Course offered by The Beauty and Joy of Computing
Program Faculty: Tiffany Barnes, North Carolina State University; Dan Garcia, University of California, Berkeley; Marnie Hill, North Carolina State University
The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC) is an introductory computer science curriculum for high school students to develop a broad perspective of commuting 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 along with critical reflection on the impacts of new computing technology. Through BJC, students will learn about creative development, data, algorithms and programming, computer systems and networks, and the impact of computing on society.
BJC is an AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course, endorsed by the College Board, and supported through NSF-funded projects at North Carolina State University, University of California Berkeley, and the Education Development Center. The Snap! visual programming language and research-based curriculum prepare students for 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 is an open source curriculum and the links to all learning materials tools will be provided to participants virtually.
"The instructors. Both Alex and John were great! They brought an energy to the PD that kept me interested and coming back everyday excited to learn more." - Drake Ellis, Lebanon High School, Lebanon, TN, Pathfinders Virtual Summer Institute 2020.
Course offered by Code for Fun
Program Faculty: Servane Demol, Executive Director, Founder of Code for Fun / Former Computer Science Engineer in Tech Companies (Facebook) and Andrei Grigoriev, Director of Curricula, Former Computer Science College instructor
Code for Fun: Computer Science Complete Course – Grade 3 to 5
More than just a coding program, Code for Fun’s Computer Science Complete Course is specifically designed for elementary teachers and will cover all five pillars of computer science: Computing Systems, Data Analysis, Network and Internet, Algorithms and Programming, Impact of Computing as highlighted by the K-12 CS Framework. If you are an elementary school teacher and want to engage your students in a fun, inquiry-based learning experience that helps them advance their computational thinking and problem-solving skills, this course is for you!
The practical training workshops are focused on hands-on activities for grades 3, 4 and 5, with a good mix of unplugged activities and Scratch programming projects. We strongly believe that computer science education should not be a standalone subject, therefore, our curricula integrate with other subjects like Math, Science, Language and Arts and are aligned with K-12 CS Framework standards and K-12 California CS Standards.
Follow-up support is included through our online group, where teachers are encouraged to ask questions, participate in discussions and communicate their feedback. Code for fun has worked with many districts over the last eight years. Our team’s wealth of industry and educational backgrounds help make the students’ learning experience fun and interactive.
Participants will have all needed materials for a full academic year of teaching in each grade (32 hours of class time per grade), including teachers’ manuals and slides (available for download from our website) as well as student workbooks (shipped to trainees).
"This class offered my students an opportunity to learn a new skill in a fun and creative way! They were able to engage with technology in a meaningful way beyond their normal academic assignments and explore the creativity technology has to offer." Jennifer Haller - Brookvale Elementary School, CA
Grades 8-12 (Python with Robots with CodeBot)
Course offered by Firia Labs
Program Faculty: David Ewing, President; Geri Ewing, CEO Firia Labs
CodeSpace: Physical and Virtual Robotics in Python with Certification Pathway
Teach Python with engaging Robotics projects that truly motivate student mastery! If you’re ready to take your CS program to the next level with Python and physical computing, or are looking for the best way to prepare students for MTA 98-381 Python Certification, this course is for you.
We’ll start with beginner-level Python coding, working with physical CodeBots. You’ll experience the excitement of breathing life into robotics hardware as your coding skills increase. From there we’ll move on to the CodeSpace Simulation Environment, where you will complete a sampling of challenging missions designed to prepare students for the MTA 98-381 “Introduction to Programming Using Python” exam.
All along the way, Firia Labs’ instructors will lovingly guide you on your coding journey. Your instructors are professional Python programmers and veteran CS Educators – a delightful and fun mix! Each participant will receive a 4-pack of CodeBots to use during the training, and beyond! Pre-requisites: Although new to Python is perfectly appropriate, new to CS would not be appropriate for this course. Teacher should have some CS or related STEM experience.
“I loved the simplicity of CodeSpace. I was very much intimidated on being a first time Python coder but I have to say I absolutely love it. I appreciated the guidance that the program offers as well as ways of expanding our knowledge. It teaches us to think through our code, be comfortable with making mistakes, and all with a physical component. Accessibility is my priority as we continue to expand our CS program and Firia Labs will be a partner in our endeavor. Thank you so much”!!! - Maria Camarena, Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, CA
Course offered by Chibitronics
Program Faculty: Chibitronics Education Team - Natalie Freed and Susan Brown Chibitronics Ambassadors - Ivy Daniels, Chris Awad, Holly Manswell, Shoshanna Cohen, and Ta’Kia Toomer
Creative Electronics with Chibitronics Paper Circuits
Paper circuits make use of familiar craft materials such as tape, paint, and stickers to build electronics projects that look and feel like paper, but can come to life through the power of circuitry and code. Learners can use these materials as a friendly on-ramp into a new world of technological making. Because paper is such a flexible artistic medium, combining it with circuits broadens ideas about what technology can look and feel like, helping to nurture artistic creativity and personal expression.
