Chattanooga Firm Launches Online STEM Curriculum For Middle Schoolers

Monday, December 3, 2012
Dane and Shelia Boyington and Zach Wamp
Dane and Shelia Boyington and Zach Wamp

A Chattanooga-based media company has launched an online STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curriculum designed for middle schoolers across the country.

Shelia Boyington of Thinking Media said six states have agreed to take part in a pilot program starting in January. They include Tennessee, Georgia, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio and North Carolina).

She said the full launch of LearningBlade will take place next fall.

Former Congressman Zach Wamp, who heads a prestigious advisory board for LearningBlade, noted that Ms. Boyington and her husband, Dane, earlier started a similar educational software program and eventually "sold it for a lot of money." 

Ms. Boyington said LearningBlade is designed with various "missions" that students can embark on to grab their attention. She said they will receive credits for completing various tasks and their grades are posted so that can compete against classmates. Some sample missions are helping an injured dolphin, building an orphanage after a major earthquake or solving energy and transportation needs in a new city.

She said the material is designed to link to "common core standards" educational established by 47 states.

Ms. Boyington said teachers will need very little training in order to utilize the software.

She said the firm currently has 16 programmers at work fulltime on the project, which is constantly being refined.

Ms. Boyington said the product will be sold to states and to individual school districts. She said it will be affordable - "costing just dollars per student." 

Former Congressman Wamp said the development responds to "an urgent need for the U.S. to develop workforce proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics." He said it introduces students at an early age "to potential career pathways."

Officials said Learning Blade "provides an entertaining, game-based format that is uniquely student-ready."   

Thinking Media is collaborating with BattelleEd.Org, a subsidiary of Battelle Memorial Institute, to help accelerate the rollout of the software program. Dr. William Madia, former director for Battelle of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is on the advisory board and was at the Chattanoogan hotel for the announcement.

Others on the board include Dr. Tim Anderson chemical engineering professor at the University of Florida; Jamai Blivins, president of Innovate+Educate; Cheryl Carrier, program director for Ford's Next Generation Learning; Dr. Dean Evasius, vice president of Oak Ridge Associated Universities; Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute; Dr. Merrilea Mayo, founder of Mayo Enterprises; Darlene Miller, president of Permac Industries; Dr. Elaine Swafford, director of the Girls Leadership Academy, and Daniel Traynor, TVA chief information officer. 

Advisory board members
Advisory board members

Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADKINS, ANGELA KAY  248 11TH AVENUE DAYTON, 37321  Age at Arrest: 48 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA DRIVING ON REVOKED, SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED LICENSE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE IN SCHEDULE II --- AMEY, ALEXANDER  2005 ... (click for more)

Corker Confers With Trump On Health Care; Senator Says He Is Ready To Help Fix Broken System

Senator Bob Corker, commenting on the American Health Care Act, said he is ready to work to try to help fix "a broken system.".    He said, “I had a nice talk  tonight  with President Trump. At some point, on behalf of the American people, we have to resolve the issues that are driving up costs, limiting choices, and causing the individual market ... (click for more)

Slaxxon Regret

Back in the seventies my three oldest brothers had a buddy named Steve Slack. “Slack” was a star soccer player at Baylor and he grew up on Lookout Mountain, which is where I grew up. He and Jimmy, Henry and Bill went to the University of Virginia where they were roommates in an old, beat up house that was painted pink. Naturally, the place became known as the “Pink Palace” but lest ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Geno: Our ‘Me’ Culture

By almost every measure, Geno Auriemma is the best basketball coach in America. His University of Connecticut women are riding a record 109-game winning streak that dates to Nov. 17, 2016. Stanford barely beat them in overtime 3 years ago, but, before that, they won 41 straight. That means UConn is 153-1 and, in the current 109 streak, they have double-figure wins over the opponents ... (click for more)

Dinger Sparks Lookout Valley's Late Rally For Win

There are times in high school sports when later is better than never. Such was the case for the Lookout Valley softball team Friday evening as they waited until the last possible moment to make their move against Covenant Christian in the second day of pool play at the Lookout Valley Invitational being played at the O’Mary-Conard Field at Lookout Valley Elementary School. ... (click for more)

Owls Score Late To Knock Off Columbia Academy 5-3

Every sermon Ooltewah coach Brian Hitchcox preaches from his baseball pulpit will at some point stresses defense. After Friday’s five-error effort in its own Ooltewah Invitational at A.C. “Bud” Ball Field, Hitchcox was probably going to be delivering a fire and brimstone speech to his baseball team. Despite the sloppy fielding – and throwing the ball around the yard and ... (click for more)