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National Science Teachers Assn.
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National Science Teachers Association Celebrates Major Milestone Reached by its Web-based SciLinks® Program

SciLinks Logs 10 Millionth Search by Students and Teachers Seeking “Best of the Best” Web-Based Science Resources

Arlington, VA, August 21, 2006—This summer, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) marked a major milestone in its web-based SciLinks program when it logged its 10 millionth search for the web’s best offering of science resources. SciLinks—a one-of-a-kind online system—directs students, teachers, and parents to a host of professionally selected web sites that support the learning of science subjects introduced in the nation’s science textbooks.

“SciLinks is a tremendous benefit to students because it provides a unique learning experience and avenue that goes beyond the traditional textbook,” said Gerry Wheeler, NSTA Executive Director. “Textbooks are dated the minute they hit the desk. SciLinks keeps the information fresh and dynamic for teachers.”

Launched in 2000, NSTA developed SciLinks in partnership with U.S. textbook publishers. Textbooks were—and are still today—the predominant teaching resource found in most U.S. classrooms. NSTA sought a way to enhance, deepen, and extend the learning of these subjects contained within the printed texts. This goal was accomplished by developing a process and organizing a nationally selected team of professional educators to review high quality web resources and link them to specific science subjects. NSTA places SciLinks icons and codes in textbook margins at key subject areas, directing users to a host of selected web sites that support the particular science subject introduced in the text.

Teams of professional educators and curriculum specialists select and maintain textbook links to key sites on the Internet. NSTA continues to search for new web sites and correlates them to participating science textbooks. This system allows the most up-to-date information to be continuously fed into the system and become available for students, parents, and teachers. NSTA is encouraging teachers to use this growing technology to enhance science learning both inside and outside the classroom.
“Ten million is impressive, but it represents only a fraction of the overall use of this innovative SciLinks resource,” said Tyson Brown, Director, New Products and Services. “The 10 million searches are conducted by teachers and students who have access to the published textbooks containing SciLinks codes. Over the years we’ve enhanced the program to allow NSTA members to conduct key word searches and textbook publishers also provide links directly from their sites to specific topics. These multiple avenues through which users access the SciLinks system now generate nearly 60,000 visits every month.”

Teachers benefit tremendously from the SciLinks program. They are able to incorporate web learning into their curriculum in a safe manner, thus adding more value to classroom time. SciLinks saves teachers and students time by connecting only to age-appropriate, reviewed content on the web. Teachers value the vetting process provided by NSTA, which narrows down the vast amount of information on the web to educational sites that are right for that particular lesson. SciLinks also has an assignment tool that allows teachers to use the site to create tests. Teachers use a class roster to track students’ test results and site activities. This integration of the web into education shows the value of using technology to teach science.

Today, the majority of U.S. science textbooks carry SciLinks icons and codes, including Harcourt, Holt, Rinehart, and Winston; Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company; Pearson Prentice Hall; Pearson Learning Group; Pearson Scott Foresman; Great Source; Brooks/Cole; McDougal Littell; Current Publishing; and WGBH.
SciLinks can be accessed in one of three ways. SciLinked textbook users (teachers and students) can register for free and retrieve web pages via the codes provided in textbooks; NSTA members can use the system’s keyword search; others can test-drive SciLinks by registering as a guest. To learn more about Scilinks, visit http://www.scilinks.org.

The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes more than 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.

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