Tennessee schools find STEM success with Learning Blade

Dive Brief:

  • In Tennessee, students using a new online tool called Learning Blade are reportedly 37% more likely to consider a STEM career after engaging with the program.
  • The software is designed to address the STEM “skills gap,” eSchoolNews reports, and to better equip students to enter professions that require advanced knowledge of science and engineering.
  • Middle school students are targeted in particular because if they start to become interested in STEM fields early, they’re likely to sustain that interest throughout high school.

Dive Insight:

This isn’t the first time STEM learning has targeted middle schoolers. In California, the Los Alisos School District partnered with Project Lead the Way, an initiative that offers cookie-cutter STEM curriculum and intensive teacher training. Today, five out of the district’s six middle schools are reportedly STEM-focused.

Recently, the growth of STEM learning in the classroom has been helped along by Congressional and public support. A recent survey from Horizon Media’s WHY Group showed 75% of Americans think “science is [now] cool in a way that it wasn’t 10 years ago” and that 65% believed learning to code was more important than learning a foreign language.

The STEM Education Act of 2015, which passed in February 2015, made computer science eligible for federal grants and dollars intended to support STEM education. It also mandated heightened availability of training for STEM educators.

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