Why Electronics Design Should Be an Elective or Extracurricular Option

Why Electronics Design Should Be an Elective or Extracurricular Option

When we think about how to help kids get the most out of their education today, there are plenty of factors to consider. We think about time management and study habits, how to navigate different kinds of coursework, when to use a tutor or do certain kinds of test preparation, and now even how to go about remote learning. Aside from all of this though, there is also something to be said for considering the actual subjects kids have access to throughout their schooling.

This is by no means a suggestion that we should do away with traditional subjects. It is, however, increasingly apparent that our school system could stand to be modernized with regard to subject material. Not all that much has been done to adapt to the digital world we now live in, and there is a risk that newly vital skills and subjects are not being addressed by older curriculums.

An EdWeek article on modernizing education essentially agreed with this line of thinking, and presented a handful of specific topics that need to be covered more thoroughly — such as entrepreneurship, wellness, and social sciences. We might throw in topics like media literacy and digital security as well. But in this post we want to delve into another subject brought up in the EdWeek place: engineering, and in this case electrical engineering specifically.

There are a number of reasons for electronics design to be infused into more schools and systems as an elective or extracurricular option for kids.

It’s an Interesting “Extra”

We’ve talked about ‘How to Get the Most Out of Your Academic Time’ before, and in doing so mentioned the importance of including extracurricular activities in a calendar. We do see these as part of the total educational process, and would generally encourage students to pursue them. What will be healthiest for our school system long term, however, is if we stop thinking of extracurricular solely as sports, drama, music, and art. As wonderful as activity in all of those areas can be, students should ideally have more opportunities to pursue specific interests.

Electronics design and electrical engineering are among the activities that would likely prove to be interesting alternatives to many kids — and that’s what the consideration should look like. School leaders should think about what might really grab kids’ attention and strive to expand elective and extracurricular options accordingly. And in our increasingly digital age, it’s easy to imagine a lot of kids getting excited about learning how to build circuit boards and program their own electronics.

Real Tech is Accessible

One potential issue with a subject such as this that demands practical application is that schools don’t have the necessary resources. After all, at least in the short term it is all but unrealistic to expect many schools to be able to ramp up their budgets and secure materials for designing circuits in person (though some physics departments will already have some such materials). With this in mind though, it is important to note that much of the electronics design process is now digital — and much of the relevant tech is completely accessible.

Looking through the downloadable programs on Altium, you can quickly see that there is affordable software available that can teach and facilitate electronic engineering. The programs just alluded to specifically represent cutting-edge printed circuit board creation, which is about the most fundamental skill in modern electronics design. Through this or similar software, an instructor can learn the basics and help a class of interested students to progress toward being able to piece together their own functioning electronics from scratch. That’s quite a lot of benefit for a low price, and makes this a feasible extracurricular option even for schools with tight budgets.

Expansive Real-World Possibility

One reason that the topic of modernizing school curriculums is becoming more prevalent is that students need to be prepared to pursue work in modern job markets. And in this regard too, electronics design should be considered strongly. For reference, a MarketWatch piece on electrical engineering services stated earlier this year that this market has been “witnessing unprecedented growth” of late, on the back of increasing demand for tech in service industries.

This is not to say that that trend will always continue, nor that learning electrical engineering fundamentals necessarily leads to work in technology for service industries. The point stands, however, that in today’s world capable electronics designers and engineers tend to be in demand. Thus, students with the freedom to pursue this interest early can get a head start toward an exciting job market full of opportunity.

Ultimately, there are again many potential subjects and electives that could help to modernize our children’s educational options. But for the reasons stated here, we see electronics design as one that should be considered strongly.

Homeschooling Options for Elementary School Students

When your child is old enough to go to elementary school, it can be tough to decide on the right education path. These days, homeschooling is becoming more and more popular for a variety of reasons. However, having access to so many options can be overwhelming to many parents.


So, to help you understand the potential benefits and downsides, we want to go over the different homeschooling options for elementary school students. This decision will affect your child for years to come, so you must take the time to decide.


Homeschooling Methods

Technically speaking, there are seven different options for homeschooling, but we’re going to break them down into three sections: conventional, online, and individual learning. Here is what you can expect from each.


Conventional Homeschooling: Classical Method, Charlotte Mason, School-at-Home

With this method, you develop a structured curriculum for your child to follow. Typically, subjects are similar to what you might find in a classroom, but you can tailor the material to fit your child’s needs.


