Using the Learning Center as Your e-Textbook with Preservice Teachers

Ruth Burkett, Ph.D
Dr. Ruth Burkett 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
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
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.

Wendy Ruchti, Ph.D
Dr. Wendy Ruchti 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
Kathy Sparrow 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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National Science Teachers Association
Underwritten by NSTA