Arizona Governor Doug Ducey gives Arizona Schools and Summer Camps Free Access to Learning Blade
May 20, 2022:
To support the efforts of schools, youth groups, and educators across the state who are hosting or participating in an AZ OnTrack Summer Camps, the Office of Governor Doug Ducey is providing access to nationally recognized, highly successful online STEM and Computer Science (CS) career platform Learning Blade® and accompanying professional development opportunities for teachers around the state. The initiative includes a partnership with Generation Schools Network (GSN). The system is 100% free of charge to the camps and will extend to all Arizona school districts throughout the 2022-23 school year.
“AZ OnTrack Summer Camps will provide a wide range of learning opportunities for Arizona kids, while giving them more opportunities to have fun with their peers,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “Learning Blade will help ensure kids across the state strengthen their STEM and computer science skills, preparing them for the upcoming school year and putting them on the path to success for years to come. My thanks goes to the team at Learning Blade and everyone working to keep Arizona kids on track this summer.”
The Learning Blade program includes an online platform, aligned to Arizona state academic standards that will educate students in grades 5-9 about a wide variety of STEM and CS careers using real-life situations in a mission-based format. “Providing students and educators in Arizona with access to high-quality educational resources that introduce careers in IT, Cybersecurity, Advanced Manufacturing, Bioengineering, Energy, Robotics, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, and more to students helps to build the future workforce,” stated Sheila Boyington, CEO of Learning Blade. Learning Blade helps develop student interest in these high-demand careers by increasing awareness of the occupational fields and relating academics to social issues that youth care about.
In addition to the 200+ hours of online and offline lessons and activities, Learning Blade has developed a 10-session collection of lessons specifically designed for use in summer camps called STEMmer Camp. Wendy Loloff Cooper, CEO of GSN commented “As Learning Blade has been validated to have an impact on student’s goals and future aspirations in schools and summer programs across the United States, we believe it aligns with the mission of Generation Schools Network to support all students in being college/career ready. We are excited to partner with Learning Blade in support of this effort in Arizona.”
Schools, educational organizations, and summer camps serving these age groups can sign up for this at no charge at www.LearningBlade.com/AZ . Each week from June 1st to August 1st, Learning Blade will be awarding a $100 gift certificate to support an ice cream party for campers to five AZonTrack camps that utilize the free Learning Blade Resources. Gift certificates will be limited to one per camp per summer.
Learning Blade Releases NEW Introduction to Coding Course
January 3, 2022:
Learning Blade® announces the release of "Introduction to Coding" to help teachers provide students with an introduction to computers, text-based computer programming, and computer science careers. This accompanies the over 100 computer science-related lessons and lesson plans that are already part of Learning Blade's online lessons and offline lesson plans that are designed to increase awareness and interest in computer science, STEM and CTE careers, and that are aligned to state academic standards for grades 5-9.
The Introduction to Coding is a 5-week coding course providing 7th and 8th-grade students with 20+ hours of robust coding experience that includes both online and offline activities. These unique lessons include topics such as basic algorithms, security issues of online accounts, common hacking methods and means for combatting them and many more. This course was created at the request of Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and with input from the state's computer science team.
Mississippi and Kentucky Highlight New Programs with Learning Blade
November 1, 2021:
Mississippi and Kentucky media have both highlighted new adoptions of Learning Blade in their respective states.
In MS, State leaders took large steps to begin tackling the divide in technology access, and it has made a huge difference. Not only are students learning more and scoring better, but they are better equipped for secondary education and innovative tech careers. The University of Southern Mississippi, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Education, used funding from Governor’s Emergency Education Response to make Learning Blade available to middle schools all around the state. For more information, click here, here, here and here.
In KY, The Kentucky Out-of-School Alliance (KYOSA) is taking steps to improve the quality of the future workforce in Kentucky for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and computer science careers by offering the online learning platform Learning Blade® to afterschool and summer enrichment programs across Kentucky free of charge. See additional information here.
STEM Action Center gives Idaho schools free access to online career toolbox
October 6, 2021:
The Idaho STEM Action Center, with support from the Governor’s Office, is offering the online career-awareness platform Learning Blade to public schools and organizations statewide for free for the next three school years.
The STEM Action Center began piloting Learning Blade in 2017 with a small group of schools throughout the state. Participating students completed more than 160,000 online lessons during the last four years, and STEM Action Center executive director Dr. Kaitlin Maguire said the results have been remarkable.
“Students who used Learning Blade experienced a 26 percent increase in their interest in pursuing a STEM career,” she said. “And 68 percent of students said they learned about new technologies and STEM jobs.”
Dr. Melyssa Ferro, former Idaho State Teacher of the Year and Presidential Award Winner for Math and Science, is a big fan of Learning Blade, too. “Students are coming out of the Learning Blade opportunity with new facts about the topic they’re given, a chance to be exposed to career fields that they’ve never been exposed to, and look at skillsets in real-life scenarios,” Dr. Ferro said. “So, that’s something that can continue to fit in really comfortably with our curriculum as we move forward.”
