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Mississippi Organizations Support Middle School STEM and Computer Science Career Software

Wed, 11/03/2021 - 09:23am | By: Van Arnold

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has taken a lead role in helping Mississippi middle schools gain access to a system that exposes students to high-demand careers.

USM, in collaboration with the Mississippi Department of Education, is using a grant from Governor’s Emergency Education Response (GEER) fund program to make Learning Blade software available to all middle schools statewide free of charge. Learning Blade is a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and computer science careers online software platform.

Mississippi middle schools can sign up for their free license by filling out the form at

The GEER fund allows local education agencies, through governor’s offices, to access emergency funds to support STEM and other education that are struggling due to Covid-19 affects. Learning Blade will develop students’ interest in high-demand jobs by increasing awareness of the careers and relating the academics to helping solve social issues that affect young students.

Dr. Carey Wright, Superintendent of Education in Mississippi shared that “Learning Blade is a great addition to our initiatives to help improve student achievement in Mississippi, especially as they support core academics which helps increase proficiency.”

Recently, Learning Blade and Dr. Sarah Lee, Director of the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering (CSCE) at USM, partnered to host a Cyber Security hour. In this webinar, they shared a few examples of cyber security-related activities from the software that includes more than 400 online lessons, teacher lesson plans, and printable at-home activities. Some of the topics covered included cyber encryption, wire framing apps/app design, and drag and drop coding. Click here to see the recorded webinar.

“Learning Blade is a valuable resource for Mississippi middle schools as it will expose students to the possibilities in computer science, cybersecurity, and other STEM careers and help develop computational skills necessary for any vocation in our digital society,” said Lee.

The Learning Blade system leads students though 12 human-centered issues, where students learn how different STEM and Computer Science careers help solve them. The program also practices basic academic skills along the way and is aligned to state academic standards for grades 5-9. With the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Learning Blade has been shown to be especially useful for providing quality STEM engagement in both classroom and blended learning settings in states across the country.

Earlier in 2021, Learning Blade also released a Chromebook app, the Learning Blade Backpack, which helps bridge the digital divide by enabling students to access and complete Learning Blade’s interactive lessons, even with limited or no internet access.  The app serves as a true game changer for both rural and urban students.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 12 percent growth in computing occupations from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all other occupations. USM’s School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering is committed to broadening participation in computing and developing the technical leaders of tomorrow.

CSCE offers multiple computing majors including computer science, computer engineering, and information technology, and bachelors, masters, and doctoral degree programs. The faculty work with undergraduate and graduate students to develop the next generation of innovative researchers, and many graduates are furthering their education in graduate programs at USM or other institutions across the country.

To learn more about the School of Computing Sciences and Computer Engineering, call 601.266.4949 or visit: