One of the most popular and accessible ways for members to get quick professional development advice and stay abreast of education trends is through the free NSTA’s E-Mail List Server.
Through the list server, thousands of NSTA members from teachers to administrators are able to reach out virtually for help from fellow members. Discussion topics range from middle school science competitions and model-based biology to kitchen chemistry and the Next Generation Science Standards. The list goes on and on.
With more than 20 categories of discussion, the list server allows members to sign up for specific topics such as early childhood education, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and pedagogy. No need to wait until regular working hours to pose a question or vet an idea.
For example, an NSTA member posted the following question a few weeks ago at 7:09 p.m.:
My school is considering changing our current schedule and course offerings. At present, we offer ‘honors’ (advanced) courses for our high achievers/gifted. Can you tell me how your middle school addresses the needs of their high achievers/gifted? I’d like to be able to bring back the information to the scheduling committee.
A number of responses came in from members throughout that evening and during the next couple of days. Here’s an example of one of the responses:
Our district has an accelerated math science path for middle grades.
7th or 8th graders can take algebra 1 for high school credit. Ones who take it in 7th go on to geometry as 8th graders so they are able to enroll in algebra 2 as freshmen.
In science the students who are accelerated can take a class that covers 6th and half of 8th grade standards as 6th graders, then 7th and other half of 8th standards as 7th graders. They take an integrated physics and chemistry course as 8th graders.
There is a subset of this accelerated group that is even more accelerated. Those kids are in a STEM academy where they take geometry, physics, and a computer science course in 8th grade, all for high school credit.
Because the list is exclusive to NSTA members, you can know that each voice on the lists is a member in the science education community. With each email, participants are instantly connected to expertise around the world.
Etiquette and Guidance
Like any professional community, NSTA asks for members to agree to rules for participation. Organic conversations are expected, yet topics should stay on topic. For example, last month a member posed a question about the different approaches to teaching metric conversions. The 12 responses that came in for that question led to valuable information on different approaches, but the topic didn’t stray from metric conversions.
“PD Gold Mine”
It’s not just participants who learn from these discussions. Did you know NSTA E-Mail threads have been considered the “PD gold mine” and have led to articles in NSTA publications such as NSTA Reports?
Connect with other educators, connect with members, and connect directly with NSTA through the E-mail List Server.
Not a member of NSTA? Learn more about how to join.