engineering with papercrafting, using our design tools and prototyping methods for construction. New this summer, we will also be teaming up with the Chibitronics group to help participants learn and add paper circuits to their PaperMech inventions.
You will explore an online motion library and find inspirations in the surrounding environment to invent your own machines. Combining hands-on and simulated modeling, you'll conceive of a movement, then prototype a working machine, advancing to more complicated levels of design and engineering. During the studio, we'll provide papercrafting techniques and various craft materials as well as electronic extensions and programmable components to inspire your work.
Our goal is to provide a hands-on experience and an approach in the design and engineering of expressive paper machines that can be adapted to other settings and environments using our basic tools and techniques. The program will culminate in a show-and-tell demo and discussion about the importance of exploratory construction as a means of creative thinking and learning.
"PaperMech is so neatly organized and accessible that I have since used it spontaneously to engage young robotics students during our open studio hours. They are able to make choices and get started using the technology within minutes. The creations they make are always an excellent balance of technical achievement and imagination. It empowers students of all ages to be creators with technology rather than simply consumers of technology."
Zack Weaver, Boulder Library Makerspace, Boulder, CO
Course offered by Project Invent
Program Faculty: Connie Liu, Project Invent; Kellie Ojeda, Project Invent
Project Invent: Making & Coding for Social Good
Join Project Invent to learn how to bring impactful making and coding to your school. We teach design thinking, engineering, and entrepreneurship as tools to solve real-world problems. Through this, we've increased female involvement in engineering and making at our partner schools by 250%! Students in our program have developed everything from a smart wallet that helps the blind detect bill denominations to a steering wheel attachment that prevents drowsy driving. We fully embrace the learn-by-doing model, so we will prepare you for mentoring invention...by having you invent!
Participants will go from passion to product to pitch and experience all of the roadblocks and challenges that students will experience throughout the year. We will show you how to use physical computing platforms like Arduino, Microbit, and Makey Makey to program and build inventions, and we will introduce novel frameworks for how to make programming and circuitry approachable for students of all ages. You will leave this professional development with a strong set of tools for how to bring making and programming into your classroom by empowering your students to tackle real problems in their own communities.
"Dynamic team of facilitators who created an optimum learning environment. I'm in awe at the gift you've given us and your commitment to education. One of the best quality professional developments I've ever attended." - Anonymous, Pathfinders Summer 2019
Organization: RoboGarden Inc.
RoboGarden: The Learning by Coding Game
“RoboGarden Professional Development program enabled me to teach coding classes without prior knowledge to any programming language. RoboGarden supports STEAM education through following programming concepts in education, it is not just coding but also fundamental 21st century competency skills.” Jen Perry, Teach SDGs Ambassador, St. Marguerite School
Course offered by Tynker
Program Faculty: David Lockhart: Educator Support Coach: Tynker; Daniel Rezac: Senior Education Partnerships Lead: Tynker
Tynker Coding for Kids
Introducing the Tynker Master Educator PD! This training is designed for all teachers – whether you are brand new to coding or have years of experience. You will learn skills to bring coding education to your students in a deep yet engaging manner. Modules will include introductions to Tynker’s platform, curriculum, and approach to assessment; foundational Computer Science concepts; coding pedagogy; best practices for building inclusive classrooms; and ideas for fostering creativity and a Maker mindset. You will learn how to get your students excited with physical computing projects like flying drones and programming micro:bits . Mini electives will be offered for teachers interested in diving deeper into elementary or middle school curricula as well as for supplemental off-screen computational thinking activities. Teachers will model classroom interactions and develop skills with group discussions, exercises, and personal reflections. Attendees will leave this PD with the knowledge, experience, and resources to effectively support their students on the path to coding mastery.
"These facilitators were absolutely fabulous. They were accessible and very knowledgeable. They made me feel comfortable and encouraged me to do my best work. I would definitely recommend to my colleagues to complete a workshop with them." - Masani Stark, NYC, Pathfinders Summer Institute 2019 Participant
How to apply
For any queries related to Pathfinders Institute application process, please contact us at
Monday to Friday
8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CT
888-499-7700 or 763-447-3777