For more information, click here.
See an additional interview on the Idaho project here.
Louisiana & Mississippi Organizations Collaborate to Improve Future STEM and Computer Science Workforce
September 29, 2021:
Through collaborations in each state, both Louisiana and Mississippi are taking steps to improve the quality of the future workforce for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and computer science careers by offering the online learning platform Learning Blade to schools statewide. Studies have shown that many students do not enter these careers because they can't picture themselves in those jobs. Learning Blade will develop students' interest in high-demand careers by increasing awareness of these careers and by relating academic skills to solving social issues that young students care about.
Boeing and LaSTEM are working with the LA Board of Regents, the LA Department of Education and the Foundation for East Baton Rouge School System to bring Learning Blade to Louisiana. Boeing helped to pilot Learning Blade in Alabama where hundreds of thousands of lessons were completed. Learning Blade will be available at no charge to all middle schools in the state and schools can begin the process by filling out the form at www.learningblade.com/LA.
"We are pleased to be a part of an initiative that will make such a timely impact on students by supporting Learning Blade," said Tina Watts, Boeing Global Engagement Community Investor. "Our company relies on a highly trained workforce, and in order to build that pipeline, we believe students gaining exposure earlier to these STEM careers will provide that. Seeing the extreme success in Alabama encouraged us to consider this for Louisiana."
Louisiana state superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley remarked, “STEM offers our students a chance to problem solve, to think critically, and ultimately to access high-wage, high-demand careers. A key step to engaging students in STEM work is to expose them to STEM careers, and Learning Blade is another tool in our teachers’ toolboxes to do just that. We are excited and grateful that the Board of Regents and Boeing are as committed to STEM opportunities for Louisiana’s students as we are.”
State Senator Sharon Hewitt, the author of the legislation that created LaSTEM, Louisiana's statewide STEM initiative remarked, "STEM is simply taking math and science skills and applying them to real-world situations. Learning Blade makes learning fun and opens the door to possible STEM careers. Being a STEM woman myself, I understand the value of students learning about STEM and computer science and am proud to support this initiative for Louisiana."
The University of Southern Mississippi, in collaboration with the MS Department of Education and with funding from Governor's Emergency Education Response (GEER) Fund program brought Learning Blade to Mississippi. Learning Blade will be available at no charge to all middle schools in the state and schools can fill out the form at www.LearningBlade.com/MS.
"We are excited to help support the Learning Blade resource for Mississippi, which will be a great tool to expose students earlier to what computer science and cyber security careers really are and help show them what path to take sooner," said Dr. Sarah Lee, Director of the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering at USM.
Dr. Carey Wright, Superintendent of Education in Mississippi shared that "Learning Blade is a great addition to our initiatives to help improve student achievement in Mississippi, especially as they support core academics which helps increase proficiency. Students having a chance to see the relationship between these academics and careers will better prepare our future workforce."
For more information, click here.
Is Computer Science Education an Antidote to Rural Brain Drain?
July 26, 2021:
How can computer science education support the change of social and economic vitality in rural America? A recent article from CSforAll explores this topic and how Learning Blade can help to solve this issue.
Check out the entire article by visiting the CSforAll website.
Idaho Begins Statewide Contract with Learning Blade
June 2, 2021:
The State of Idaho, through the STEM Action Center, has signed a three year contract to make Learning Blade available to all schools statewide. "We are pleased that our previous pilot work in Idaho has now resulted in an increased, statewide commitment to make this platform available to all teachers and students," said Sheila Boyington, CEO of Thinking Media.
School staff in Idaho can request new accounts for Learning Blade by visiting www.learningblade.com/id.
SC STEM Educators of the Year Utilize Learning Blade
May 24, 2021:
In South Carolina, the 2020 and 2021 STEM Educators of the Year,Tracy Elmore and Amy Baldwin, both use Learning Blade to supplement their STEM classes.
2020 STEM Educator of the Year Tracy Elmore, who teaches at Lugoff Middle School, shared her reaction to Learning Blade - "I love the interactive slides and activities that show how STEM careers help to solve real world problems. I use Learning Blade as a supplement for my PBL units. This helps students learn more about the content as well as careers associated with the PBL units. Learning Blade was easy to use for the virtual students and the materials used in the mission challenges are easy to access for students at home." Here is a video of Tracy Elmore discussing her use of Learning Blade.
2021 STEM Educator of the Year Amy Baldwin, who works at Oakbrook Middle School, also shared her thoughts - "I like that the students can work at their own pace and that they have an assignment that has real-world relevance. I am using Learning Blade for their at-home learning days. The students complete two Learning Blade assignments a week - one tool and one teammate - for a completion grade. When we finish the module, the grade will be averaged for a test grade."
Learning Blade is a free program for all schools in South Carolina. Sign up for your account at www.learningblade.com/SC
Learning Blade Awarded EdTech Finalist for 2021
April 12, 2021:
Learning Blade® was named a finalist for the EdTech Awards Cool Tool for STEM education for 2021. The recognition as a finalist was not only for Learning Blade’s unique approach in increasing interest in STEM through how high-demand careers approach important social issues, but also for Learning Blade’s ground-breaking Backpack app for Chromebooks that allows students to complete online lessons even without Internet access at home.
