Professional Development

Professional Development Courses

The course was a great introduction to robotics, no prior knowledge is needed. It bridges the unknown of computer science, programming and robotics in an easy to understand way.
- Robert, 9th-12th grade Mathematics teacher
Ontario, CA

Hands-on, immersive Professional Development courses equip you to bring robotics, electronics, coding, and physical computing to your classroom. Courses may be hosted and led by either our Parallax Educators, or by one of our Partner organizations.  Every course includes:

  • Starting-from-scratch software and hardware setup, no experience required
  • An introduction to circuit-building on a breadboard using real-world electronic components
  • Beginner-level physical computing and best coding practices
  • Step-by-step subsystem testing and troubleshooting to build engineering skills
  • Certificate for continuing education clock hours

Each course is built on one of the four Parallax platforms listed below.  Choose the option that's best for your classroom. Not sure? Call our Educator Hotline and we will help you find the right fit.

Robotics with BlocklyProp: ActivityBot 360° & Propeller

The BlocklyProp programming language and the ActivityBot 360° robot are Parallax’s most powerful combination. A familiar Blockly programming environment and a highly capable microcontroller brain make this robot both a contest winner and a versatile tool for a variety of student-built projects.  You will build, program, customize, and take home a Parallax ActivityBot 360 in this workshop. You will learn the best classroom implementation strategies with accompanying curriculum, including standards alignment and assessments using the ActivityBot with BlocklyProp Tutorial Series. The prerequisites for this workshop include basic computer skills like installing software, typing code and navigating to web pages. 

Learning Objectives

  • Learn common programming concepts and techniques, made simple with BlocklyProp
  • Learn how to support your students from robot building through troubleshooting and on to project completion.
  • Experience a variety of STEM topics with ActivityBot 360 lessons and projects.
  • Build your knowledge to empower your students to participate in contests and engage in projects that promote collaboration, critical thinking, and in-depth understanding

Course Activities

  • Install and setup BlocklyProp software programming environment
  • Build, calibrate, and verify hardware/software communications
  • Learn the basics of Blockly programming on the ActivityBot 360
  • Program the ActivityBot to perform maneuvers
  • Connect sensor circuits and program the robot to respond to its environment
  • Learn basic electronic troubleshooting (circuits, code, power supply, etc)

Robotics with Python: cyber:bot & micro:bit

The cyber:bot robot uses the very popular micro:bit controller in a robot. The two main benefits of the cyber:bot are the very popular Python programming language with a browser-based simple coding environment and all the well-known Parallax robotic circuit-building activities. In this workshop you will build, program, customize, and take home a Parallax cyber:bot. You will learn the best classroom implementation strategies with accompanying curriculum, including standards alignment and assessments around the cyber:bot Tutorial Series. The prerequisites for this workshop include basic computer skills like installing software, typing code and navigating to web pages.  

Learning Objectives

  • Learn common Python programming concepts and techniques
  • Learn how to support your students from robot building through troubleshooting
  • Experience a variety of STEM topics with cyber:bot projects
  • Build your knowledge to empower your students to participate in contests and engage in projects that promote collaboration, critical thinking, and in-depth understanding

Course Activities

  • Use the on-line Python code editor to compile, flash and run code on the cyber:bot
  • Build, calibrate, and verify hardware/software communications
  • Write Python code following formatting and syntax rules
  • Program the cyber:bot to perform maneuvers
  • Connect sensor circuits and program the cyber:bot respond to its environment
  • Learn basic electronic troubleshooting (circuits, code, power supply, etc)

Robotics with Arduino: Shield-Bot & Uno

This course includes the Robot Shield with Arduino Uno, providing a robotics and electronics foundation for or Arduino-based tech programs. Hosted in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, this robot is also supported by our Shield-Bot Tutorial Series.

Inventing with BlocklyProp: Beginning Electronics & Coding

Join Parallax instructors to explore introductory electronics and coding aligned with Invention methods. Each attendee will receive an Invention Kit, ideal for educators who are interested in teaching STEAM concepts to enhance science fairs and invention competitions programs.