The NSTA Learning Center

Year started: 2008
Audience(s): K-12 STEM educators and teachers of science
Who Started It: The National Science Teachers Association
# Members: over 100,000+
The NSTA Learning Center is helping tens of thousands of educators improve their confidence and competence in the science subjects they are charged to teach. The primary goal of NSTA's Learning Center is to enhance the personal learning for teachers by providing a suite of tools, resources and opportunities to support their individual long-term professional growth based on their unique learning needs and preferences. This is facilitated through an integrated and moderated professional learning community and an innovative badge system to recognize teachers' contributions through points and a digital portfolio. Teachers may earn points as they contribute to the community by aggregating, sharing, and rating resource collections, as well as for completing more thoughtful learning experiences such as our self-directed web modules.
From across the United States teachers spend hours each week working through simulation-based inquiry-rich web experiences, attending live web seminars, reading e-chapters, watching podcasts, and completing in-depth online courses. Free online advisors provide live chat support assisting educators with their requests and pedagogical needs from the 7,800+ resources available. These trained moderators, many science method professors or master educators, assist educators in finding resources and in discussing pedagogical strategies for their own classrooms. Learn today, your way!

Our communities and national network reaches over 450,000 educators on a weekly basis (e.g., listservs, monthly e-newsletters, community forums, etc.). This is a reach that few other organizations can boast. Our e-learning portal and integrated community engages nearly 100,000 educators, where tens of thousands of educators spend hours each week increasing the competence and confidence in the science subjects they are charged to teach through a myriad of activities based on their unique learning needs and preferences. Teachers attend live web seminars, complete self-directed web modules, create and share resource collections with colleagues, view or post in our community forums, and participate in more formal online courses.

We cannot attribute this effort to any one unique effort, but the combination of all that we do at NSTA. There is a tremendous team of individuals in our publication division that edit brilliant e-chapters and e-journal articles from our award-winning authors and experienced educator members. Our e-learning production department produces highly engaging, interactive self-directed web modules that have documented significant gains in teacher learning via pre and post-assessments across multiple science content areas and grade levels (see: Web seminars, delivered in collaboration with our partners, many of whom are the mission-based government agencies such as NASA, NOAA, and NSF, are performing cutting edge science and developing lesson activities to help translate this science for the classroom. The intention is to inspire teachers who in turn will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Our professional programs conference and PD departments design wonderfully rich face-to-face learning experiences during the summer months and throughout the school year. When all these are converged via a single portal and accessible from within our larger national network, the opportunity for measurable impact at scale is rarely matched.

Finally, the success we’ve achieved to date would not be possible without the support from our collaborators. Sincerest appreciation is warranted for two foundations and four government agencies that have been significant supporters in the development of our e-learning community and digital learning content efforts. With sincerest thanks we recognize the GE Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the ExxonMobil Foundation, NASA, NOAA, FDA, and the National Science Foundation for their collaboration with NSTA on these important teacher professional learning endeavors.

Notable Community
Added on Jan 20, 2012
Vote Up!   24 votes

Learn more about this community:

An Interview with Al Byers

"...The teaching profession as a whole is too horizontal and provides little room for teacher growth and recognition. Too often the herculean efforts of many outstanding teachers never reach beyond the isolated walls of their classrooms..."
Read the complete interview

3 Responses to The NSTA Learning Center

  1. Bambi Bailey, The University of Texas at Tyler says:

    I’ve used the NSTA Learning Center with inservice science teachers as a professional development tool; undergraduate preservice elementary teachers as a source for exemplary activities, science content reviews, alternative assessments, classroom management ideas, and the support of experienced professional colleagues; and this semester I am using it as a resource for graduate students in both formal and informal science settings. Even for undergraduate students who are shy about initiating interaction within an online community, lurking within the community forums within the Learning Center are valuable. I’ve had students talk about how they started reading a discussion, became interested in what was being said and found themselves entering a question that they had before they really realized what they were doing. The discussions are that engaging and valuable.

    Being able to build and share collections of resources, select discussion threads to follow and design their own portfolio goals allows teachers to take charge of their professional development and meet the specific needs they and their students have. It allows teachers to behave as the professionals they are, not technicians following a prescribed, generic algorithm for all students.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. I am the President of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions. I am very familiar with the NSTA Learning Center and have found it to be very useful in providing high quality PD for teachers, resources for students, and access to PD for teachers in districts with limited resources. The tools help teachers develop a process for meeting their PD needs. Great Resource!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Wendy Ruchti, Idaho State University says:

    As a university professor of teacher education, I utilize the tools available in the NSTA Learning Center in my teacher preparation courses. Preservice teacher are able to gather resources to help them teach and enhance their content knowledge. They can document their professional growth, not just as preservice teachers, but well into their careers as they become master teachers. Teachers gather to discuss diverse topics from professional development to sharing resources, to research and beyond. It is a true community of learners with no geographical boundaries…just when teachers’ PD is dwindling elsewhere, needed support from NSTA is there to provide for their needs.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

What do you like about this community?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four × one =