Louisiana & Mississippi organizations collaborate to improve future STEM and Computer Science workforce.

LA and MS Improve Future STEM and CS Workforce

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 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.”

The Learning Blade system includes an online platform for educating middle school students about a wide variety of STEM and computer science careers, while reviewing academic standards. Learning Blade leads students though human-centered missions, and includes over 400 interactive online lessons, teacher lesson plans, and printable at-home activities for 5th to 9th graders, where students learn how exciting STEM and Computer Science careers help solve these. The program also practices basic academic skills along the way.   With the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Learning Blade has been shown to be especially useful for providing quality STEM engagement in both classroom and blended learning settings in states across the country.

To date, students have completed a remarkable over 5 million online lessons in the Learning Blade platform. The program has been deployed in more than 40 states, include existing statewide efforts in Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and South Carolina. New efforts have been forged with Idaho, Mississippi and Louisiana for statewide implementation of Learning Blade beginning this school year.

Earlier in 2021, Learning Blade also released a Chromebook app, the Learning Blade Backpack, which helps bridge the digital divide by enabling students to access and complete Learning Blade’s interactive lessons, even with limited or no internet access.  This is a true game changer for both rural and urban students!

Many other states are considering this resource due to the unprecedented funding as a result of the pandemic through the various Federal Acts. “Learning Blade is a tool that can lower some of the barriers to entry for rural and underrepresented populations, making education technologies more accessible and inclusive for students who are interested in exploring STEM and CS careers and technologies,” stated Zach Wamp, Board Chair and Former US Congressman.

About Learning Blade
Learning Blade®, a product of Thinking Media, is a system of interactive online lessons, teacher lesson plans and printable at-home activities for 5th to 9th graders, where students learn about STEM and Computer Science careers while reviewing academics. Students can use over 400 online lessons in human-centered “Missions” or stories to explore these exciting careers aligned to all state standards.

Educators in the following states can easily request their free license by visiting the Learning Blade website: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Follow @LearningBlade on social media or email info@learningblade.com for information.

Thinking Media is proud to have recently been named to Inc. 5000 – as one of the top private growing companies in the US.

The Boeing Company
As a leading global aerospace company, Boeing develops, manufactures and services commercial airplanes, defense products and space systems for customers in more than 150 countries. As a top U.S. exporter, the company leverages the talents of a global supplier base to advance economic opportunity, sustainability and community impact. Boeing’s diverse team is committed to innovating for the future and living the company’s core values of safety, quality and integrity. Learn more at www.boeing.com.

About LaSTEM
Act 392 created the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Advisory Council and provide for its membership, powers, duties, and functions; to create and provide with respect to the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Fund; to provide for a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics high school diploma endorsement; and to provide for related matters.

The University of Southern Mississippi- School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering
The School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering is committed to broadening participation in computing and developing the technical leaders of tomorrow. Offering multiple computing majors including computer science, computer engineering, and information technology, and bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs, the faculty work with undergraduate and graduate students to develop the next generation of innovative researchers, and many graduates are furthering their education at USM or other institutions across the country.