The Classical method focuses heavily on ancient works and texts and looks at how ideas and learning have evolved over time. There is a strong historical element to the curriculum.


Charlotte Mason schooling is based on segmenting the day into blocks of learning and interaction with nature. This method is also heavily Christian-based, so most of the material has a biblical lean to it.


Finally, school-at-home is designed to mimic the classroom as much as possible. Rather than learning from a teacher at school, your child follows the material with you.


Online Homeschooling: Unit Studies, School-at-Home

As the name suggests, your child does most of his or her learning online. You can find a wide array of courses and curriculum based on different subjects, such as math, science, and reading.


To ensure that your little one doesn’t spend all day in front of a screen, most of these courses have downloadable material you can use to teach as well. Also, they will suggest tactile learning like field trips, playtime, and other real-world elements. Make the Grade is a perfect example of merging online curricula with homeschooling techniques.


Unit studies are when different topics are grouped into a related unit. For example, when studying ancient history, you may talk about the geography of the Roman Empire, the science behind aqueducts, and present reading material from the time. This method is much easier to do online since you have instant access to information.


Individual Learning: Montessori, Unschooling,  Eclectic Education

Finally, rather than developing a curriculum for your child to follow, you can let your little one dictate how he or she learns. Individual homeschooling can focus on topics that interest your child, and it has a more freeform feel to it.


Montessori schooling focuses on tactile learning, such as playing and interacting with objects, rather than reading books.


Unschooling is popular because it lets the child learn at his or her own pace and focused on activities and learn-as-you methodologies.


Eclectic Education is the loosest option available, as it has no rigid schedule or curriculum. You basically make it up as you go based on the needs and passions of your child. For example, if he or she is interested in biology, your lessons will mostly be related to that.


Bottom Line: Homeschooling is Adaptable

Overall, you want to focus on the why behind homeschooling before looking at the how. Will your child go to school at some point? A structured lesson plan will help prepare him or her for that. Do you want to avoid the assembly-line nature of modern education? Then Unschooling or Montessori may be a better option.


Resource: https://thebestschools.org/magazine/homeschool-style-right/#eclecticeducation

Information Management – Creative Ways to Take Notes

If you want to be a good learner, then you need to be good at retaining information. No matter how excellent you are at memorization, the only way to retain details is by taking notes. Unfortunately, there is no universal way of doing this, which means that it can be a struggle for many students.


So, with that in mind, we want to share some quick tips for note-taking. Whether you’re going to high school, college, or graduate school, it’s never too late to improve your methods. Got your materials handy? Let’s dive in.


Step One: Mindset is Everything

First and foremost, if you hate taking notes, then no strategy will work for you. Instead, you’ll have to change your attitude so that these tactics will take hold. It’s all too easy to be negative and pessimistic. Unfortunately, that mindset will lead to failure.


Step Two: Do Some Research

If you’re taking a class about ancient history, then you know that some of the topics will be empires like Egypt and Rome. If you’re taking economics, then you should know a little bit about the concept of supply and demand.


Overall, you don’t want to walk into a class unprepared. Look over the syllabus, do any required reading, or do a cursory online search. Studies show that students who read the material before class retained the information better than those who didn’t.


Step Three: Find the Path That Works For You

Not all note-taking strategies will work for everyone. We highly recommend experimenting with these options until you find one that sticks. Also, keep in mind that one method may work better for some classes, but not others. Once you find a strategy you like, don’t assume that you have to stick with it forever.


Here are the most common note-taking methods.



In this case, you create a structured outline of the course material. There are headings, subheadings, and then detailed information below them. This article can serve as an example of an outlined page. Outlining is best for classes with linear details and structure.


Cornell Method

This strategy is similar to outlining, but there are also sections for “cues” and a summary at the bottom. Cues are reminders to yourself of what information to remember. It can be a snippet of a larger section. The summary is an overview of the topic, covering all of the primary details.



When a topic is broad or abstract, outlining won’t work as well. Instead, you might want to try mapping. In this case, you start with the primary topic in the center and then draw lines to subtopics. Subtopics can be related to each other, or they can split off into separate branches. Typically, mapping enables you to see the bigger picture while also spotting more intricate details.