In this workshop, you will learn to build expressive circuits on paper with easy to use electronic stickers, conductive tapes, and craft materials. You will then program these circuits to be interactive using the Chibi Chip microcontroller and Microsoft Makecode, a block-based programming language that runs on phones, tablets, or computers. Finally, you will apply these techniques to a choice of project design challenges, creating tangible paper models to interactively illustrate what you have imagined.
Been there, done that?
Ready to go deeper with paper circuits? Take your paper engineering ideas up a level with new papercraft techniques and microcontroller programming concepts. We will continue embedding mechanical elements to our work, touching on text-based coding in the process. Paper engineering plus physical computing plus mechanical automation can take your paper city from villages and hamlets in history to future cities off planet to infinite imagined hubs of humanity. Build a city that can support many aspects of your content area! You will receive a kit of materials by mail that includes an electronics and coding workbook, conductive tape, electronic stickers, a Chibi Chip microcontroller, hobby motors, reed switch, batteries, and papercraft materials.
“If I had three words to describe the experience, I would say it was inspiring, supportive, and invigorating! I spent three days collaborating with like-minded, passionate educators, exploring the world of paper circuits with Chibitronics. We learned how to teach our students using the basic circuit templates using copper tape and LED stickers. Then we moved onto using the Chibi Chip programmable microcontroller to learn how to program the different circuits. As a culminating activity, we created a light-up city. I definitely think what I learned will help me reach my goal of increasing more female students in my classes.” - Khamphet Pease, 6th grade teacher at Wilson Middle School, San Diego.
Course offered by Mouse
Program Faculty: Anderson Emerole, Tom Bijesse and Renae Williams from Mouse
Cross-Curricular Computational Thinking with Scratch Coding
In this course, you will integrate Computational Thinking across the curriculum by leveraging the Scratch coding platform. Computer Science and Coding does not have to be its own course! With Computational Thinking your ELA, Social Studies, Art, etc. lessons will include Computer Science learnings while also allowing Computer Science lessons to support other subjects! This course is for any teacher, teaching any subject.
The curriculum designed specifically for this course brings together the Scratch Creative Computing curriculum with a research-based curriculum of integrated Computational Thinking to expand a student’s creativity and increase the educator’s ability to further hone their Computational Thinking skills.
No resources except a device (laptop, chromebook, tablet) with an Internet connection is needed. Pre-requisites for teachers: Basic computer competencies such as Google Drive, email, and web browsing.
"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
Course offered by National Center for Computer Science Education (NCCSE)
Program Faculty: Pauline Lake, NCCSE and TBD
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 40-60 hours total; 5 days (~40 hours) will be completed during the event 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 the in-person PD. Follow up support during the 2021-22 academic year is also included and led by the PD facilitator. Prerequisites for teachers - Some programming experience, such as CS Principles.
“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!!” - Rebecca Stacey, McKeel Academy of Technology, FL
Course offered by Quorum Outreach and Research Foundation
Program Faculty: Andreas Stefik, Ph.D, Associate Professor CS, University of Nevada Las Vegas and 2016 White House Champion of Change; Sina Bahram, President, Prime Access Consulting and Danya Borowski, Facilitator, Washington State School for the Blind
Experience Programming in Quorum (EPIQ) 2021
Experience Programming Quorum provides professional development for K-12 teachers wanting to learn more computer science and to bring that back to students in their district. Teachers this year will learn 2D and 3D game programming using Quorum Studio and the Quorum programming language. They will leave having created a 3D computer game of their own design. Along with this, teachers will have full access to a WCAG 2.1 AA compliant (accessible) Computer Science Principles course, created in collaboration with Code.org, and 100s of other references and lessons. All materials were created or vetted by teachers and all content. Our community cares deeply about including all students, including those with disabilities, and all content is accessible to all. Teachers can come in with no experience and join our novice track or come in with experience and join the advanced track. Most teachers that come to EPIQ represent middle school and up.
