Pathfinders Winter Institute
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.
"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 Carnegie Mellon University
Program Faculty: Erin Cawley, Program Manager, CMU CS Academy
CMU CS Academy is an online, graphics-based computer science curriculum taught in Python provided by Carnegie Mellon University. We create novel, world-class Computer Science education for your classroom. This training will cover our CS1, intro to programming in Python through graphics and animations curriculum. This course will be free for the first 30 US public school teachers who apply given 100% funding from Infosys Foundation USA and Carnegie Mellon University).
While the CMU CS Academy is designed to be self-contained, with interactive notes, auto-graded exercises, and assessment templates for Creative Tasks, our free Three-Day CMU CS Academy training is designed to give teachers foundational knowledge of programming and computer science on the CMU CS Academy platform, some working knowledge of our CS1 course, and some tips and tricks on best practices for teaching computer science. Teachers who have never taught Python or computer science benefit most from the training sessions, but even experienced CS teachers will benefit from the CS pedagogical sessions interwoven with the course content sessions. Our staff here at CMU covers all of the major topics in the curriculum, spends time exploring the website and also spends time on topics like 'CS Pedagogy' and 'Building Interest in CS at your School'. There are also opportunities to collaborate with other educators as well as the opportunity for individual support by our CMU CS Academy Support Staff, comprised of students here at CMU. This professional development session will be offered in a blended format with some of the materials offered asynchronously and coming together for live virtual sessions throughout the 3 days.
"The training was wonderfully executed. I really enjoyed the blended training option, as it allowed me to stop the videos at certain times to gain a better understanding of the topic and skill that was being shown. I can't say enough good things about the small breakout sessions. A lot of really good information was discussed in these sessions from fellow teachers all over the country who shared a plethora of different ideas on how to teach CS to students. The entire training was a great experience. It is clearly evident of the amount of time, thought, and passion that has gone into the CMU CS Academy." - CS Educator Franklin Regional School District Pittsburgh, PA
Course offered by Chibitronics
Program Faculty: Susan Brown, Instructional Specialist, Chibitronics; Ivy Daniels, Teacher James Madison Middle, Upper Marlboro, MD; Christopher Awad, Teacher, Paterson, NJ; Mae-Lynn Smith, MLIS, Community Education Building, Wilmington DE; Khamphet Pease, Teacher, Wilson Middle School, San Diego, CA; Shoshanna Cohen, K-5 S.T.E.A.M. Specialist, Seattle, Washington
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 they 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 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, batteries, and papercraft materials.
"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
Course offered by National Center for CS Education (NCCSE)
Program Faculty: Pauline Lake, NCCSE
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. This CSAwesome professional development workshop will be an Introduction to Java. Participants will be introduced to the CSAwesome curriculum (units 1 & 2 only) and teacher lesson plans as well as inclusive teaching practices to recruit and retain underrepresented students in computing. The professional development will be 3 days (~24 hours). Teachers will be led by an experienced CSAwesome facilitator. Teachers interested in learning more after completing the 3 days will be encouraged to sign up for one of our immersion PDs (45 hours) in summer 2021. Teachers must have 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 Tynker
Program Faculty: David Lockhart, Educator Support Coach & Daniel Rezac, Senior Lead Education Partnerships,Tynker
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
Course offered by BootUp Professional Development
Program Faculty: Brenda Bass, PD Facilitator; & McKay Perkins, PD Facilitator
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
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 Mouse
Program Faculty: Gianna Colson, Mouse
Our students are consumers of media on multiple online platforms. Students in this course learn how to become producers of online video content. This course culminates in a final social justice project which asks them to plan, shoot, edit, and promote a PSA that either: organizes, teaches, or shares meaningful information via a short video.
Throughout the week teachers will learn how to facilitate a course on filmmaking, viral media, and animation for the internet. Teachers will also learn and explore the ethics and safety of consuming and producing digital content online to ensure that we promote creating with a conscience.
This curriculum can be utilized as a stand-alone course, integrated into a core content area, or as an after-school program.
