Infosys Foundation USA Scales Online Learning Platform With Free Computer Science Modules For K-12 Educators
First-of-its-kind streamable lesson series for K-5 educators and professional development resources with hardware kits
Infosys Foundation USA, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to computer science (CS) and maker education across the U.S. announced that it is adding four additional computer science modules for K-12 teachers to its digital learning platform, the Pathfinders Online Institute. Educators can now choose from over 30 unique courses and trainings geared to meet different skill-levels, grades and programming interests. The new offerings are meant to help ease teachers back into the classroom and STEM computer science learning loss after a year of remote and hybrid instruction. The new materials can be accessed for free at Infosys.org/pathfindersonline.
According to the 2020 State of CS Report, 28 states recently passed new laws to promote computer science education but not all mandated funding for professional development for teachers. Additionally, a recent study by the Kapor Center that surveyed over 3,500 PreK-12 CS teachers found that over a quarter of respondents felt limited by their own subject matter expertise and expressed a need for low-cost computer science professional development. The Pathfinders Online Institute addresses these challenges by providing educators with access to computer science curricula, innovative professional development and first-of-its-kind streamable K-5 lessons for educators with no computer science background – at no cost.
“Teachers have overcome insurmountable instructional challenges over this past pandemic year,” said Kate Maloney, Executive Director, Infosys Foundation USA. “As they return to the classroom and seek to capture their students’ imaginations, the Foundation is providing creative resources. This will help them bring leading edge computer science and making curricula to their classroom, so their students are equipped with the fundamental digital literacy required to succeed in a tech-driven world.”
Infosys Foundation USA is partnering with CS is Elementary, Raspberry Pi and BirdBrain Technologies to offer these innovative learning modules that will help educators enhance their computational fluency. The modules include:
– Kode5 with CS is Elementary (Grades K-5): Kode5 consists of a baseline computer science program for any school: a set of five on-demand courses that provide 20+ hours per grade of computer science education. Virtual co-teachers provide the instruction, while classroom teachers—even those without experience, training, budget or special facilities—manage and support students’ experience.
– Programming Essentials in Scratch in partnership with Raspberry Pi (Grades 4-8): In this six-part course, educators will receive an introduction to block-based programming within the Scratch environment.
– Python and Robotics with the Finch Robot in partnership with BirdBrain Technologies (Grades 6-12): In this course, educators will be introduced to physical computing and learn how to use the Finch Robot across a variety of computer science concepts. The first 100 U.S. public and charter school teachers to apply will also receive one free Finch Robot 2.0.
– Design, Build and Code a Rover with Raspberry Pi (Grades 8-12): In this six-part course, educators will learn to build a physical project using the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. The first 1,000 U.S. public and charter school teachers to apply will also receive a free Raspberry Pi Pico hardware kit.
“The Covid education crisis showed that we can teach K-5 computer science via distance learning if we keep students continuously engaged and provide expert virtual co-teachers,” said John Pearce, Executive Director, CS is Elementary. “Kode5 courses are built upon this concept, enabling scalable baseline K-5 CS instruction for any child in any school, grade, classroom, or family.”
“Robots are powerfully motivating CS learning tools that bring computer code to life, but they are most effectively used by teachers who are well-supported,” said Tom Lauwers, Founder and CEO, BirdBrain Technologies LLC. “That is why we are so excited by this opportunity to offer educators a free course and robot with Infosys Foundation USA, to help teachers spark deep and joyful CS learning in their classrooms.”
“Supporting computer science and maker educators is a critical part of our work,” said Matt Richardson, Executive Director, Raspberry Pi Foundation North America. “We’re delighted to collaborate with Infosys Foundation USA on these free courses and to help students use newly-acquired skills in order to solve problems that matter to them.”
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