The EdTech Awards recognizes people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere. Celebrating its 11th year, the US-based program is the largest recognition program in all of education technology, recognizing the biggest names in edtech.
“The worldwide pandemic put education and training to the test, but remote learning and working—in many unexpected ways—ultimately brought us closer,” said Victor Rivero, who as Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest, oversees the program.
“We are pleased that our efforts to reduce the digital divide in education has been recognized as a pathway to help all students feel engaged in STEM education, no matter where they may be located,” said Dane Boyington, CTO of Thinking Media, the creators of Learning Blade.
This year’s finalists and winners were narrowed from the larger field and judged based on various criteria, including: pedagogical workability, efficacy and results, support, clarity, value and potential.
TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry Supports Learning Blade and TN-CAPS in Tennessee
January 11, 2021:
The TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry has received a contract from the State of Tennessee to support the Learning Blade and TN-CAPS platforms for schools throughout Tennessee. Bradley Jackson, CEO of the Chamber, stated that "We are happy to be able to continue to make these valuable platforms available to teachers across our state in order to help educate students on the wide variety of high-demand careers available in Tennessee. Through this effort, we are working to help ensure that our state has the high-quality workforce that our businesses need to thrive."
Learning Blade helps to educate students in grades 5-9 about STEM and computer science careers through 12 missions that demonstrate how these careers solve societal issues. TN-CAPS provides K-12 teachers with ready-to-use lesson plans that demonstrates in-demand careers and also highlights local businesses that hire these careers.
Teachers can get more information on these systems here.
Learning Blade Releases Videos for 3D Printing Lessons
January 4, 2021:
Learning Blade has worked with 3D printer manufacturer Flashforge to create a series of videos that guide teachers through the process of setting up a 3D printer and using it to conduct the 3D MakerQuest printing lessons in Learning Blade.
These videos can also be used directly by students to understand how to download 3D model files, edit or create new models in Tinkercad directly online, and then print out the objects using the Flashforge Adventurer 3 or other printers. The videos also show how to use these printed objects to conduct hands-on experiments that demonstrate scientific concepts from the Learning Blade Missions.
See the full playlist of videos here.
Learning Blade Launches Innovative Tech Solution to Dampening the Digital Divide During COVID
December 5, 2020:
Due to restrictions from COVID-19, millions of students are now studying at home, resulting in several gaps that effect outcomes for many students. These gaps often include a lack of Internet access at home and limited opportunities for STEM and Computer Science education. A new Chromebook app has been released that helps to bridge these gaps for many students.
Schools have attempted to address remote learning issues by purchasing low-cost computers for students to take home. The most common solution is Chromebooks, which can cost as little as $300 each. Technology research firm IDC estimates that over 9 million Chromebooks shipped in 3rd quarter of 2020, in increase of 90% over the year before. However, these Chromebooks still rely on high-speed Internet connections for most tasks, which is an issue for many families.
The Federal Communications Commission estimates that about 21 million Americans lack broadband access, with an independent research group indicating the actual number is twice as high. In a separate survey, only 30 percent of teachers in high-poverty schools reported students had access to the Internet at home. While many are working to close this gap, Internet access will continue to be an issue for education in the near term.
Additionally, schools are also struggling to provide a well-rounded and effective educational experience via distance learning. Many states addressed this issue by spending a portion of their stimulus funds on basic online educational materials that address reading and math skills. This may and has led to a lack of STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) activities, and from a more limited exposure to STEM and other high-demand careers.
Tennessee-based Thinking Media has created an innovative solution to these issues with the release of the Learning Blade® Backpack app. Learning Blade is an online and offline STEM and computer science awareness platform that can provide rich experiences for students. The Learning Blade Backpack app for Chomebooks allows students without Internet access at home to use a large library of interactive STEM lessons that expose students to high-demand careers while practicing basic academic skills. Students download the lessons while connected to the Internet at school and can then work on the interactive lessons even where Internet is not available. Then whenever the student connects to the Internet, the results are automatically uploaded for the teacher to review.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, whose efforts in computer science education have been nationally recognized stated, “Until every student in our state has access to high-speed Internet, our job isn’t finished. Resources such as Learning Blade’s new app is an innovative stop-gap that allows us to provide students a way to work at home more efficiently while we continue to build out our broadband.”
In Tennessee, Senator Bo Watson observed that "Effective and equitable education opportunities are essential for the economic health of our state, particularly to reach the rural parts of our state. As this has become more difficult in today’s environment, we appreciate companies like Thinking Media who work to create Learning Blade and the new app that brings quality STEM experiences, leveraging technology to bridge distance and resources for all".
Initial feedback on the app has already confirmed that this provides more equitable access to learning. Missouri teacher Amy Polanowski described one of her students who used the Learning Blade Backpack app by saying “I have one student that has been using it at home since she has no Internet, and she loves it. She said it makes her feel like other students and she can keep up with her work without having to rush through it.”
