The NSTA Learning Center: An Online Portal with Free Resources for Educators

Al Byers, Ph.D
Al Byers, Ph.D As Assistant Executive Director of e-Learning and Government Partnerships 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 92,000 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
Flavio Mendez 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, Maryland.

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.

Dorothy Ginnett
Dr. Dorothy Ginnett Dr. Dorothy Ginnett is a wildlife ecologist and science educator. She teaches science at the secondary (6th – 12th) and post-secondary levels in both face-to-face and fully online teaching/learning environments. Dorothy is certified as a Wisconsin Professional Educator in Biology/Life Science, Environmental Studies and Broadfield Science. As a curriculum development consultant, she has designed and delivered four fully online graduate courses for the M.S. in Environmental Education program at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, WI.

Susan M. Blunck
Susan M. Blunck Dr. Susan Blunck is an Associate Clinical Professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her research and professional efforts have been focused on promoting excellence in science teaching by working with emerging and practicing teachers. Her primary area of research is centered on the professional development of science teachers. Dr. Blunck co-created the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Arts in Education (MAE) degree programs at UMBC. She serves as the Graduate Program Director of the UMBC Department of Education and as Co-PI of the UMBC/Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) STEM Project, which supports both MAT and MAE STEM students intending to teach at K-12 levels. Dr. Blunck is the founding director of the UMBC Center of Excellence in STEM Education and is most currently researching K-12 STEM Academy building processes and K-12 STEM teacher development.

Michael R.L. Odell
Michael R.L. Odell Dr. Michael R.L. Odell is the Associate Vice President for Sponsored Research and Federal Relations at the University of Texas-Tyler. He also holds the Roosth Chair in Education and is a Professor of STEM Education with a joint appointment in the College of Education and the College of Engineering. He also serves as the Executive Director of the Ingenuity Center, one of seven Texas Education Agency funded STEM Centers. Dr. Odell began his career in education as an Earth Science teacher in Irving, Texas (1984-1990). He received his B.A. in Geoscience (1984) and M.A.T. in Science Education (1989) from the University of Texas at Dallas. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction/Science Education (1993) from Indiana University. He is best known for his work with the NASA Opportunities for Visionary Academics (NOVA), the National Space Grant College and Fellowship program, Texas Project Lead the Way (PLTW), and Texas STEM Center Coalition. He has served as a National Space Grant Fellow at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (1995-97) and as a Faculty Fellow at NASA Kennedy Space Center (2003) in Florida. He is currently the President of the National Alliance of State Science and Mathematics Coalitions (NASSMC).

Kate Baird
Kate Baird Dr. Kate Baird currently teaches Inquiry and Science Methods for Elementary Education at Indiana University Purdue University Columbus (IUPUC). Science has been a driving force for Dr. Baird since she was very young. She worked as a microbiologist at GIBCO then taught physical science and biology for six years at Elkhart Central High School before shifting to the college level. She served as an Assistant Professor of Science Education at Oklahoma State University and an Assistant Professor of Biology and Science Education at SUNY Oneonta. Dr. Baird continues to share her passion for learning science at the national, state and local levels via Science Matters, Workshops and Conferences.

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National Science Teachers Association
Underwritten by NSTA