Science teachers, like Internet users everywhere, know the frustration of scrolling through endless Web sites in an often futile quest for relevant information.
Now, the nation’s largest professional association of science teachers is attempting to cut a clear path through that online clutter. The National Science Teachers Association has created SciGuides, a Web site with links to instructional resources, such as lesson plans, ideas for laboratory experiments, sample assessments, case studies, and general teaching tips. The site (http://sciguides.nsta.org) was launched this month as part of an overall push by the 55,000-member NSTA to make more content and professional advice available to teachers available online. Supported by the National Science Foundation, the project has been in development since 2000.
“It’s what teachers have told us they want,” NSTA spokeswoman Cindy Workosky said.
The site gives visitors links to Web sites for different units of science content, ranging from genetics to severe weather. The cost of each unit—all of which have been reviewed for accuracy and age-appropriateness by the NSTA—is $4.95.
Association officials say their members have been looking for an online resource like SciGuides for years. In an informal survey conducted by the NSTA last month, 92 percent of science teachers surveyed said they use the Internet to help shape their classroom lessons. But 66 percent described their Web searches as challenging, 49 percent said they needed help integrating Internet material into their lessons, and 72 percent said they worried about exposing students to inappropriate material on the Internet.