Chattanooga-developed STEM tool to help middle-schoolers across the state

Authored By chloe.morrison

Middle school students across the state are slated to get a supplemental STEM career awareness curriculum for free, thanks to legislative support and Chattanooga e-learning business Thinking Media. 

Thinking Media aims to help students sharpen science, technology, engineering and math skills. The business developed Learning Blade, an online tool designed to generate interest in STEM applications for middle school students.

Now, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is offering Learning Blade to all the state’s middle school students for no cost. Learning Blade is an online tool that introduces STEM opportunities to students in a format that demonstrates the benefits of STEM careers in society, according to a news release. 

“Using technology to deliver real-world experiences is the future of teaching,” Thinking Media President Sheila Boyington said in a prepared statement. “Our digital platform brings STEM career awareness to students and provides them with an opportunity to get on track for high-demand careers, and that is our goal.”

STEM careers in Tennessee are expected to grow by 16 percent with more than 25,000 new jobs by 2024, and STEM jobs are growing at almost twice the rate as non-STEM careers nationally.  

In the first month of school, more than 25 percent of middle schools in the state used Learning Blade to supplement STEM activities. 

The Learning Blade system is organized into “missions” that focus on societal issues, enabling students to participate in engaging lessons, such as building an environmentally sound orphanage after a major earthquake or solving energy and transportation needs in a particular city, also according to a news release. 

Learning Blade also provides teachers with feedback on student skills while demonstrating the relevance of academics in real-life contexts for students.  

“As a state, STEM education’s greatest potential will only be met if every Tennessee student can access quality learning tools-regardless of location,” Tennessee STEM Innovation Network Director Wes Hall said in a prepared statement. “That’s why the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is excited to partner with Learning Blade on this important work.”

Schools nationwide have successfully used the Learning Blade system since it launched two years ago. 

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