"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 JoyLabz / Makey Makey
Program Faculty: Colleen Graves and Tom Heck
This intensive professional development course is designed as a blend of our dynamic (normally in-person) Makey Makey PD workshop with an introduction to a new collection of at-home resources for educators and their students. Makey Makey is the classic hands-on STEM tool for introducing physical computing and creative coding to early learners. This course will cover the basics of using Makey Makey as a creative platform in the classroom to introduce the science of circuits, computational thinking, and coding with Scratch through hands-on exploration. We will go “beyond the banana piano” to uncover the many ways that the foundational concepts of human-computer input and algorithmic instruction can be expanded into endless opportunities for creative problem solving. This approach to Invention Literacy may be integrated across curricular subjects from art and music to history, English, and physical education. We believe that when learners discover the lens through which to read – and the tools to manipulate – both the physical and the digital worlds in which they are immersed, they are empowered as inventors, as creators (not simply digital consumers), and as agents of change.
Participants will come away from this course with: the confidence to introduce students in grades 4-10 to block-based coding and circuit crafting; an open toolkit that is compatible with the world of everyday objects already available in our homes and schools; ideas to engage and inspire students of all learning styles and unleash their inventive potential; and new connections to a community of resourceful educators sharing their own classroom activity ideas. This course is intended to be useful to educators with students at home or managing blended learning situations. Virtually together, we will design inventive ways to maintain student engagement through self-driven, hands-on activities that balance screen time with physical craft and construction.
Each participant will be provided with a Makey Makey and a kit of essential supplies so you can practice STEM-at-a-distance in real time with guidance from two experienced educators. You will need to supply your own laptop or home computer. (Note: Makey Makey works with any computer that accepts QWERTY keyboard input and requires no special set up or software installation.)
"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 Microsoft
Program Faculty: Jacqueline Russell, Program Manager Microsoft MakeCode
Microsoft 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, Minecraft and MakeCode Arcade. The themes of this course include: strategies for remote teaching and learning, inclusive computing education practices, project-based learning and integration of computing topics across domains. 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.
"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 National Center for CS Education (NCCSE)
Program Faculty: TBD
Mobile CSP provides a free and complete online 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 8 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. 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 professional development workshop will be an introduction to the Mobile CSP curriculum. Participants will be introduced to the Mobile CSP course 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. The professional development will be 3 days (~24 hours). Teachers will be led by an experienced Mobile CSP facilitator. Teachers interested in learning more after completing the 3 days will be encouraged to sign up for one of our immersion PDs (45 hours) in summer 2021.
"This course has ignited a fire in students and changed the culture of the classroom. Students are excited to come to class every day and create an app that is theirs. My students are inspired to pursue careers and futures in working with computer science." - Abigail Cooksey - Shiprock High School (New Mexico)
Course offered by CodeJoy
Program Faculty: Kelsey Derringer, CEO & Matt Chilbert, COO of CodeJoy
The intersection of creativity, art, engineering, and coding is creative robotics, and studies show it's a great tool for engaging under engaged groups like girls in coding and engineering. But how can we do creative robotics virtually, when students may not have access to robotics tools? The answer is remote robotics: students programming and even designing a robot located across the city or even across the world. Using tools like the BBC micro:bit and the Hummingbird Bit Robotics Kit, instructors will learn to code and build robots, and how to facilitate online instruction. No prior experience with coding or robotics is required. Participants will receive a Hummingbird Robotics Kit and BBC micro:bit controller for use during the class. The course will be facilitated by Kelsey Derringer and Matt Chilbert of CodeJoy, an online education company focused on teaching coding, robotics, and hands-on engineering virtually. Topics covered include tech-focused topics like: intro to block-based coding, intro to micro:bit, intro to Hummingbird, overview of microcontrollers, servo motors, LEDs, using micro:bit Classroom for Remote Robotics, using Netsblocks for Remote Robotics, and more. Topics ALSO include more general questions CodeJoy is often asked, like adding production value to remote teaching, online teaching pedagogy in action, and more.
