Chattanooga-based e-learning platform Learning Blade expands to three more states

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An online learning platform developed over the past decade by Chattanooga engineers Dane and Sheila Boyington to inspire more students to pursue sought-after technical and scientific careers has expanded to three more states this fall.

The Learning Blade, an online program developed by Chattanooga-based Thinking Media, is being offered statewide to college students in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Idaho for the first time this school year. . Based on the early success of the interactive online program in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other states, leaders of the three new states for Learning Blade adopted the program this fall to help boost future science studies and careers and technological.

Boeing, which has helped pilot Learning Blade in Alabama where hundreds of thousands of its online courses have been taken, is supporting a similar program in Louisiana where Boeing has other facilities and needs skilled talent.

“We are thrilled to be part of an initiative that will have such a timely impact on students by supporting Learning Blade,” said Tina Watts, global investor in Boeing’s engagement community. “Our company relies on a highly skilled workforce, and in order to build this pipeline, we believe that students are exposing themselves earlier to these STEMs. [science, technology, engineering and math] quarries will provide it. Seeing the extreme success in Alabama encouraged us to consider this for Louisiana. “

Studies have shown that many students do not pursue careers in technical and IT fields because they cannot imagine themselves in those jobs. Learning Blade will develop students’ interest in high-demand careers by raising awareness of these careers and connecting academic skills in science, technology, engineering and math to solving social problems of interest to young students.

Staff file photo / Dr Sheila Boyington, co-founder of Thinking Media, speaks at a press conference at the Chattanoogan Hotel during the launch of “Learning Blade,” a software program aimed at persuading students to seventh, eighth and ninth year to consider pursuing a college education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Learning Blade was created by Chattanooga-based Thinking Media owned by engineering couple turned entrepreneurs Sheila and Dane Boyington. After selling their first degree program called KeyTrain almost ten years ago, the Boyingtons began to develop Learning Blade as an online program to show students how STEM careers use the academics they learn at home. ‘school. Career videos, parent activities, and 3D printing lessons are just some of the additional tools Learning Blade offers high school teachers the ability to use in the classroom or online through interactive video lessons and exercises.

Sheila Boyington, CEO of Thinking Media, said studies of Learning Blade programs in states like Tennessee and Arkansas show that after completing online activities and other Learning Blade “assignments” and courses, students say they are more than twice as likely to pursue a career. as an engineer or scientist. Awareness of STEM career opportunities increased by 71% thanks to the program, Boyington said.

“STEM offers our students a chance to problem solve, think critically, and ultimately access high-paying, high-demand careers,” said Cade Brumley, Superintendent of Louisiana. “A key step in involving students in STEM work is exposing them to STEM careers, and Learning Blade is another tool in our teachers’ toolkits to do just that. “

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.

Learning blade

Head quarter: Thinking Media based on Chattanooga

Creators: Dane and Sheila Boyington

Some products: Online programs, videos, 3D printing, and other educational materials to help middle school students explore activities and see career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

States served:40 states have had access to Learning Blade, including eight states where the program is offered statewide – Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri, Idaho, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

In Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi, in conjunction with the state Department of Education and with funding from the governor’s Educational Emergency Response Fund (GEER) program, has brought Learning Blade to the state. Learning Blade will be available for free at all colleges across the state and schools can complete the form at www.LearningBlade.com/MS.

“We’re excited to help support the Learning Blade Resource for Mississippi, which will be a great tool to expose students earlier to what IT and cybersecurity careers really are and help them show them the way forward.” earlier, ”said Sarah Lee, director of the School of Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the University of Southern Mississippi.

States are using a portion of their share of federal stimulus funds allocated to address challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to add online programs such as those offered by Learning Blade.

Learning Blade provides an entertaining online game format to inspire students to pursue “missions” to solve challenges using both reading and science skills. In the process, the program developers hope to both teach and excite more young people into engineering and technical studies and vocations where the United States is losing its once dominant lead in the world.

“Learning Blade is a great addition to our initiatives to improve outcomes for Mississippi students, especially as they support grassroots academics, which helps build skills,” said Dr. Carey Wright, Superintendent of education in Mississippi. “Students fortunate enough to see the relationship between these academics and these careers will better prepare our future workforce,”

The Learning Blade System includes an online platform to educate high school students about a wide variety of STEM and IT careers. Learning Blade guides students through human-centered missions and includes over 400 interactive online lessons, lesson plans for teachers, and printable home activities for students in Grades 5-9, where students students learn how exciting careers in STEM and computer science help solve them.

To date, students have completed over 5 million online lessons on the Learning Blade platform. The program has been deployed in more than 40 states, including existing statewide efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, and South Carolina. New efforts have been forged with Idaho,

Earlier this year, Learning Blade also released a Chromebook app, the Learning Blade Backpack, which helps bridge the digital divide by allowing students to access and take Learning Blade’s interactive lessons, even with limited internet access or non-existent.

“Learning Blade is a tool that can reduce some of the barriers to entry for rural and under-represented populations, making educational technologies more accessible and inclusive for students who wish to explore STEM and IT careers and technologies,” said former congressman Zach Wamp, who is chairman of the board of Learning Blade.

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340

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