Building on the success of last year, Infosys Foundation USA will host its second annual Pathfinders Summer Institute for 450 K-12 public school teachers from across the United States. This week-long computer science (CS) and maker education training will take place July 14-19, 2019 at Indiana University Bloomington.
Only 35 percent of high schools in the U.S. teach computer science despite widespread recognition that it is foundational in today’s technology-enabled world. Schools that are under-resourced or have a higher percentage of minority students have even less access. These disparities in the classroom are often caused by a lack of qualified teachers. The Pathfinders Summer Institute aims to increase access to CS and maker education by providing professional development to 450 teachers who will in turn reach more than 20,000 students over the next year.
“Digital skills are essential in today’s world, but educators are often under-equipped to teach these subjects because they lack the tools and training to bring into the classroom,” said Ravi Kumar, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation USA. “We are honored to host the Pathfinders Summer Institute again to build the competence and confidence of teachers so they can in turn inspire their young learners through computer science and maker education.”
The teachers in attendance hail from 46 different states and teach at a diverse range of institutions – urban, rural and Title 1. Funds from Infosys Foundation USA were generously matched by school districts and crowdfunded by citizen donors through DonorsChoose.org in order to make it possible for teachers to attend the program at no cost.
“As a Foundation, we are thrilled to offer this inspiring week for teachers to learn and connect with one another. The energy of returning teachers and the excitement of first-time attendees is palpable! Going forward we hope the alumni of Pathfinders continue to work as a community of practitioners to bring inspired coursework to students in the classroom,” said Kate Maloney, Executive Director, Infosys Foundation USA.
“I am thrilled to be attending the Pathfinders Summer Institute this year. It is so exciting to deepen our partnership with the Infosys Foundation USA to help teachers shape the next generation of computer scientists and makers from all communities in the US – including those who are learning to code as a second language,” said José Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation.
To address the varying levels of proficiency and diverse needs of the future, the Foundation is excited to offer 18 courses from 15 different professional development providers, including Art in Motion, Beauty and Joy of Computing, Chibitronics, Nextech/Code.org, Everyday Computing, Firia Labs, KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, Maker Educator Collective, microBlocks, Mobile CS Principles, Mouse, Peblio and the Processing Foundation, Project Invent, Tufts University and Tynker.
“With these curriculum offerings, Indiana teachers and teachers from across the United States have the opportunity to develop skills in Scratch, Python, robotics, making, Arduino circuits, and more. There is certainly a lot to uncover for educators at this year’s Pathfinders Summer Institute, and we’re excited to play a part in the impact on teachers of all grade levels and subject matters,” Stephanie Zircher, Senior Director of CSforIN, Nextech.
In addition to in-classroom sessions, teachers will hear from leaders in the field about why CS and making are so important including: Al Drew, U.S. Airforce Officer and Former NASA Astronaut; José Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO, Hispanic Heritage Foundation; Shireen Hafeez, Founder, Deaf Kids Code; Jake Baskin, Executive Director, Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA); Debbie Babcock, Director of IT, Girls Inc.; Dave Frye, Senior Director for CS Initiatives, Friday Institute at NC State University; and Vince Bertram, President and CEO, Project Lead The Way; Laurie Burns McRobbie, First Lady, Indiana University.
For more information on Infosys Foundation USA, visit Infosys.org/usa/ or follow this week’s meeting @InfyFoundation #InfyPathfinders.
About Infosys Foundation USA
Infosys Foundation USA was established in 2015 with the mission of expanding computer science (CS) and maker education to K-12 students and teachers across the United States, with a specific focus on increasing access to underrepresented communities. The Foundation achieves impact through delivering professional development programs for teachers, partnering with leading nonprofits, and delivering innovative media campaigns that raise awareness about the Foundation’s commitment to bridging the digital divide. To date across all 50 states, the Foundation has reached approximately 14k teachers, 4 million students, and 22k schools.