Using the Learning Center as Your e-Textbook with Preservice
Ruth Burkett, Ph.D
Dr. Ruth Burkett, Associate Professor of Science Education at the University of
Central Missouri (UCM), teaches undergraduate courses in elementary school science
methods, biology, physics, classroom management, and educational technology. She
joined the UCM faculty from the University of South Florida (USF) where she earned
her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on instructional technology
and science education. Dr. Burkett has over 20 years experience teaching in elementary
schools of Florida, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. She has experience in informal education
as camp director for environmental and marine science camps in Florida. Dr. Burkett
co-authored "Hey! What're ya thinkin'? Developing teachers as reflective practitioners,"
a chapter in R. E. Yager (Ed.), Exemplary science: Best practices in professional
development. Washington, DC: NSTA Press. She also has several publications
in national and international journals and over two-dozen presentations at international,
national, and regional conferences.
Al Byers, Ph.D
As Acting Associate Executive Director of Services at the
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Dr. Byers serves in a strategic capacity
with mission-based government agencies, state and local departments of education,
university, and education foundations as together we cooperatively develop high
quality blended professional development solutions, resources, and opportunities
(both on-site, on-line, synchronous, and asynchronous) for science educators across
the United States. He steers the design, development, implementation, and evaluation
of large-scale blended professional development and e-learning endeavors that are
now being consumed by over 130,000 educators daily, primarily through the NSTA’s
award-winning Learning Center. He serves on the primary technical working group
for the US Department of Education’s online communities of practice efforts, and
was previously a delegate for the US Department of Education at the Asian Pacific
Economic Cooperation Summit (2008), and as an expert panelist for the National Assessment
of Education Progress Science Framework Prioritization working group. Dr. Byers
is a sponsored speaker at both the national and international level, and shares
his research in online professional development through peer-reviewed research articles
and numerous conference presentations.
Flavio Mendez is the NSTA Learning Center Senior Director at the National Science
Teachers Association. Mr. Mendez has over fifteen years of experience in formal
and informal outreach and education activities, as Education Coordinator for the
Hubble Space Telescope education program, and as Director of two exhibits and professional
development programs for K-12 educators at the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore,
At NSTA Mr. Mendez is responsible for the management of the Learning Center's state
and district partnerships and the help desk. He oversees the implementation of the
Center's resources, i.e., SciPacks, SciGuides, Web Seminars, Podcasts, Short Courses,
etc. and the development of the PD tools like My PD Plan & Portfolio, My
Library, My Calendar, My PD Record, etc. Mr. Mendez
also teaches courses in astronomy to pre- and in-service teachers at the University
of Maryland Baltimore County. He is one of NASA's JPL Solar System Educators.
Wendy Ruchti, Ph.D
Dr. Wendy Ruchti is an assistant professor of science and STEM education at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho where she currently serves in the College of Education as the Accreditation Coordinator as well as the Assistant Chair of the department of Educational Foundations. She teaches Elementary Science Methods as well as other foundational courses for preservice teachers and also serves as an online advisor for NSTA. She received her BS in Zoology and Secondary Education in 1993 and then began her education career as a middle level science and mathematics teacher, most recently at the Pocatello Community Charter School, an Expeditionary Learning mentor school where deeper learning was the expectation. Dr. Ruchti received her MS and Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction/Science Education from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho in 2001 where she was a Presidential Doctoral Research fellow. She researched online learning and the development of proportional reasoning in middle school students. Her areas of interest and research are the integration of literacy in science, and reflection on evidence in emerging and practicing teachers.
Kathy Sparrow, Ph.D
Dr. Kathy Sparrow is currently an adjunct professor at Florida International University
(FIU), teaching Elementary Science Methods. She previously worked as a middle and
high school science teacher as well as the Science Supervisor for Akron Public Schools.
She was a Regional Director for SECO, served on the NSTA Board of Directors and
was president of the National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA).
Kathy was also awarded the Outstanding National Science Supervisor Award in 1999.
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