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.

EP 116 – Conflict Resolution for Parents and Professionals with Lorraine Segal

Parents and Professionals…  this one is for you!!

There are times when one must deal with conflicts in the home or in the workplace.  It is common for a parent and a child to spar over homework and other chores.  These incidents do not have to become major confrontations if the parents have the tools and techniques to mollify and improve the situations by making the child an ally in the process.

Our guest, Lorraine Segal, M.A. is a Conflict Management and Communication Consultant, Coach and Trainer.  Through her business www.conflictremedy.com she works with leaders and others at corporations and non-profits as well as colleges, and government agencies to promote harmonious and productive workplaces.

She is the curriculum designer and lead teacher for the Conflict Management professional development certificate program at Sonoma State University in California.

She was recently named one of the top 30 Conflict Resolution experts to follow on Linkedin.  She is a contributing author to the book – Stand Up, Speak Out Against Workplace Bullying,. and is a featured blogger at Mediate.com.   Learn more at www.conflictremedy.com

Some of the talking points in this conversation:

  1. Tell us about your business, Conflict Remedy. What do you do and who are your ideal clients?
  2. What do people need to understand about conflict? and how do you help managers, CEOs, and organizations in general manage conflict?
  3. You created a program and teach conflict management to professionals through Sonoma State University. What are the most important concepts you want your students to understand?
  4. When someone has to have a difficult conversation that they’d really rather avoid, what do you  suggest they do?
  5. How can people give and receive feedback that is effective? What can you do with negative or vague feedback to make it useful and not take it personally?

EP 115 – The Test Camp – Dr Scott Wise

Let’s solve the Test Taking Skills Resource once and for all.  Here it is:


mAke the grAde, and Dr Steven Greene, are proud to be partners with Dr Scott Wise in this critically important resource.

By special arrangement with The Test Camp for the mAke the grAde family… Please use this link to get 10% off all courses (and they are a great value to begin with! – 2 options only $10 for access until Sept 1 (summer) and only $30 for a full year of support)




In the current academic environment high stakes standard test are used not just to evaluate students’ progress and educational status but also to determine funding, curriculum and in some cases, teachers compensation.

The emphasis and importance of these tests, right or wrong, has never been greater.  

Enter Dr Scott Wise. A career educator who has created a source for your child to learn HOW to take tests and how to PERFORM up to their best ability on tests.


The podcast guest is Test Camp founder Dr. Scott Wise. His forty-plus-year career in teaching and teacher education includes being president of the Association of Teacher Educators in Florida. He and his colleagues have assembled a group of highly-talented students, educators and technology professionals to bring you the dynamic project, The Test Camp. They are dedicated to providing affordable test skills training that empowers students to experience test success.
This discussion touched on several important topics.
  • Testing is a Performance
    School “Success” is determined by tests
    Examples of successful performers

    Test Success is Performance Success
  • Performance Success
    The Routines of Successful Performers
    Prepare, Practice, Perform
    Knowledge, Skills, & Confidence
    (Optional: Learning vs. Studenting)

  • Test Skills Practice
    Acquiring Skills requires Practice

    Second-nature during a performance
    Problem-Solving System

  • Success as a Lifestyle
    Applying Problem-Solving to situations
    Reflection: Continuous Improvement
    Personal “Appearance”
    (Johari Window)

PS – These skills / techniques are just as valuable on professional certification exams like the

  • Bar Exam
  • CPA Exams
  • Insurance Licensing Exams
  • MCATs
  • LSATs
  • Nursing Certification Exams
  • Etc etc etc.

mAke the grAde, and Dr Steven Greene, are proud to be partners with Dr Scott Wise in this critically important resource.  When you go to the site to access this excellent information use the code MAKETHEGRADE when you check out for a discount and access to bonus material. 

EP 114 – Phil Vetrano – Using the proper intel to make the best college admissions decision

Parents – You know what one of the most important decisions you can make?