Finally, if you have to take notes that will be memorized, it helps to create a chart. The chart will have rows and columns like a spreadsheet. Each row will be a new topic, and the columns should be organized to present details linearly. Feel free to add and subtract sections as you see fit.


Once you master note-taking, learning will be much easier and more accessible. Again, be sure to experiment to find the process that works best for you, and see how well it helps your education.

What type of parent (or person?) are you? Hint – there are 3 types

What type of parent (or person?) are you? 

Parenting is a tough job.  No question about it.  It’s always been difficult but it’s been particularly challenging in the last four months  With the necessity for parents to simultaneously provide childcare, oversee education academics, and work from home.  This is very stressful not only for the parents but also for the children and the household overall.

Personal story here? I know how you feel because… 

Case study? A recent student…


How parents plan, or react, or ignore, the circumstances have an enormous impact on their household and on their children.    It’s very important that our children have leadership and structure so that they can maximize their education despite the stresses of the outside world.  Of course, this period of time is stressful for everyone, particularly, perhaps, children but also parents as well and everyone will cope differently with the stresses.

Having spoken to hundreds of parents since the outbreak in March I have determined that there are essentially are 3 types of parent – and for hat matter people –  in the world:

  1. Proactive People
  2. Reactive People
  3. Inactive People

So, which type are you?

How does your style of parenting impact your child’s academics?

Let’s take a quick look at each type of style and how they deal with the academic day.

Proactive parents / people 

Proactive parents plan ahead. They anticipate what’s going to come up in the future and they have a prior system in place to deal with it. In terms of parenting and academics these are the sort of people who arrange for tutoring and other types of support before their children might actually need it because they want to avoid any sort of issue. They never let a small problem become a medium or large problem.   These types of parents generally have lower stress because they do not allow circumstances to reach a point that would become stressful.   These are the type of parents who have their five structures of success in place and utilize the three tenants of Maximum Education.   They expect their children to be successful because their children are in a situation that leads to success.

Reactive parents / people

Reactive parents deal with things as they happen. They wait until there is an issue but they do act quickly once the issue arises. Academically speaking these are the sort of people who will call a tutor the first day after their student comes home with a subpar grade on a quiz or test.  Sometimes reactive people have a system in place where they have a support mechanism that has worked for them that they have used in the past and sometimes they don’t, so their stress level is going to vary depending on how quickly they can solve the problems in the moment.  Reactive parents probably have some aspects of the structures and systems in place, but often do not use them consistently.   They tend to be tolerant of imperfections and the inevitable ups and downs of the  academic cycles.

Inactive parents / people 

Inactive parents basically do not react or are not proactive in any situation. In the academic realm they take a laissez-faire attitude and they more or less allow the situation to dictate what is happening to themselves and to their children. This does not mean they don’t care about the children, but their expectation is that things will work themselves out, and that everything eventually will figure itself out.   Inactive parents  are not necessarily bad parents, and this is not intended as any indictment of their parenting skills,  however they tend to leave too many things to chance, and are often  unable to provide the structures and the needed skills and tools for their children to maximize their success.

So ask yourself, which type of parent am I? 

Or, which type of parent do I want to be?

Managing Information to Do the Big Job in Small Steps

Managing all of the information that you need to absorb as a student can be a delicate balance. It can become difficult at times to find enough time to study properly, manage your time, prepare for exams and organize all of your information. The following is how to manage information by doing the big job in small steps.

Set Your Schedule

It can become overbearing to deal with all of your responsibilities if you don’t create an organized schedule and stick to it. Rather than waiting until the day before an exam to study a large amount of material, set times during the prior week to chunk out your study sessions. This will allow you to absorb the information easier, and relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with studying for an important exam. Spending an hour out of each day to study is much more manageable than studying for several hours in one day.

Center Your Focus

Having assignments due for multiple classes at once is a tough reality, but you will need to complete all of the work on time in order to maintain your grades. Avoid multitasking on material from different classes all at once. Try to knock out the assignments for one class at a time, this will make it easier for you to stay concentrated on that subject.

Ask About the Details

The job of your professor is to explain the material in a way that you can understand, so don’t be discouraged about asking for more information. Even the smallest details on a study guide or assignment can have significant meaning, so ask for clarification on anything that you find confusing. Knowing as many details as possible about the work that you need to do will increase your ability to knock out large projects.

