Tennessee Makes Online STEM Career Curriculum Available to all Middle Schools

The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network (TSIN), a public-private partnership between the Tennessee Department of Education and Battelle Education, has secured legislative support to make a supplemental science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career awareness curriculum available to all middle schools in the state at no cost.

The driving motivation behind the initiative was to increase student interest and achievement in STEM by making them aware of potential careers in those fields. "As a state, STEM education's greatest potential will only be met if every Tennessee student can access quality learning tools — regardless of location," said Wes Hall, director of TSIN, in a prepared statement.

TSIN selected Learning Blade from Thinking Media, an online curriculum that introduces students to STEM opportunities by demonstrating the benefits of the careers to society and the the relevance of academic skills to STEM careers.

According to information from TSIN, the Learning Blade curriculum is organized into "missions," such as building an environmentally sound orphanage after a major earthquake or solving energy and transportation needs in a city. As students complete the missions, they learn about the STEM careers involved in solving those problems and the academic background required. The software also has tools for teachers to receive feedback on student progress.

The program has already been in place in Tennessee for one month, and more than 25 percent of middle schools in the state have already begun using Learning Blade to supplement their STEM education activities, and many schools have taken advantage of the free training sessions included with the program.

Further information about the TSIN and Learning Blade STEM education initiative can be found on TSIN's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].