“EPIQ is the best professional development experience I have ever had. One-on-one and group support is provided throughout the entire week, then complimented by ongoing support via the Google group as well as the Quorum Team directly. ALL skills levels are welcomed as well as celebrated. Accessibility is emphasized throughout the entire experience, including special lectures on related topics (Accessible museum design, accessibility teams within social media, STEM in K-12 classrooms, etc.). Last but not least the amount of instruction is intense yet fun and rewarding”. - Gina Fugate, Maryland School for the Blind
“As a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for the last 14 years I have attended the EPIQ Programming Conference multiple times and have trained many of my students using the knowledge I gained there. EPIQ has been a wonderful opportunity for my blind and low vision students to learn about an area that was previously inaccessible to them. Quorum has been designed to allow completely blind and low vision users to learn code in an environment that doesn't oversimplify things for them. The Quorum curriculum introduces students to coding concepts in a way that challenges them but does not overwhelm. 2020's virtual conference went extremely well and allowed people from literally all over the world to participate. Attending EPIQ, learning about the latest developments in the Quorum Programming Language, and sharing those features with my students is something I look forward to yearly”. - Steve Raparelli, Seattle Public Schools, Washington.
Course offered by Micro:bit Educational Foundation
Program Faculty: Katie Henry, M.Ed, Micro:bit Educational Foundation
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation is dedicated to inspiring every child to create their best digital future. In this comprehensive micro:bit workshop, educators will become both a confident creator and instructional designer with the micro:bit. This course will focus on coding the micro:bit using MakeCode, creating advanced projects with accessories (neopixels, servo motors and more), and planning lessons to integrate digital creativity across your curriculum. This course is ideal for educators who want to deepen their understanding of the micro:bit and MakeCode. Learn from expert practitioners using these tools in a variety of settings, including in-person and remote teaching, receive plenty of guidance and time to plan for your own classroom, and explore dozens of powerful micro:bit resources including Plushie & Micropal for machine learning, MicroBlocks, and TinkerCad. No prior experience required. Resources, tools, and materials will be provided. Participants will receive 20 V2 micro:bits and other components - including NeoPixels - for their students. Educators will need to bring their own laptop.
“The micro:bit is exactly what I was looking for to not only introduce coding at my middle school, but also leverage creativity and ingenuity for students to bring their ideas to life. This course offered easy entry points that can build to other possibilities that work across the curriculum. I left feeling inspired and full of ideas and resources that I could immediately implement with or without the micro:bit itself”. - Diane Horvath, Technology Integration Specialist Medfield Public Schools, MA
Course offered by Joylabz/Makey Makey
Program Faculty: Colleen Graves and Tom Heck and Mike Carroll
Invention Literacy with Makey Makey and Scrappy Circuits
This Makey Makey intensive will blend our dynamic in-person workshop with our new online resources for teachers. Participants will learn the basics of circuits and Makey Makey with hands-on exploration, then begin to craft and code their own inventions. We will further delve into the world of invention literacy by building Scrappy Circuits! This virtual workshop will build off the basics of electronics and cardboard building, and help teachers learn how to create expressive interactive art, hack recycled toys, create alarms with office supplies, and even learn to make pixel art fingerpaint! Makey Makey blends the best of the maker world by sharing very hands on building techniques for the ultimate physical computing inventions.
All supplies for this course (Makey Makey and supplemental supplies) will be provided by us and shipped to you so you can learn virtually in real time with these experienced virtual educators. You will want to have some recyclables handy so you can realize the full potential of the world as your construction kit!
“I loved the contacts I've made in this course. It was nice to meet others that want to teach Makey Makey and everyone sharing their ideas and suggestions! I really liked the small groups to really help each other even though we lived all very far away from each other! Also I really liked that this course pushed my own learning and experimenting! As a teacher it was great to actually make the circuits, switches, and sensors. It pushed me to play more and learn more about scratch. I think by doing each assignment myself I can see how I can teach kids the same way and make sure to get them the time to share their ideas with each other, time to create, and time to ask questions and help each other too.” - Virtual Workshop Participant
Course offered by KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
Program Faculty: Carol Goodgame & Steve Goodgame, KISS Institute for Practical Robotics
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 will 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, Indiana University; Casey Shea, Sonoma County Office of Education
Maker Educator Collective Online Bootcamp+
In this online program, we will develop the skills of educators who seek to incorporate making into their pedagogical toolkit and those who look to take their making to another level. 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. We have been working a lot to think about use of common materials and sustainability and we will discuss these ideae throughout our sessions.
Prior making, computer science or programming experience is not required, but welcomed. If you 're an alumnus of our program or come with plenty of experience, we welcome that too!