Megan Criner, a teacher in Tennessee, says her students feel the same. One 6th grade student replied “Learning Blade Backpack is amazing because I can do my work offline. It was easy to download and it is also easy to keep track because when I am offline, I can see my assignments."
“This crisis impacted the efficacy of online learning platforms and caused our team to re-examine how the delivery of our interdisciplinary STEM and computer science lessons might be made more equitable for low- or no-tech students at home,” said Sheila Boyington, President and CEO. “Our team began uniquely working almost immediately on a solution that would allow students without reliable Internet to continue to have access to our online lessons. We believe this may be the first solution like this and may very well be a model for others to follow.”
Former US Congressman Zach Wamp, Thinking Media Board Chair stated “The goals of expanding Internet access into rural areas and advancing new education tools for students who are currently in underserved markets aren’t mutually exclusive. Rich stories are emerging from rural spots in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. We are thankful for these and other leading states. We can do this!”
Learning Blade Backpack is available now on the Google Play Store, and requires a subscription to Learning Blade.
Boeing Support STEM Education and Learning Blade in Alabama
October 21, 2020:
The Boeing Company on Tuesday announced that it has awarded a $50,000 grant to the Decatur City Schools Foundation for expanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education throughout the Decatur, Alabama school system. In addition to other activities, students will have the opportunity to design, test and print projects for their Learning Blade Curriculum and Greenpower race car projects in these STEM courses..
See more about this project here.
Endress+Hauser Supports STEM Education in Indiana
September 29, 2020:
Every year Endress+Hauser hosts the Community Career+Education Forum, students and their parents spend a day immersed in science, technology, engineering and math. They talk with manufacturers about possible career paths, and take part in activities that involve coding, working with robotics or using 3D modeling. Innovative demonstrations allow them to see STEM working in real life. And this year, all this was done virtually.
Schools have also been given access to Learning Blade, an online tool promoting STEM lessons and activities. Classrooms kits allowing schools to teach about coronavirus and disease spread have been assembled and will be distributed.
See the complete article here.
Learning Blade highlighted as National Growth Company in the Age of COVID-19
July 13, 2020:
MarketWatch, a leading provider of financial information, business news, analysis, and stock market data, has highlighted Learning Blade as a growth company serving education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The publication noted that "Prior to COVID-19, the online education market was expected to grow from a $107 billion market in 2015 to $350 billion by 2025. But the pandemic could accelerate the growth as schools grapple with how to hold classes while adhering to social distancing guidelines." They also singled out Learning Blade for "providing supplemental curriculum around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math for remote teachers and home schooling parents."
See the complete article here.
Learning Blade has also been highlighted by IndustryToday.
June 17, 2020:
Several teachers across the U.S. have described how Learning Blade has helped students both before and during COVID-19 closures.
See a short summary of their experiences here.
In the News: SC Department of Ed Funds New Learning System
Students in classrooms across South Carolina have a new resource for learning. The Learning Blade program has been fully funded by the South Carolina Department of Education Office of Career and Technical Education. ... “I love Learning Blade,” said Dr. Lori Lambert, a STEM Academy IT Instructor in Lexington. “It has been amazing and very user friendly. As a teacher for 26 years, I wish we had this years ago.”
See the full article here.
In the News: John P. Freeman School Wins 3D Printer For Students Hardwork
June 3, 2020:
John P. Freeman Optional School students earned a brand-new 3D printer for the school from Learning Blade thanks to their continued virtual learning while schools were closed due to COVID-19. ... “I love Learning Blade because it exposes students to the various careers in STEM. It also integrates all subject areas,” said Sundra Dolberry, a teacher at John P. Freeman.
See the full article here.
Succeeding at STEM during COVID 19 School Shutdown
June 8, 2020:
Students in Missouri this year have had exposure to high demand careers that exist in their state and beyond. During the recent school closures caused by COVID-19, many Missouri schools were still able to provide a way for students to consider a future career in high-demand careers. Through the online system, Learning Blade, students experience how STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers can solve many of society’s problems, including flu epidemics similar to today’s reality.
See the full article here.
Kentucky Students using Learning Blade at Home during COVID-19
April 27, 2020:
Kentucky schools are using Learning Blade to make learning more meaningful for students working from home. "We have been able to offer students interactive assignments that provide immediate feedback. It also has been beneficial for our teachers because they are not having to come up with lessons, and the Learning Blade lessons relate to content they have taught in class," said Southern Middle School Principal Brett McQueary. Even the students are pleased - "It's really fun and a lot of interesting things to learn about" says an eighth grader.
See the full article here.
Offering Free Downloadable Lessons for Remote Learning
March 15, 2020:
In the time of COVID-19, we are now offering free downloadable ome Worksheets (STEM4Parents and Mission Challenges). These provide ways for students and parents to have home discussions, explore research questions and perform simple experiments to introduce STEM careers and topics. Download 24 different sets of activities free at www.learningblade.com/remote.
