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6 Reasons Why I'm Excited about the HP Catalyst Academy - Tell a Teacher!
by Jim Vanides

Know a busy teacher who wants to help their students get excited about STEMx learning? Here are my 6 reasons why I hope you'll join me in telling a teacher about the HP Catalyst Academy online mini-courses...

First, for those who haven't heard, the HP Catalyst Academy is an network of online mini-courses for STEMx educators. Launched earlier this year, the initial mini-courses are underway, and the development of 20 more has just been announced. From the announcement:

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) and the New Media Consortium (NMC) announced the second cohort of HP Catalyst Academy Fellows. With this new group of innovative education leaders from around the globe, the HP Catalyst Academy will greatly expand its offering of free, online professional development to accelerate *STEMx education, transform teaching practices, and continue to close the global skills gap.

The HP Catalyst Academy is a fresh approach to professional development for educators designed to address the growing global need for high quality STEMx teachers. The mini- courses are offered entirely online on a variety of learning platforms in order to reach a long-term goal of impacting hundreds of thousands of teachers around the world.

The mini-courses, led by world-class institutions, are designed for busy STEMx education professionals who are seeking continued learning. The mini-courses require approximately six-12 hours of participants’ time over a four week period and are targeted to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other 21st century disciplines taught by educators in grades six through 16. Teachers participating in the Catalyst Academy’s professional development offerings receive recognition for their accomplishments through digital badges and downloadable certificates. 

This is not traditional professional development. This is "PD Disruption" that provides a new approach to professional learning for STEMx teachers and educators in informal education settings focused on science, technology, engineering, math, and related fields. The potential is enormous, and the new mini-courses being added is just the beginning. So when I think about why this matters, here are my 6 Reasons Why I'm Excited About the HP Catalyst Academy:

  1. The mini-courses are desigend by educators for educators. This is why the "mini" and practical - and fun.

  2. The learning is not limited to one type of online experience. The constellation of mini-courses are hosted by top-notch organizations on a variety of online platforms. In many ways, they "break the mold" for what we have normally called "professional development"

  3. They offer a new form of professional recognition. Where else can you get acknowledged for the important but "small" things you learn? HP Catalyst Academy digital badges come with a downloadable certificate - and the opportunity to show your administration how you've grown professionally

  4. They're free. Really.

  5. They're bigger than a webinar. Not that I have anything against webinars, but let's face it - watching a webinar doesn't change anyone's mind or professional practice. You need to roll up your sleeve and try things, with support from caring coaches, peers, and facilitators.

  6. They're from around the world. Educators from around the world can learn from other educators, near and far. How wonderful is that? VERY wonderful!

So I invite you to tell a teacher (or two, or twenty) about the HP Catalyst Academy! Here's how:




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Jim Vanides is currently a Program Manager in Philanthropy for Hewlett-Packard, responsible for worldwide higher education grant initiatives ( He also teaches an online course offered through Montana State University for elementary teachers on the Science of Sound ( He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.