Learning Blade

compare

“The Learning Blade program is a tremendous asset in my STEM program. Learning Blade exposes students to real-life applications of math and science with problem-based missions to complete.  After trying different supplemental curriculum, Learning Blade is by far my students’ favorite”.  – Jennifer Ferebee- Kenwood Middle School, Tennessee

.
Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials

Target Audience

All Students

Location

Nationwide
Arkansas
Tennessee

Grades

Grades 6 - 8

 Promising link

Program Impact

In less than three years, Learning Blade delivered over 400,000 interactive lessons to over 100,000 registered students. Learning Blade reach is expanding rapidly, fueled in part by statewide implantation in Tennessee and Arkansas. According to program evaluations published by Battelle Education, students are twice as likely to be interested in becoming engineers or scientists after using Learning Blade compared to before use. Student surveys also indicate that after using Learning Blade, students were more likely to recognize the value of math in problem solving, more likely to recognize relevance of school, and more likely to be interested in taking advanced math classes. Learning Blade has been recognized as a powerful STEM intervention in ACT’s Condition of STEM Report and MForesight Manufacturing Game Changers Report. 

 

Program Overview

Learning Blade is a STEM supplemental system designed to increase student awareness and interest in STEM careers while reviewing academic standards. This student-ready, online program introduces students to STEM careers and technologies in an entertaining game-based format. Students pursue 12 engaging virtual missions with about 400 interdisciplinary lessons and over 100 hours of robust materials. The missions show how STEM solves problems such as helping an injured dolphin, preventing a school website hack, building an orphanage after a major earthquake, or solving energy and transportation needs in a city.

To fulfill a mission, students complete activities that illustrate the social impact of STEM careers, and relate how the core middle school academic skills are used in STEM careers. Each activity contains exercises linked to academic standards. This provides teachers with valuable feedback on student skills while demonstrating the relevance of academic skills in real-life contexts. Additional offline activities provide simple, hands-on projects, writing prompts and team exercises.

How To Get Involved

Learning Blade is available on a site-license basis making it affordable for any size implementation, and particularly attractive for large and statewide adoptions. Sponsors have found value in supporting Learning Blade due to its ability to scale and reach all students. Additionally schools have collaborated with area businesses to have professionals visit in tandem with certain “missions” or provide field trips to coincide with careers being discussed. Site-license fees start at $3,000 per site and can be discounted depending on volume. 

Funders and Partners

Tennessee statewide deployment is funded by the state’s Department of Education through the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and in Arkansas by the Department of Education through the Arkansas Public Schools Resource Center.

Additional support has been provided by TATA Consultancy Service, the US Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy program, the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) Institute, Battelle Education, and other corporations and foundations.

Contacts

Sheila Boyington, President
sheila@thinkingmedia.com
423-521-2309

Visit Website

Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against CTEq's Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.