Contact Make The Grade

If you’re a student that is currently struggling with classwork and managing their schedule, contact Make the Grade. Our high-quality tutoring and consulting services are available at an affordable rate. Our tutoring sessions are able to be conducted directly in our office, or virtually through an online classroom. We can teach you valuable skills that will help you improve your grades and your overall life as a student. Give us a call at (215)-540-8378 or visit our website at https://makethegrade.net/ to get in touch with us and learn more about our services.

Best Practices for Virtual Learning in Middle School

Traditional education methods are not the best choice for everyone. Some students work best outside the classroom in a virtual environment. Middle school is a great time to introduce virtual learning options to students, as this is a time of great change. So, trying out new learning methods to see what works best is ideal. If you and your middle school-aged child choose to try out virtual learning, here are some best practices to follow to get the most out of the experience.

Have a Plan in Place

The best way to fail at virtual learning is to jump in without a solid plan in place. Developing a solid plan before you begin will help to keep you on track. Start by creating a plan for the entire school year and then break it into semesters. Finally, break it down into monthly and weekly plans. When your work is broken into smaller chunks, it will help keep you organized and focused.

Communicate With Your Teachers

Being in a virtual learning environment does not mean you will be completely cut off from school. It is crucial that you remain in regular contact with your teachers. Your teachers are your best source of academic support. As a virtual learner, you will have access to all your teachers’ contact information. Use it as often as necessary. They are there to answer your questions, offer assistance and help solve your problems. Use the resource of your teachers as much as possible to make your virtual learning experience an easy one.

Keep a Notebook

Keeping a notebook is a great way to keep all of your schoolwork organized and easy to find. A great option is to have one large binder with a section for each class. You can take notes and work out problems in the notebook, so you will always know where to find them. Separate all of your subjects with dividers so your work has a specific place to go, and it can be accessed more easily when you need it.

Do Work for all of Your Classes Every Day

In the self-paced environment of virtual learning, it can be easy to procrastinate and let some schoolwork wait until the last minute. But, it is crucial to stay on top of assignments so you do not fall behind. The best way to do that is to get in the habit of doing some work for all of your classes every day. That way, you can ensure that everything stays fresh in your mind, and you do not fall behind in your work.

Following these easy best practices will help you get the most out of your virtual learning experience. For more information about best practices for virtual learning in middle school, contact Make the Grade today.

Virtual Learning Best Practices for High School Level

High school is an important time in a young person’s life. It’s the period when they really begin to develop, both physically and emotionally, into the kinds of people they will be. Therefore, it is vital that you help give your child the best homeschooling experience possible. Here are some ways to know if virtual learning is right for your high schooler, and some of the best online resources for them to use.

Should I Homeschool my High Schooler?

There are a lot of myths about homeschooled kids that cloud people’s judgment on the subject. Some people believe that homeschooling makes kids socially stunted, shy and distant from reality. These myths are completely untrue, but that doesn’t mean that homeschooling is right for everyone. If your child is independent, highly organized, disciplined, and works best by themselves, homeschooling can be a highly enriching experience. Some kids thrive under the structure of public or private school and some kids are more productive by working on their own schedule. Either way is fine, just make sure to assess your child’s personality and temperament before you make a decision.

What Online High School Should I Choose?

There are thousands of accredited, online high schools in the United States, and many more throughout the world. No virtual learning program is a one size fits all school, and you should thoroughly research several of them before you make a decision. This can be a long process, so to help you out, here are some factors to consider before you start looking.

First, look at the range of courses they offer. Then, research how flexible their courses are for achieving a diploma. Also, consider the academic support offered by faculty members, the technology they use, testimonies from graduates and tuition rates. Do this research alongside your son or daughter and listen to the sort of features they value in an online high school before deciding. It’s a lot of work, but it’s for your child’s education.

There’s no one way to homeschool your child. The nature of homeschooling is that the child’s schedule, methods, study habits and recreational time is mostly theirs to decide. However, that doesn’t mean that the quality of education a homeschooled child receives will always be the same. If you are interested in homeschooling your child, do the necessary research so that you’ll know they are getting the most out of their virtual learning.

How to Maximize your Pod Experience (podcast 84 transcript)

Editors note: This is the transcript to the mAke the grAde podcast episode 84 = How to maximize your pod experience.