  • What college will my child go to? 
  • Is this the right decision? 
  • How do I know this is the best? 
  • Will my child thrive? 
  • What is the best way to make this very important decision? 
  • How can I feel that we are making the right decision?

Meet Phil Vetrano, MBA,  founder of Planning and Vision, LLC, planningandvision.com, a data and analytics driven college advising and coaching service.

Phil Vetrano graduated with MBA from Hofstra University and has spent the past 7 years researching and analyzing colleges and speaking with 100’s of college students and staff to understand the strengths and weaknesses of 100’s of colleges.  Planning & Vision, LLC helps families and students prepare to optimize their investment in College and provides them with a competitive edge in career planning. Coach Phil uses strategic and data-driven methods to identify the best college fit for each prospective student, where they can thrive academically and socially within the family budget.  He helps students stand out to earn higher scholarships and higher earnings potential.  He assists students to improve their chances in gaining acceptance into selective colleges.  He truly has the students’ best interest in mind to save them from some of the missteps that so many have made before them so they can make an informed decision and improve their chances of success.

Talking Points:

Major Issues Facing Students & Parents When Considering College

1) Most HS students are unsure about their future and are generally Undecided about their career pursuits. No Real Plan or Purpose. At the end of the day, millions of HS Students are not really prepared to have a tremendous amount of success in college.

2) 42% of College Students are dropping out or not able to complete Bachelors degree in 6 years.  More than 50% are not completing it in 4 years.  30% of freshmen transfer or dropout.

3) Higher Education is expensive.  Student Debt is off the charts.


Two Free Virtual Seminars and 2 Fee Based Virtual Seminars in the Month of May.

(My Website will be updated to reflect the times and dates by 9pm)

Biggest success this past few months, Planning & Vision saved $17K per year for one student at a reputable and selective school after the student already received a $20K scholarship from the school.    I spent one hour with one client and I saved her additional $2,500 in college costs each year at a college with a Nursing Program which will add up to $10K if she continues there all 4 years.

About Phil:

Phil Vetrano has spent the last few years making a positive difference in HS & College Students lives by providing them with exceptional insights and opportunities to identify their academic and career goals with a methodology that keeps the students engaged, interested and anxious to learn more.  The students affectionally call him Coach Phil.  Coach Phil lets the student know that they are the CEO of their career and this process is all about them and each family members can be a valuable member of the team to provide assistance in preparation of the most significant decision of the teen’s life. The biggest and most daunting question for a student is: What am I going to do after High School?  For most teenagers, it is the first time they are making an adult decision and most are ill prepared to really understand what all their options are and how to go about this crucial decision-making process.  

Coach Phil Vetrano started performing Best Fit College & College Readiness analysis back in 2014 when his son was a sophomore in HS. After 2 years of solid research and data analysis of 1000 colleges, visiting 17 colleges, and speaking to 100’s of colleges; father and son were very confident that he was applying to 8 of his best fit colleges. After applying to all 8 colleges, Coach Phil performed a much deeper analysis to distinguish each college to assess which 3 colleges his son would be most likely to academically and socially thrive at, and determined which ones were the best value, within budget to avoid any student debt.  In April 2021, his son has a 3.8 GPA at his favorite University and completed his Bachelor Degree requirements in International Affairs in 3 years and has $0.00 Student Debt and he currently interns at the State Department in Washington DC. 

Planning & Vision, LLC helps families and students prepare to optimize their investment in College and provides them with a competitive edge in career planning. Coach Phil uses strategic and data-driven methods to identify the best college fit for each prospective student, where they can thrive academically and socially within the family budget.  He helps students stand out to earn higher scholarships and higher earnings potential.  He assists students to improve their chances in gaining acceptance into selective colleges.  He truly has the students’ best interest in mind to save them from some of the missteps that so many have made before them so they can make an informed decision and improve their chances of success.