"Learning with CodeJoy was an amazing experience that taught me about coding and modeled virtual teaching best practice. Each lesson was so thoughtfully put together and the studio Kelsey and Matt have created made me feel like I was part of a professional broadcast. As a STEAM teacher, I learned more about robotics and engineering through facilitated discussion and with real time feedback than I would have on my own. I learned so much about using the materials I have to engage students through coding." - Meg Boyles, Summer Pathfinders Participant
Course offered by Stanford Logic Group
Program Faculty: Prof. Michael Genesereth (Actual facilitator TBD)
A free Stanford-developed curriculum that can be taught as a standalone course or embedded in a course. Suitable for grades 9-12. The course addresses the Data and Analysis & Algorithms and Programming concepts in the CSTA Teaching Framework. The course has been approved for a-g credit in California schools. Logic is to Computer Science as Calculus is to Physics. So far, this essential mathematical training is not available to programmers being trained in high schools. The course is well-tested as it has been taught at Stanford University for over twenty years, and it is now offered as a MOOC that has attracted over 600,000 enrolled students. The topics covered include propositional logic, relational logic, deduction, and proofs. Who: Computer Sciences and Math Teachers who have knowledge of symbolic manipulation as taught in introductory Algebra and comfort with set theory, including set notation, union, intersection, complement, relations, and functions When. For more information, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
"The Riverside STEM Academy reaches out to students from across our city, providing access for underserved students to STEM education. Access without rigor, however, is a hollow promise. Stanford’s Computer Science Department provided critical teacher training and engaging curriculum. This enables me to help all students improve their logical reasoning, modeling and communication skills. I want to help every student discover the power of logic and unleash their Inner Geek. The Stanford Team helps me do this! As a busy classroom teacher, I could not have developed this course to its current level of sophistication without their help. Geeks Unite." - Michael Towne, Science Teacher, Riverside STEM Academy, Riverside Unified School District
Grades 4-12 (JumpStart to Python) and Grades 8-12 (Python with Robots with CodeBot)
Course offered by Firia Labs
Program Faculty: Rhoda Deon, Ed Tech Evangelist; David Ewing, President, Geri Ewing, CEO Firia Labs
It’s time to bring Python to your students! Why? Python is one of the fastest growing programming languages in the world. Widely used both in industry and academia, it is the premier language for scientific computing, a top choice for machine learning, and a general-purpose language that powers many applications we use every day.
In this hands-on course you will learn the basics of Python programming by completing maker-oriented projects using your choice of either micro:bit or CodeBot hardware. Firia Labs’ innovative CodeSpace platform brings these physical computing devices to life, with engaging step-by-step online lessons. You’ll prove your mastery by remixing projects with your own creative touches, under the guidance of our Python expert instructors. Note: Teacher will need to choose which path to take. The CodeBot path is for the more advanced learner and teacher. We are happy to discuss to help teacher decide.
Topping it off, you will test your Python programming skills with Firia Labs new CodeBot Simulator. This is an amazing tool for students to learn with physical computing even when they don’t have access to physical robotics hardware. CodeBot Simulator delivers a high level of authenticity and fidelity as students complete missions in realistic virtual environments. All the Python code you write to control your robot in the simulator will run on your real-world CodeBot, and vice-versa!
Each participant will receive their choice of:
**Please specify choice when registering. Both of the above packages include lifetime licenses to the corresponding full curriculum, along with teachers’ manuals, pacing guides, standards alignment, lesson plans, project remixes, rubrics, assessment, co-curricular labs, and student resources.
"I'm more equipped to go and expand on an area that I never thought I'd have any interest in. I'm so excited to take this back to my kids..." "I highly recommend this for anybody, with any level of training. Best PD, period." - Celeste Conflitti, Houston Texas
Course offered by Maker Educator Collective
Program Faculty: Adam Maltese, Indiana University; Casey Shea, Sonoma County Office of Education
Introducing the Winter Maker Festival! In this immersive program we seek to develop the skills of educators who want to incorporate making into their pedagogical toolkit or advance their current skills. The motivation for creating this program comes from our work with numerous educators who wanted to deepen their skills and understanding of the resources necessary to integrate maker education principles and philosophies into their classrooms.
The focus of this session will be in a few different areas, including: micro:bit; Audio and Video Production; Low-tech Engineering; Designing & Manufacturing in 2D and 3D. For each of these topics we plan to offer Beginner and Advanced to differentiate the materials to meet your needs.
You do not need any prior making, computer science or programming experience. You will leave with enough resources and skills to be comfortable engaging your students in making when you return to school. Attendees will receive basic supplies for participating in the training, including a micro:bit.
"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 Wonder Workshop
Program Faculty: Bryan L. Miller, Senior Director Global Strategic Outreach, Wonder Workshop
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 physically, but also virtually in Dash's Neighborhood, our virtual robot simulator. You will also learn how Dash can make an impact across all subject areas, in a fun, creative way! Teachers 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.
How to apply
For any queries related to the Pathfinders Winter 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