Proposal: Creating K-12 membership category
There is significant interest in applying SD to K-12 education among society members and some view it as one of the most important ways through which system dynamics can have an impact on the world. Therefore it is important to learn how effective these efforts are in achieving their goals, be it educating better modelers, thinkers, or citizens. Such learning depends on closer knowledge of the children who get exposed to system dynamics early on, and how they proceed in different stages of their careers. However, such information does not exist: despite several years since inception of applying SD to K-12 education, we can not go beyond anecdotal evidence to decide what impact this education has had on those involved.
To facilitate gaining knowledge about the effectiveness of applying SD in K-12, I propose to the society to establish a new membership category, K-12 education, which is open to all K-12 students and educators who have been exposed to SD, free of charge (or for a nominal fee). K-12 students and educator can sign up into this membership category if they are introduced by one of the normal society members or another educator. Their data on different dimensions, including the time and length of their studies in SD, will be included on the society data-base as they register online and can be used in future for tracking the performance and attrition of young SD modelers. Moreover, establishing this category will recognize the efforts put into applying SD to K-12 education and will motivate K-12 students who feel included in the SD community, therefore the value of this initiative goes beyond long-term learning of effectiveness of SD applications in K-12.
Costs and Challenges:
Since this is a free/cheap membership category and mainly includes young people, it does not need to have the typical benefits of society membership. Specifically, it does not include the subscription to SD Review or special discounts for the annual society conferences, nor it includes any financial transaction. However, it has the benefits which have no incremental costs for the society, e.g. electronic newsletter and online database access. Therefore in equilibrium the extra resource requirement from society will be minimal. Initial implementation of this proposal requires a more detailed specification of benefits and requirements of this membership category, a one time modification of registration system and society website to allow for multiple member categories, and promotion of this membership category through different channels. To make subscription more attractive for those eligible for this category, the society can add some features for these members later on and as resources allow.