“It has not been often in my 28 years in education that I have experienced such a deeply life-changing professional development.” Principal, San Francisco Unified School District
Course Offered by Microsoft
Program Faculty: Jacqueline Russell, Microsoft MakeCode and Kelli Etheredge, Director of Teaching & Learning Insight to Execution (i2e)
Microsoft MakeCode AP CS Principles
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 course, attendees will get prepared to teach the AP CS Principles with Microsoft MakeCode curriculum (https://makecode.com/csp). The curriculum and the supporting professional development has been approved by the national College Board who administers the Advanced Placement program (https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-computer-science-principles/classroom-resources/curricula-pedagogical-support). This course is appropriate for high school educators who will be teaching the AP Computer Science Principles course, and who may be 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.
“I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this workshop! I learned so much and I loved how well paced it was and how all the learning was hands-on!” – Middle School STEM Teacher who attended MakeCode virtual workshop at the Pathfinders Summer Institute 2020
Course offered by RoboGarden Inc.
Program Faculty: Betina voa Staa and Viviana Carvalho
RoboGarden Professional Development Program
“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: Andy Kuemmel: High School CS Teacher; Author, College Board CSP Course Planning/Pacing Guide and Sample Syllabus; Leandra McGriff: Tynker Educator Community Specialist and David Lockhart: Tynker Educator Support Coach
Tynker's AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) course brings Tynker’s award-winning pedagogical approach to this introductory curriculum for high school students. Join us to get into the driver’s seat with our CSP Professional Development that prepares you to teach the Tynker AP CSP curriculum at your school or district. You will learn to support students as they invent their own applications, analyze and visualize data, practice pair-programming, research computing innovations, understand computing's impact on society, and more. Gain new tools to broaden participation in computing at your school and practice modeling common computational thinking practices. You will get a deep understanding of Tynker’s course materials and learn foundational concepts of computing as you get hands-on with the popular real-world programming language, Python. Prior knowledge of computer programming is not required.
The College Board has endorsed Tynker’s AP CSP course that ensures that the syllabus and all components including this training are aligned to the College Board Curricular Framework. You will leave with a thorough understanding of CSP’s Big Ideas, scoring rubrics, and Tynker’s advanced classroom management and distance learning features. Instruction will be a combination of group lessons, breakout sessions, and independent study. Valuable Tynker and College Board resources will be shared with all participants, including test resources, daily videos, classroom topic questions, CSP teacher communities, and much more.
The Tynker platform is used at over 90,000 schools to teach coding. Our complete PreK-12 curriculum includes 1,000+ hours of scaffolded lessons and has been used by over 60 million students from 150 countries. We’d love to have you join us!
"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 my colleagues to complete a workshop with them." - Masani Stark, NYC, Pathfinders Summer Institute 2019 Participant
Course Offered by Wonder Workshop
Program Faculty: Bryan L. Miller, Senior Director Global Strategic Outreach, Wonder Workshop
Wonder Workshop: Bringing Wonder to your Classroom with Dash
Every day, classrooms around the world demonstrate the powerful sense of collaboration and hands-on learning that Dash inspires 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! Educators participating will receive a Dash robot of their own, along with accessories, curriculum, and our new virtual robot and coding focused learning management system, Dash's Neighborhood with Class Connect. Teachers will need to have a basic understanding of using a computer/device.
“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.” - TiffanyHogg, First-grade teacher, Fredericksburg, PA.
For any queries related to the 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
Course offered by Project Invent
Program Faculty: Kellie Ojeda, Director of Programs & Jillian Harmon, Program Manager, Project Invent
Project Invent: Arduino & Micro:bit for Social Good
Join Project Invent to bring impactful making and coding to your school through using Arduino and Micro:bit! We teach Arduino and Micro:bit as tools to solve real-world problems. 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. Through our focus on social good and community impact, we've increased female involvement in engineering and making at our partner schools by 250%.
Throughout the week, you will work with Jimmy, an airplane mechanic who became blind in his 20s, to learn about the challenges he faces, and design an invention to help the blind. Participants will go from idea to pitch, and you will learn by doing. We will show you how to use Arduino and Micro:bit as a platform for invention, and we will introduce ways to make programming and circuitry approachable for students of all ages. You will receive a kit in the mail with an Arduino or Micro:bit, over 30 sensors, lights, and motors, various prototyping supplies, and a physical booklet with over 30 activities to use in your classroom. You will leave this professional development with a strong set of tools for creating real-world context around making and programming for social good.
"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 Teacher Participant, Pathfinders Summer 2019