See the resources here.
Alabama Governor Ivey Visits Austin Middle School to View Learning Blade Program
March 9, 2020:
On March 9th, 2020, Governor Kay Ivey along with Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey and Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling as well as many other dignitaries, elected officials and state educational leaders toured Austin Middle School to witness Learning Blade in action. The visit garnered substantial attention from local and state press agencies.
Below are some of the TV news and print on her visit:
South Carolina Announces Statewide Pilot of Learning Blade
April 14, 2020:
The Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) at the South Carolina Department of Education has adopted Learning Blade for a statewide pilot for increasing students' career awareness and interest. Schools can request their license at www.LearningBlade.com/sc.
Arkansas Students Complete 1 Million Computer Science and STEM Lessons
December 20, 2019:
Following a successful Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC), and Learning Blade are excited to announce that Arkansas is the first state to complete over 1,000,000 computer science and STEM lessons.
Under the leadership of Governor Asa Hutchinson and his #ARKidsCanCode / #CSforAR Computer Science Initiative, Learning Blade was first provided to schools statewide three years ago and continues to be provided by a grant from ADE Office of Computer Science to APSRC. In addition to these tremendous engagement numbers, the latest validated student survey results indicate a 61% increase in Arkansas students who say “I am interested in a career in computer science” after experiencing Learning Blade resources.
See the full article here.
Learning Blade Certified by STEMworks
December 12, 2019:
Learning Blade has how received recognition as an "accomplished" STEM education program in the STEMworks database. This signifies that Learning Blade has been through an extensive and rigorous review process of all aspects of the program.
STEMworks is managed by WestEd, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that partners with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.
See the STEMworks evaluation of Learning Blade here.
State of Alabama and The Boeing Company Partner with Learning Blade
October 17, 2019:
Learning Blade is now available in Alabama through a joint venture of the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Governor’s Office and The Boeing Company. This initiative will offer all Alabama schools with grades 5-9 access, at no charge, to Learning Blade in an effort to increase student interest in and awareness of STEM and computer science careers. Licenses are provided statewide, and accounts are easy to access through CLEVER’s single sign-on portal or through Learning Blade’s account request form at LearningBlade.com/AL. Once registered, educators unlock over 200 hours of interactive, online and offline activities that engage students in human-centered problems that illustrate more than 100 careers and technologies in industries such as Bioengineering, Energy, Robotics, Mathematics, Entrepreneurship, Agriculture, Genetics and more.
Teachers also work toward winning a 3D printer on behalf of their school as students complete 5,000 online lessons in a single school year. Learning Blade is proud to have 3D-printer sponsor, FlashForgeUSA, providing a free 3D printer (Adventure 3) to these successful schools.
This project is partially funded with Federal Funds made available to the State of Alabama Department of Commerce by the U. S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration as the Grantor.
Missouri Adopts Learning Blade
June 21, 2019:
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has contracted with Learning Blade™ to offer middle school students more opportunities for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career awareness training.
Learning Blade™ is a supplemental, STEM toolbox of interactive online lessons, ready-to-use lesson plans and classroom activities designed to expose primarily 6th-8th grade students to STEM-related career opportunities and help them develop key skills as they move forward. This approach to STEM education focuses on activities that can be utilized both in a self-paced game environment and as practice in academic classrooms.
The system is built on the concept of missions. Each mission highlights a people-centered problem that engages today's students, and shows how STEM careers and technologies solve these problems. There are online lessons, projects and activities designed to grab students' attention while introducing them to the careers, tools and technologies found throughout STEM fields. It also has parent activities in order to stimulate discussion of careers at home.
Training is available to educators with the goal of having them feel confident in using Learning Blade™ at the end of the two-to-three hour session. Once your registration has been processed, Learning Blade™ will send you additional information regarding the optional training.
Learning Blade and Flashforge USA Announce National Partnership
September 13, 2019:
Two companies join forces to grow STEM education and 3D printing in schools across the nation
Exciting news from Learning Blade and 3D printer company Flashforge USA, as they come together to promote growth in STEM education through 3D printing in schools across the United States. With the collaboration, schools who use Learning Blade’s program to complete 5,000 online STEM lessons will receive a free 3D printer from Flashforge USA.
Learning Blade is an online platform that exposes students to and builds interest in STEM and computer science careers by demonstrating the relevance of academics to careers while aligned to state standards. Learning Blade offers over 200 hours of interactive curriculum, and schools across the nation who complete a minimum of 5,000 online STEM lessons during one school year will receive the “Adventurer 3” 3D printer from Flashforge USA at no cost to the school to promote the widening technology and academic advantages of 3D printing in the classroom.
“Technology is always developing, and we need to make sure that students are able to see and experience these new advancements since they will one day be our workforce,” says Thinking Media/Learning Blade’s CEO and President, Sheila Boyington. “That’s why we feel this partnership is vital—so students can experience careers, design, production, technology and 3D printing through Learning Blade lessons and Flashforge’s exceptional 3D printing products.”
