Berryville Middle School students participate in Learning Blade initiative

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Harrison High School broadcast television student Ben Adams selected a low-angle close-up on Monday, April 17, to shoot video of Berryville Middle School students using Learning Blade curriculum in Cheryl Howard’s career development class. The video will be presented to Gov. Asa Hutchinson in a meeting on Tuesday, April 25.
Photo by David Bell/Carroll County News

Berryville Middle School students are taking part in the Learning Blade initiative to sharpen their STEM education.

A press release from the Arkansas Public School Resource Center (APSRC) says students across the state are benefiting from Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s initiative to share the supplemental STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) career awareness program Learning Blade.

Since the start of the school year, the release says, Arkansas middle school students have completed more than 219,000 STEM lessons utilizing Learning Blade’s unique software, exploring career and technologies in many diverse areas such as engineering, energy, robotics, mathematics, entrepreneurship, agriculture, genetics and more. The program also focuses on careers in computer science, the release says, highlighting careers such as UI/UX designer, information security analyst, database administrator and more.

Last Monday, April 17, students in Cheryl Howard’s career development class participated in the making of a video about their experience using the Learning Blade curriculum. Rebeca Crow’s broadcast television students from Harrison High School visited Berryville Middle School to film the students during a lesson and interview them about the program. The edited video and reports will be given to Hutchinson in a meeting on Tuesday, April 25.

Howard said she has enjoyed using the Learning Blade curriculum because it allows her to introduced all students to STEM careers.

“Learning Blade appeals to a wide variety of the best practices in education,” she said. “It appeals to a wide variety of students, is visually stimulating and is student self-paced. Progress can be both student and teacher directed.”

Howard said she feels Learning Blade presents the opportunity to introduce employable skills such as computer literacy and competence in reading and math in a problem-solving environment.

During the lesson on Monday, Howard’s students made models of prosthetic tail joints for dolphins, studying how to use different materials to replicate the different structures in the dolphin’s tail.

The release says Hutchinson announced the Learning Blade initiative, which is supported through a grant from APSRC, in June 2016 to increase student awareness and interest in computer science and STEM careers. Since that time, it says more than 520 Arkansas schools have registered and received their account for Learning Blade’s software.

“We are so pleased with the incredible success Learning Blade is having in its first year of statewide adoption,” said APSRC executive director Scott Smith. “It often takes programs years to reach the level of penetration Learning Blade has achieved. We are thankful to the many educations co-ops that have sponsored and continue to share Learning Blade professional development sessions.”

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