Infosys Foundation USA, a nonprofit organization focused on increasing access to computer science (CS) and maker education, announced this week the launch of the Pathfinders Online Institute – a platform to facilitate the ongoing professional development of K-12 public school teachers.
While learning computer science is widely acknowledged as beneficial to students’ future workplace success and cognitive development, 30% of teachers say they feel underqualified to teach the subject and another 20% say they feel overwhelmed according to a recent Microsoft survey. The Pathfinders Online Institute aims to provide a place for community building, best-practice sharing and curriculum resources for educators regardless of where they are in their teaching tenure. It builds on the professional development that the Infosys Foundation USA already provides K-12 public school teachers through its in-person multi-day Pathfinders Institutes.
“We have had great success at the in-person Pathfinders Institutes which have served one thousand teachers from across the U.S. over the past two years. What we hear most from teachers is that in addition to the inspiring curriculum, they leave with a fresh network of likeminded educators who are similarly committed to bringing CS and making to their classrooms. The Foundation wants to foster those connections and continued learning,” said Kate Maloney, Executive Director, Infosys Foundation USA. “That’s why we created the Pathfinders Online Institute – so teachers and their professional development providers can stay connected, share best practices and continue their learning throughout the academic year.”
“We know how critical it is that all students learn computer science skills so that they can thrive in the digital economy. The best way to reach students is through their teachers,” said Ravi Kumar S., Chairperson, Infosys Foundation USA. “The Pathfinders Online Institute will allow us to reach more teachers year-round and enable them to continue to build their own skills and bring new learnings into the classroom.”
“The Pathfinders Institute is one of the best ways for us to connect with a diverse group of teachers to share how to integrate making and coding for social good into their classrooms. If you want to be inspired, work with the teachers that Pathfinders brings together. There’s nothing like it – that’s what keeps bringing us back every year and we’re excited to extend the connections year-round!” said Connie Liu, Founder and Executive Director, Project Invent.
The Pathfinders Online Institute was launched at the Infosys Foundation USA’s inaugural Pathfinders Winter Institute. The event brought together 275 K-12 public school teachers from across the U.S. for three-days of intensive professional development in computer science and maker education. The Foundation partnered with 12 professional development providers to offer teachers a diverse course offering.
The Pathfinders Online Institute is currently available to alumni of the in-person Pathfinders Institutes, with widespread rollout and additional feature releases planned for later this year.