Students in classrooms across the nation found a new source for learning material in STEM through Learning Blade’s online program.

Educators around the United States were presented with a unique challenge in March when the coronavirus pandemic created the need for a “new normal” and forced changes in both how students were taught and how they learned.

Students in classrooms across the nation found a new source for learning material in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science online through the Learning Blade’s online STEM and computer science career awareness program. Teachers implemented Learning Blade not only to help teach subject areas but also help them learn about potential STEM and computer science careers. The program is popular in numerous school districts across the nation.

Learning Blade is designed to provide engaging resources that expose 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. Resources can be printed as well to serve students who do not have internet access.

“I love Learning Blade,” said Dr. Lori Lambert, a STEM Academy IT Instructor in Lexington, S.C. “It has been amazing and very user friendly. Dr. Lambert began using Learning Blade after schools had closed due to COVID-19. “As a teacher for 26 years, I wish we had this years ago.” Lambert said. Parents and students found value in the program. “Several of my parents emailed me saying they enjoyed Learning Blade because it applies to what they do in their jobs and they could relate to it. It made helping their own kid learn much easier. They said they were actually completing the assignment with their kid,” Lambert said. “(Students say) it’s fun to learn about things that really happen in our world.”

Cabot, Arkansas, teacher Tim Hobbs found a way to connect his student to the spread of infectious disease and make learning relevant for students while learning from home by using the “Flu Outbreak” mission on Learning Blade. “It showed our students how computer science relates to the real world,” said Hobbs. “It’s a wonderful program that opens up real possibilities in STEM and serves as an introduction into different jobs and careers.”

Hobbs has been using Learning Blade for four years. “I strongly encourage career development and computer teachers to use Learning Blade to give students an introduction to the real-world STEM and CS careers.”

In Alabama, Boeing played a role in sharing Learning Blade across the state in an effort to introduce students to STEM careers “Boeing has been in Alabama for more than a half a century, with its engineers and researchers playing key roles in developing the innovative aerospace technologies of tomorrow,” said Tina Watts, community investor for Boeing Global Engagement. “It is essential to expose students in the state to the critical skills that will make them successful in STEM — unlocking their futures to opportunities through emerging technologies.”

“You don’t know what you like until you try it.” Middle school student Esha from Huntsville Alabama said. “With Learning Blade, you know exactly what you like because it allows you to explore different careers.” Misty Kudlas a technology teacher in Decatur City, Alabama, says, “The students love Learning Blade. It’s very engaging, they constantly find out different things they didn’t know, and most importantly how it can apply to their lives both now and in the future.” Kudlas used the program throughout the school year. When schools shut down and students went to entirely remote learning, Kudlas was able to successfully implement Learning Blade for distance learning supporting her students continued academic growth.

At Southern Middle School in Pulaski County KY, students completed thousands of distance STEM lessons in Learning Blade, enough to win a 3D printer from Learning Blade partner FlashForge USA. “Students really seem to enjoy completing the Learning Blade lessons,” added eighth grade science teacher James Cox. “The activities do a great job of connecting cross curricular content with real world scenarios.”

This past school year, many Learning Blade schools in AR, AL, GA, ID, KY, MD, MN, MO, TN won an Adventurer Three 3D printer from Learning Blade partner FlashForge USA for completing 5,000 online STEM lessons in a school year. For example, two schools in Memphis TN, Raleigh Egypt High School and John P Freemen Optional School, continued to use Learning Blade during school closure and reached the 5,000-lesson goal with students completing lessons from home.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, STEM and Engineering Teacher, Joshua Payne uses Learning Blade in all his classes and has been using Learning Blade for years to supplement his curriculum. “During the school shutdown it was really a lifesaver for me. It gave me something kids could do at home that was meaningful and attain new knowledge on their own,” said Payne.

Learning Blade was created by Thinking Media which has assembled a team of accomplished professionals in the STEM, education and technology space to offer this resource cost-effectively.   “We are pleased that so many states have recognized the value of having a supplemental distance learning system for this unusual time for our country and are using Learning Blade to provide valuable learning, “states Sheila Boyington, CEO of Thinking Media.

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