Podcast highlight:

10 must do’s to insure a successful pod:

  1. Compatibility
  2. Structures
  3. Evaluation
  4. Go beyond academics.
  5. Set goals.
  6. Teamwork and group work
  7. Interface with other pods.
  8. Seek expert advice.
  9. Interface with teachers.
  10. Make the pod unique. You don’t have to emulate school to be successful and for the children to learn.


Podcast episode- this one is going to be called ‘How to Maximize Your Pod Experience’. Pods are super big now, that’s what this is all about: how to maximize your pods experience. Here we go.

We are back! Doctor Steven Greene- the Success Doctor- with the Make the Grade podcast, and speaking of podcast today. Get your pen, get your notes, we need a lot of notes to be taken. I’m going to be telling you how to maximize your pod experience; not podcasting, pods.

So what is a pod? Well, if you are not familiar, here’s what’s going on: So many students, so many schools, so many people are now on virtual learning (home learning, remote learning, call it what you may, ‘homeschooling’) and what’s happened is families and groups have banded together to form small little consortiums we are calling ‘pods’.

So the pods will tend to have a commonality- maybe they’re all fifth graders, maybe they all go to the same school, maybe they live in the same neighborhood, but it’s their room for support.

One of the driving forces of the pod isn’t even academic, it’s almost a childcare issue because parents have to go back to work or have to work at home, and it’s difficult to monitor individually while you’re working- especially if you have multiple children- several things going on at once and, as an adult, trying to do your day job. Difficult.

So let’s get right to the meat of the topic for this episode, which is how do you- how does a student, how does a parent, how does a family, how does a pod maximize the pod experience?

So number one: You’ve got to make sure there’s compatibility. I imagine that if the kids don’t get along or the circumstances aren’t favorable that way, you’re going to have some issue just like you would in a normal classroom. So you need to have a commonality there; maybe they’re friends, maybe they’re in the same class.

This seems fairly obvious, but sometimes things get put together more for convenience or because this is kind of all you could find than are being put together from an academic compatibility standpoint. So my thing’s always academics. That’s where I prioritize. So can the members of the pod- grade level, socially- get together and work together? So that’s an important consideration.

Number two: You must have your structures in place. I talk frequently about the five important structures of home learning, and we’ll get into it very briefly now. Number one- and this is all true with the pod- number one: You have to have your physical structure in place. Where are the children going to work? Are they all at one big table? Are they separated in different rooms? Are they sitting on the floor? Do they have desks? Did you bring in tables and maybe set them up? 

And I have seen- as an aside, right now I’m administering four different pods of different age groups, and I’m going to draw on some of that experience throughout this. But in one case, families actually bought tables, de facto desks, and each child has a table- their desk, their workspace- they’re separated, they’re socially distanced, and they’re working there. So you must have a physical structure. 

You have to have a time structure. The time structure of a pod does not have to mirror 100% the school unless the kids have to be in front of the screen engaged in the class at the time, which does happen. Some schools are having structures where from 9:20 to 10:45 it’s math class and you have to be logged into that class.

But as an administrator of a pod or a member of a pod, you have to have a time situation that’s understood by everybody. You can’t have one child running around doing what they want and another one doing something else.

Number three is the academic structure. What is driving the academics? Most likely, it’s going to be material from the school, but it may not completely be that, and you may have children at different levels. We have somebody who’s an advanced math student paired with somebody who’s struggling with math.

The fourth structure is accountability. Who is keeping the children and the students accountable? Is it the administrator of the pod? Or the parents? Is it the teachers? How’s the grading happening? And the last one is support. If you need exterior support, where are you going to get it? I’m administering some pods, I’m handling most of this, but there are things that we need extra help on. Sometimes it’s actual, physical care. We have six kids in one of the pods. Sometimes they bring in a second admin to break the groups up into smaller groups.

But you need to know where that support’s coming from ahead of time. You don’t want that to be something you’re concerned about when it’s a big problem. As I like to say, “You won’t find the number for the firehouse when the fire’s already started.” Plan ahead. Be proactive.

Number three: You need to evaluate and reevaluate. How is it working? Are the kids still compatible two, three weeks in? Are they working at a similar pace? Are they helping each other? What’s working? Do more of it. What’s not working? Do less of it. Important. Test and measure, reevaluate, and then move ahead.

Number four- I feel strongly about this one. Go beyond academics. Most of the pods I’m experiencing and most of the ones the people I know are doing and working in are centered on the academics and the childcare aspect because that’s the real reality of what’s going on, particularly in the first two, three months of school.