Along with Learning Blade’s 400 plus online STEM lessons spanning math, science, social studies and English, the online curriculum also provides additional resources including Maker Quests, which are 3D printing activities that go along with each online mission. Learning Blade’s Maker Quests are unique in that each 3D-printed project is designed to be tested so students collect and analyze data. The collaboration between Learning Blade and Flashforge USA is to increase opportunity for 21st century learning by using additive manufacturing to prototype, design, build and test their ideas relating to what they have been learning in the classroom.
“Our partnership with Learning Blade will give students an incentive to get involved in STEM at their schools,” says Johnny of Flashforge USA, “creating engagement and opening up possibilities they may not have known were available to them in the fast-growing STEM and computer science sectors.”
Last year alone, Learning Blade awarded more than 50 schools across the country a 3D printer for completing 5,000 or more lessons to enable those classrooms to better bring their STEM and computer science learning to life. Learning Blade has statewide contracts in Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Alabama, with schools in over 30 states.
“Arkansas students have completed over 1,000,000 lessons through Learning Blade since the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science made it available to all middle school students in Arkansas in 2016. The power of these lessons is that students get to learn and get excited about great careers in the Computer Science and other STEM fields,” said Anthony Owen, Arkansas Director of Computer Science. “This early engagement is critical to increasing the number of students who will eventually enter these high paying fields. The offer of a 3D printer to schools that complete 5,000 lessons is another example of how Learning Blade is being a great partner to Gov. Hutchinson’s #CSforAR / #ARKidsCanCode Initiative and helping our team encourage and support the further use of this valuable resource.”
“Today's Tennessee students will graduate into an economy where more and more jobs rely on 3D printing. Thanks to FlashForge USA and Learning Blade, many of these students will now enter that economy with firsthand 3D printing experience, building their skills and preparing them for success," said Brandi Stroecker, Director of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, a public-private partnership between Battelle and the Tennessee Department of Education.
The new partnership between Learning Blade and Flashforge USA hopes to continue to encourage students by providing real world scenarios and hands-on projects to further student knowledge outside of the four walls of the classroom.
About Learning Blade
Learning Blade®, a product of Thinking Media, is a supplemental STEM and computer science toolbox of interactive online lessons, ready-to-use lessons plans and classroom activities proven to increase STEM and computer science career awareness for middle school students. Follow on Twitter and Facebook: @LearningBlade
About Flashforge USA
Flashforge USA is disrupting the desktop 3D printing market by introducing easy-to-use 3D printers. Established in 2011, Flashforge has sold thousands of 3D printers worldwide, including the award-winning Creator with dual extrusion. Flashforge USA focuses on making 3D printing widely accessible to institutions, architects, engineers, designers and the broad consumer and prosumer market. Flashforge USA is fully committed to creating value for its customers by delivering quality, reliable, competitively-priced products and going beyond the Flashforge Promise..
Learning Blade to Participate in First Computer Science Summit for State Leaders
May 21, 2019:
Arkansas Governor announced today that his office will host the first-ever National Computer Science Summit for State Leaders in Arkansas on June 10, 2019. Sheila Boyington, President and CEO of Thinking Media, is proud to be assisting the Governor in this important step in bringing high-quality computer science education to K-12 students nationwide.
This invitation-only event will include representatives from 26 states, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and other national and international leaders in the field of computer-science education for discussion of issues such as academic standards, teacher training, budgets, and development of computer-science education policy.
“This summit is the logical next step for Arkansas as we continue to be a national leader in computer-science education,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This summit will give us direct access to national leaders in the field, and it will allow them to see in person the advances we are making and to meet the people who are making this happen.”
From his first months in office, Governor Hutchinson has promoted the expansion of computer-science education, starting with his signature on Arkansas Act 187, which required all the state’s public and charter high schools to offer a course in computer coding. The state has continued to broaden access to students K-12.
The summit will include the keynote by Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org; and a panel discussion led by the founder of Learning Blade, Sheila Boyington, with Governor Hutchinson, Commissioner of Education Johnny Key, and state director of computer science Anthony Owen; and panel discussions with other state leaders, commissioners of education, and industry leaders.
Funding for this event is being provided by donations from Battelle and Microsoft in addition to the Arkansas Department of Education Office of Computer Science.
See the official press release here.
Kentucky GearUp Grant Utilizes Learning Blade to Inform Students
March 4, 2019:
Berea College selected Learning Blade as a major intervention in a 7-county GearUp grant program to help students understand the variety of STEM careers available. Thinking Media also worked with the college to enable Learning Blade to deliver a customized survey to all students in the grant program. Learning Blade staff are providing reports of this data on demand to assist in program monitoring and tracking.
A local newspaper article also highlighted the use in a local elementary school.
“Learning Blade is changing students’ conversations about careers,” said Mia Brown, Credits Count program director for ACTC. “Access to the Learning Blade system allows students to see advanced manufacturing and other STEM fields as viable career options.”
Learning Blade® invites schools to participate for FREE during Engineers Week Feb 17-23, 2019
February 11, 2019:
Learning Blade is offering schools to use our new Engineers Week mission for free. This mission highlights engineering careers and technologies using short online lessons. Learn more about this new resource with our short video.
