Getting Started with SciLinks?
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How do I use the . . . ? (For Students)
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SciLinks helps science educators harness the vast resources of the Internet by
connecting key textbook subjects to NSTA-approved web pages that enrich student
learning both inside and outside the science classroom. By linking to a
brief call-out found in the margin, which lists the topic, a code, and a
URL (www.scilinks.org), teachers and students can access vetted web pages
that provide real-time information and new content on a host of science topics.
The service points to 19,000 vetted web pages, each of which was selected after a thorough
review against eight
and then aligned to a specific topic and grade level. The topics
are then featured as extensions in hundreds of textbooks and supplemental titles, as well as
in selected NSTA publications.
Since its debut in 2000, SciLinks has registered more than 200,000 teachers and nearly 900,000
students at no cost to use the site, and countless more use it as "Guests." NSTA's premier
Internet technology product supports the specific needs and interests of the different
user groups—NSTA Members, Teachers, Students, and Guests – each of whom use SciLink tools
unique to their needs.
For example, all registered teachers and members can use the My Favorites tool, where they may
save their searches as Favorites for quick access whenever and wherever they log in. When their
students login, they view a link that reads "Your Teacher’s Favorites." Clicking on this link
reveals the topics the teacher wants them to view, and a list of vetted web pages for those
topics is only one more click away.
NSTA members may use both SciLinked texts as well as the SciLinks keyword search to
fine-tune an Internet search of web pages to a manageable number of vetted web pages.
Submitting "simple machines" to a popular search engine may yield 2.6 million possibilities;
submitting the same key words to SciLinks yields 18 web pages. Of these, five are
selected just for teachers (lessons plans, activities, etc.), while the remainder are
useful to students (simulations, animations, and other interactive opportunities).
Publishers subscribe to feature the SciLinks service in their books, so readers of
SciLinked texts are able to access the service for free. NSTA members are able to
access the service at no extra cost by virtue of their membership in NSTA. SciLinks
is a great service to use in your classroom, whether you found it through the printed
page of a textbook or accessed it through the members-only keyword search.
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SciLinks is a free service for textbook users, but obviously someone must pay for it.
Participating textbook publishers pay a fee to the National Science Teachers Association
for each book that contains SciLinks. Development was also supported by a grant from the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
When designing the SciLinks system, we tried to make it as simple
as possible to use. The SciLinks Code serves several purposes:
Also, by requiring users to enter a relatively short "code" rather
than a scientific word or phrase, we hope to minimize typing mistakes
that would cause the SciLinks system to respond with an error message.
Our web pages cover a lot of territory! The NSTA Webwatchers have located,
evaluated, and organized tens of thousands of web pages, and we are adding
more every day.
We do our best to screen all links and select only those that meet our
stringent rubrics and review process.
However, SciLinks does not operate
or control the content found on such third-party sites, so we are not
always aware when this content changes. If you discover a third-party
link that contains inappropriate information, please
contact us immediately.
In addition, please be aware that each of these third party sites maintains
its own data collections and use policies. If you visit a web site linked to
providing it with any of your personal information.
For more information about keeping kids safe online, please read about the
The key to accessing SciLinks is in the margin of your textbook: there you will find the SciLinks
icon and a special code printed below it—for instance, MIX32. That number is all you need to access
SciLinks and find Internet resources keyed to the topic.
No. You can access SciLinks website as a guest. Go to the homepage at
scroll down to the right until you see the blue textbox above NSTA logo with the title
"Have a SciLinks Code?". Click within the white textbox and enter a scilinkcode and
click Search, then you will see a listing of web pages for a given topic from a SciLinked text.
No. But it does enable you to access materials above and beyond those your
child is accessing, which can make SciLinks a more valuable experience.
To learn how to register visit here: Teacher.
SciLinks treats parents who sign in as a teacher the same way it treats teachers.
You may view the resources and explore the materials available to help your child
and to challenge them to learn the subject matter. Click in and check out the
lessons, the videos, and the assessment content that we select for teachers.
Yes. The coverage varies by topic , but there are two places where you can find quizzes or tests:
It is still there, but instead of selecting from a drop down to
login as a guest, users simply enter a code on the home page of
SciLinks to see a listing of web pages for a given topic from a
SciLinked text. This saves a step in the process, making
SciLinks that much quicker.
Registration with SciLinks is easy.
Both students and teachers can register via the
registration form, or
teachers may register for their students and hand out user names and
passwords fait accompli (already completed).
We collect a minimum amount of information from students (enough to identify
them uniquely, such as first name, last initial, zip code). We also ask them
a selected question which allows the Web site to automatically retrieve their
password if they misplace it.
Having both teachers and students register enables the SciLinks utilities
(Assignments, Favorite SciLinks) to work. Each registered student is linked
in the database to his/her teacher, so that information passed through those
utilities will go to the right person.
Finally, we request more information from teachers to help us identify where
SciLinks is being used and improve our services. We also offer teachers the
opportunity to add their e-mail address to a list for receiving news and
the National Science Teachers Association.
There are a few reasons why your user name or password might not work:
You can obtain your password at
forgot login page.
Teachers may enter the e-mail that was used for registration,
and we will send the registered password.
If you are a student, there are three options available:
There are two ways to access the SciLinks materials:
Unfortunately, we cannot provide a master list of topic and SciLinks codes.
You need a SciLinks text to use the publisher-supported service in its entirety,
or you need an NSTA member ID # to access the keyword search version of the service.
That is because SciLinks is paid for by the textbook publishers or through NSTA
membership fees. It is a service, with expenses, that NSTA provides free of charge
to those using the printed material which contains SciLinks.
If you are a member of NSTA you can benefit from many
of the features of SciLinks including:
If you are not a member of NSTA and would like more information,
Yes. SciLinks is a feature that is paid for by the textbook
publishers. It is a service, with expenses, that NSTA provides
free of charge to those using the printed material which
If you are a member of NSTA you can benefit from additional features of SciLinks including:
Here are some
sample SciLinks topics for
you to try.
To learn how to view your Teacher's favorites, please
To learn how to register,
please visit here:
Here are two overview videos from a teacher's and student's perspective:
Yes: grab any edge of the browser window by moving the mouse pointer over it,
pressing the mouse button, and holding it down; now drag the edge to make the
window larger or smaller. If you grab the lower right corner of the window,
you can move the right and bottom edges at the same time.
To move the whole window, click in the colored bar at the top of the
window and, keeping the button down, drag the window to where you
You can maximize the new window to fill your entire screen by clicking
on the middle button at the upper right of the window.
Yes, you can resize the text.
Do you have a question about something not
covered here? Please contact us
Questions/Comments? Email us:
or comment via the
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