But don’t be hesitant about bringing other things in. I’ll talk to people that are putting pods together to do art, to do music, to have like a little chamber orchestra that they’re putting together. I’ve heard about ones where people are doing art. A lot of people do dance; they’re getting together and doing dancing, sports. So the pod does not necessarily have to center on academics, although many do. But think about branching out and bringing in what I’m just going to call ‘extracurricular activities’ to the pod. 

Steve Greene here at the Make the Grade podcast. My goal, always, is to provide actions that parents and students can take immediately to maximize their education. Talking today about pods; how to get the most out of your pods. Speaking of maximizing, how do you maximize your pod experience?

Number five: Set goals. Set individual goals for each member of the pod. Set collective goals for the pod as a group. Where do you want everybody to be at the end of each week? Where do you want the group to be at the end of each week? Where do you want to be today? This falls back on the accountability structure.

You can’t just set a goal after it’s happened, you’ve got to set a goal. So with the pods I’m running, Monday we sit down, we get together. What are we going to accomplish this week? We’ve got all the school things. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Check, check check. But what else are we going to do? Are we going to get better on our time management? Are we going to get better at taking notes? Are we going to get better at working together, cooperating? There’s tangibles, there’s intangibles. There’s subjective, there’s objective.

Number six: I like to encourage teamwork and group work in pods, to a point. Obviously, part of the reason of the pod is you’re social distancing from the larger group, but the assumption is the children in the pod are COVID-free, safe, so they can work together, at least to a point. So we have done a lot in one of the pods with teamwork, group work, sharing responsibilities, doing activities together. I brought a big whiteboard into one of the pods, basically like a blackboard or chalkboard would be in a classroom, old school. And we take turns writing problems on the board. We’re also doing the same thing collectively through the technology because we’re all sharing the same program on the computer. But the point is, have the kids work together. Do group work.

Number seven: Interface with other pods. Now, I’m not talking about physically. We had a situation in a pod I was running last week where we got onto a group call with another pod. So there were seven people at my location, me and the six members of the pod, and four at another one, and we did a jeopardy game with the kids playing against each other while they were learning a topic. So we would flash a math problem on the screen, they would all do it, one team would get a point who got it right, things like that. But we interfaced with another pod. It was really fun, the kids liked it, a little positive competitiveness. It was good, and we’ll continue to do it.

Number eight: Seek expert advice. Look, parents are doing the best they can. Teachers are doing the best they can. But parents at home running the pod, this is not what you’re trained to do, this is not what you’re used to doing. In some cases, frankly, it’s not what some people want to do. They’re doing it out of necessity. So don’t be hesitant to seek expert advice outside of the pod when needed.

I have four other pods I’m working with that just consult me whenever- irregularly. “How do we handle this?” “What’s your advice on this?” “What would you do in this situation?” Because you need a trained teacher. Education is a skill. Education is something you can learn to do. There’s all sorts of theory within it that you learn as a teacher, and you get experience as a teacher. So ask when you need help. It’s not a bad thing.

Number nine: Interface with teachers. In this case, I mean the students’ teachers, the children in the pod’s teachers. So in the pods I’m admin-ing, I have set up a situation about once a week, once every other week, where we have an email exchange with the teachers, and make sure everybody’s on the same page. How are they doing? Is everything being covered? Are there any gaps? Anything that isn’t being handled correctly? Anything not being submitted?

And I always ask, “What are we going to do next?” Because one of the things I do in all the pods I admin is I pre-teach and preview material for the kids; teach it to them ahead of time so that when they see it in the instruction, it’s almost a semi-review for them. It really helps them academically, it helps their comfort level, it helps their confidence.

And the last tip I’ve given, number ten: The pod does not have to be an emulation of school. It can be a much more open, freer environment. I look at it more almost like day camp interfacing with school. Let the kids have fun, let them interact, let them talk to each other. They don’t have to sit there, stoically, staring at the screen. And that’s not what school is about either, a lot of the time, but fundamentally, that’s what a group classroom requires. You have twenty-five, thirty children in a classroom, just to make it through the class you have to have a lot of structure, you need quiet, you need people all on the same page, engaged. So when you have a pod with three, four, five, six people, you can have a lot more interaction; talking, working together, comparing answers, things like this.