Sign up for free at www.LearningBlade.com/engineers.
Learning Blade for Engineers Week is supported by Arkansas Dept. of Education, STEMx, Tata Consultancy Services, STEMconnector®, Million Women Mentors®, Arkansas Public School Resource Center, Arkansas Career Education, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, TSIN, Idaho STEM Action Center, National Rural Education Association, Ohio Rural Schools, Partners in Education at Berea College, and Florida's STEM2Hub.
Hour of Learning Blade for Computer Science Week Dec 3-9
November 27, 2018:
Anthony Owen, Chief State STEM Officer of Arkansas, invites your school to include an Hour of Learning Blade-HACK ATTACK as one of the activities you choose for 2018 Computer Science Week! Students can get a glimpse into the world of computer science in Learning Blade's Hack Attack Mission.
Learning Blade’s Hack Attack Mission, developed in cooperation with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and TATA Consultancy Services, focuses on computer science careers. While CS Week focuses on coding skills, it is important to also highlight careers that use these skills. Learning Blade includes many other STEM careers that can be explored as well.
Learning Blade Presents at the 2018 Georgia STEM/ STEAM Forum
October 22, 2018:
Learning Blade Vice President Joshua M Sneideman will present alongside Sarah Callaway from Adairsville Middle School, Learning Blade's most active school in Georgia, at the 2018 Georgia STEM/ STEAM Forum on "STEMCareer Awareness in Action"
In 2017, The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) in collaboration with Thinking Media awarded schools throughout the state licenses to use Learning Blade’s online STEM platform to enhance student interest and awareness of STEM careers. This session will share highlights of the most active school in the state, Adairsville Middle School, and their tremendous success using Learning Blade to inspire students.
3D Printer Contest Supporting New 3D Printing Lessons
September 1, 2018:
In an effort to reward schools for their loyalty, Learning Blade will provide a 3D printer to ALL schools that complete 5,000 STEM lessons between August 15, 2018 and May 1, 2019. Many schools use Learning Blade 10-15 minutes a week to supplement their curriculum and to achieve this goal.
Learning Blade Programs in Florida, Georgia and Ohio Extended
August 7, 2018:
Florida: The STEM2Hub is partnering with Learning Blade to enhance STEM and Career awareness. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Georgia: The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement is working to renew current Georgia schools licenses to Learning Blade.
Ohio: The Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative (OSRC) continues to collaborate with Learning Blade and is extending your schools Licenses into the 2018-2019 school year.
Learning Blade Continues Success in Tennessee and Arkansas
July 1, 2018:
The use of Learning Blade continues to increase in both Tennessee and Arkansas, demonstrating its appeal to teachers and students in both states. The numbers below show the incredible usage that has been achieved.
- Over 99,000 hours of instruction
- Over 650,000 lessons delivered
- Over 85,000 hours of instruction
- Over 600,000 lessons delivered
Idaho STEM Action Center Offers FREE Learning Blade Access
May 24, 2018:
The Idaho STEM Action Center is expanding its grant to provide one year licenses to Learning Blade for Idaho schools.
This grant is open to Idaho public schools for grades 6-8. Up to 40 schools will be selected in Idaho to receive full school licenses for one year to implement Learning Blade programming. Priority will be given to schools offering the broadest impact by proposing implementation throughout multiple grades (within 6-8 range) and multiple subject areas. More information on the program can be found at LearningBlade.com or Idaho STEM Flyer.
Andrea Bearwald at Lewis and Clark Middle School says:
“Learning Blade ties in really well with what kids are tested on ISAT state exam. Examples authors use on ISAT questions is exactly what we just did in Learning Blade. Style of questions in Learning Blade are similar in diversity as those on the ISAT, it tightly matches.”
The deadline to apply is September 9, 2019 5:00 pm MT
Thinking Media-Learning Blade Selected To Gator100
April 10, 2018:
Thinking Media- Learning Blade was named to the University of Florida’s 2018 Gator100 during a ceremony at UF’s J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom. Sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Gator100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or led by UF alumni. Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compound annual growth rate over the past three years to generate the ranking.
Thinking Media was selected due to the growth of its 4th product: Learning Blade, an online program with a game-based format intended to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM subjects. The program allows students to choose among a wide variety of activities based on societal problems, exposing students to more than 100 different STEM careers and technologies. Learning Blade was developed by Chattanooga entrepreneurs and UF Chemical Engineering alumni Sheila and Dr. Dane Boyington, and it is currently being used in over 3,000 schools nationwide, including statewide in Tennessee and Arkansas.
Learning Blade Founder Published Regarding the Next Generation STEM Workforce
March 26, 2018:
Thinking Media co-founder Sheila Boyington was published in the Association of Career and Technical Education's Techniques magazine. Entitled "Inspring the Next Generation of the STEM Workforce," the article lays out the rationale for including career awareness as an essential component of effective STEM learning programs.
For more information see here.
Ohio School Embraces STEM with Learning Blade and MakerMinded
March 23, 2018:
Determined to enrich the learning experience by engaging students with quality STEM content, principal Chad Lensman has piloted two new STEM programs this school year. Both STEM programs, MakerMinded and Learning Blade® are initiatives in Ohio supported by LIFT—Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow, a national ManufacturingUSA institute, to enhance student experiences and understanding of manufacturing and other high demand fields.
Kirk Koennecke, Executive Director of the Ohio Small and Rural Collaborative and Superintendent of Graham Local Schools is proud of the success of his teachers and students in adopting new innovative STEM programs, “We strive every day to provide the absolute best educational opportunities to our students. MakerMinded and Learning Blade help our students envision their role in the 21st century workforce all while reinforcing in engaging standards and academics.”
You can see the newspaper article here.
Georgia Newspaper Highlights Success of Learning Blade for STEM Education
January 21, 2018:
Students at Adairsville Middle School are so excited by Learning Blade, they asked their teacher Mr. Kelly Abernathy to do more homework. Can you imagine?
The success of the Learning Blade program in Georgia was highlighted as front-page news in the local Adairsville newspaper. Career Connections teacher Kelly Abernathy stated that “It gave me something different to aid in introducing my students to STEM-related career opportunities... Since I teach careers, it fit my curriculum perfectly.” The 22-year teaching veteran said Learning Blade is the “best program I have used.”
Check out the newspaper article here.
You can also see an interview with Kelly Abernathy on YouTube here.
Students Create Their Own Video of Learning Blade 3D Printer Lesson Results
January 17, 2018:
Students at Graham Middle School in Ohio have designed their own video to highlight their success using Learning Blade's 3D MakerQuest on Concept Car Prototyping.
The Maker Quest lessons include ready-to- print 3D models with the abiilty for students to edit their own designs using online software. Learning Blade's 3D Maker Quests coincide with the online Learning Blade missions, letting students use the printed models to conduct experiments that highlight topics from the online lessons. Concepts Car Prototyping integrates with our Manufacturing a Concept Car Mission which includes 10 hours of interdisciplinary STEM lessons where students learn about careers such as Welder, Automotive Designer, Safety Administrator, Manufacturing Technician and more.
See the student's video here.
Learning Blade President Addresses the Issue of Cybersecurity Education
December 4, 2017:
Thinking Media's President Sheila Boyington addressed the need for cybersecurity education today. She gave the opening keynote address at the annual NICE K-12 Cybersecurity Education Conference in Nashville, TN. She stressed not only the importance of cybersecurity skills, but also the importance of addressing career awareness at an early age, and the effect of mentoring on increasing career pathway persistence, especially for girls.
You can see more coverage on her address by Education Week magazine here.
Learning Blade’s STEM Program Delivers 1,000,000 STEM Lessons – New Research Proves Tremendous Impact on Students
November 14, 2017:
As of this month, students across the country have completed more than 1,000,000 STEM lessons focusing on STEM career awareness all while practicing academic standards based questions. Providing age appropriate engaging resources for students and teachers to learn about STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) careers is a critical component to opening students’ minds to the world of future work possibilities in STEM. Tennessee-based Thinking Media’s, web-based program Learning Blade through generous support of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, has developed a robust STEM learning environment, which highlights 100 STEM careers and technologies by organizing them in 12 different missions.
Recent educational research by Dr. Katherine Kendall, of Tribeca University, found significant statistical difference between middle schools that use Learning Blade and those that do not. Students that utilize Learning Blade had improved STEM vocational aspiration, career development plans and STEM-related interpersonal interactions.
Learning Blade users were more 59% more likely to intend to pursue STEM careers and 140% more likely to respond that they knew what STEM workers do for a living. Dr. Kendall’s research also found that Learning Blade users were 70% more likely to express interest in STEM with their peers. Another finding was that Learning Blade users were 69% more likely to believe a STEM career is achievable for them. This research confirms the original mission of Learning Blade to address middle school students’ lack of STEM career awareness while providing teachers a powerful resource for instruction.
Statewide adoption of Learning Blade in Arkansas and Tennessee have contributed to the extreme usage.
Johnny Key, Arkansas Commissioner of Education, speaking about their Statewide Coding Initiative for the STEMConnector national webinar on "Proven Strategies to Prepare Students for CS Careers” stated “Our vision is to transform Arkansas to lead the nation in student focused education and nothing could be more relevant than CS. To that end, in 2016 Governor Asa Hutchinson supported launching Learning Blade statewide so students would be able to learn about careers in CS and STEM.” (See Video)
"Battelle’s Tennessee STEM Innovation Network focuses heavily on expanding STEM for all students in Tennessee. Offering Learning Blade at no cost to schools across the state has resulted in a powerful initiative that has given students, particularly in rural areas, an innovative way to explore future STEM careers," remarked Wesley Hall, Director, TSIN.
Battelle Education confirms similar results as Dr. Kendall. They validated that the Learning Blade system achieves its primary goals of increasing STEM career awareness and interest<