So there I’ve give you ten tips, and any one of them will help you, but real quickly:

Number One: Compatibility

Two: Structures

Three: Evaluation

Four: Go beyond academics.

Five: Set goals.

Six: Teamwork and group work

Seven: Interface with other pods.

Eight: Seek expert advice.

Nine: Interface with teachers.

Ten: Make the pod unique. You don’t have to emulate school to be successful and for the children to learn.


Steve Greene with the Make the Grade podcast. I’ll give you three other things you

can do. I offer a virtual learning plan. It’s an excellent tool. Parent, family fills out a survey, completes a questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire, I put together a two or three page document for you that guides you through home learning.

Let me make something clear: home learning is not going to be limited to virtual learning during the shut-in. There’s always been homework. I’ve been in education thirty plus years, there’s been homework all thirty of them. So there’s always a home component to learning, and this is what this plan does. It’s that much more valuable in a virtual situation. 

Number two: September 10th, 2020, 8:00 pm Eastern Time, www.makethegrade.school: Virtual Back to School Event. Perfect for parents, get tons of information about ways to maximize your back to school experience. There are six expert panel speakers covering all sorts of things across the board.

Number three: www.makethegrade.community. The Success Community; tremendous resource, tremendous support for everything I’ve talked about today.

So, let’s wrap it up. Steve Greene- the Success Doctor. My website, makethegrade.net; all things are accessible through there. You’ve also got the summit at makethegrade.school, you’ve got the success community at makethegrade.community.

I love your feedback, love your comments. Let me know what you’re thinking. Please share the podcast if it helps, because I know the more people that get this information (especially now) the more positive stuff is going to be happening in the education world. My role, to help students, parents, families to maximize their education.

Thank you again. Have a great week, have a great month, talk to you soon.

The Four Reasons Why Virtual Learning Is Here to Stay

The Four Reasons Why Virtual Learning
Is Here to Stay

This article was featured in Reverb.chat, a distance learning communication site. The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of Reverb.  This is a link to the original article: https://reverb.chat/blog/educators/four-reasons-virtual-learning-permanent/

Virtual learning is here to stay. Though COVID-19 has considerably accelerated the rollout of virtual / distance learning, the off-site learning option has existed for some time and will continue to expand in the near and long term.

Here’s why.

In the Spring of this year, all elementary, middle, and high schools, and universities were required to transition to distance learning. Of course, this was due to social distancing necessities, and it forced the adoption of virtual learning on a mass level. 

While initially unfavorable, these requirements have been revealing benefits that will lead to the longevity of remote and blended learning.

Distance learning comes with enormous cost savings as there’s less physical structure needed.

There’s more convenience, both for instructors and students at all levels.

Instructors can create and deliver content asynchronously, meaning there’s both more freedom for teachers and students. Students can learn at their own schedule, and teachers can teach on theirs. 

With asynchronous teaching comes a broader student and instructional base. Schools are not limited to only the students in the classroom and can sell coursework nationally or internationally.

All of this combines to make virtual learning an extremely appealing option and alternative to the traditional classroom.

A list of the reasons why virtual learning is here to stay: cost savings, convenience, asynchronous teaching and learning, more reach for schools, and more selection for students.

At my educational support company, as late as March 13th, just before the COVID-19 outbreak, about 65% of our students were served in-house at our facility, and 35% were online. By April 1st, 100% had transitioned online using our distance learning technology.

In a one-on-one setting, virtual / distance learning and tutoring are very effective. Students are given the attention and teaching protocol that works best for them to succeed.

Virtual education on a large classroom level, particularly with a highly heterogeneous population of students, is more challenging, and some disadvantages are well-publicized.

There’s less instructor to student interaction, more obstacles for students to receive answers to questions or support, and technology challenges. Not everyone has access to high-speed internet or sufficient technology to host online learning.

There’s also increased difficulty policing online cheating and giving fair exams. Students taking exams and assessments remotely lack the security and oversight that would occur in a classroom, so cheating and other dishonest practices are more common. 

Even so, for most situations, the positive characteristics of virtual learning outweigh the downsides.

As students, training and instructional centers, and academic institutions become more accustomed to distance protocols and standards, the implementation of proper virtual learning will increase and continue to grow. Technology will also improve over time, fixing the current downsides, and building a larger and larger segment of this instructional methodology.