Registration is required.  To register, call or email Coach Phil (516) 520-4894 philvetrano13.1@gmail.com

Learn More:

Coach Phil Vetrano, MBA
Planning & Vision, LLC
Schedule an appointment:


EP 113 – Mindfullness and Productivity and Energy

Are your basic daily habits (or lack of them!) getting in the way of your success?
Are you able to maximize your productivity and your successes?
Join us for a compelling conversation with Agua Nyame-Mensah, an executive and leadership coach (ICF), facilitator, and speaker.
As a former startup executive, she launched an online platform for the first African-based technology unicorn Jumia Group. Akua has had the opportunity to live and work in the U.S., Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa and has consulted in and visited over 30 countries worldwide. In her work, she loves combining ‘traditional’ coaching approaches with leadership psychology, neuroscience, emotional intelligence research, and what some might consider ‘woo.’ Akua loves supporting leaders who are juggling multiple responsibilities and teaches them how to clarify where they should focus their time and energy each day.
Events: visit my events page for upcoming events – www.akuanm.com/events
Service: visit my sales page for my signature service – https://www.akuanm.com/work-with-akua
Talking Points:
  • Relationship between mindfulness + productivity
  • How to manage your energy during this time
  • How to prioritize
  • Key pieces to showing up as an inspiring/ productive leader

EP 112 Jonathan Brush and Unbound – the alternative university experience

Education Live Thursday – Is College for Everyone? What’s your plan B? A conversation with Jonathan Brunch from Unbound

Learn about some ways that you can get a 4 year college degree… but with a different track AND no student loan debt.

We’ll discuss…
* College isn’t for everyone, and that’s a good thing
* The critical educational need for today’s world is to be able to quickly and effectively master complicated information. “Knowing” is less important than being able to learn.
* To be able to make better decisions about your educational future (and to make wiser decisions in life) reject an answers based paradigm and shift to a questions based paradigm. An answers based system says you have to know exactly what career you want to go into and retire from before you can decide your major and choose your college. That’s crazy. Who knows the answer to that at 17 or 18 (or 30 for that matter)? A questions based paradigm says that asking the right questions and seeking those answers in an iterative, small scale process, is not only a better and more accurate way to make decisions about your future, it’s also a lot less stressful.
* Your Q/A
JONATHAN BRUSH has worked in higher education for over 20 years. He worked for over a decade in traditional higher education as a Director of Admissions for a private, selective, liberal arts college and has over a decade in non-traditional higher education, first as the founder and director of a student life experience and program for an accelerate distance learning company and currently as the President and CEO of Unbound, an education company that specializes in project based education. You can learn more about Jonathan and Unbound a www.beunbound.us.

EP 111 Apex Leadership with Ken Meyers

This week on Education Live Thursday the guest is Ken Meyers….
Join us every thursday 8pm for a discussion of all things education and beyond.
Ken Meyers, APEX Leadership – kenm@apexleadershipco.com
Learn more about Ken here:
At Apex Leadership Co. we build tomorrow’s leaders today — while simultaneously raising more money for your school with our hassle-free approach for busy volunteers.
Our powerful online platform maximizes your time and increases your reach for fundraising, all while our team of athletes does the heavy lifting and teaches PBIS-based leadership lessons. We combine fitness, fundraising and leadership into a powerful united event that builds your funds and your students’ character education.
And by the way, they help schools raise a LOT of funds for many much needed projects and enhancements.

EP 110 The Stress Less Life with Carlee Myers

Carlee Meyers – of Stresslessco,com – helps everyone to reduce stress using a propriety system she developed through her life experience and intuitive sense working through her own personal struggles.
Carlee offers a complimentary Stress Assessment: https://stresslessco.com/apply


EP 109 Creative Healing with Katie K May

Education Live Thursday – Every week – Updates on topics in Education and Academic Tips.
This week, our guest is Katie K. May is the Owner and Clinical Director of Creative Healing, a Teen Support Center with 3 locations in the Greater Philadelphia area: Flourtown, King of Prussia and Philadelphia.
Their team of teen specialists offer individual and group therapy for teen self-expression, support and skill-building with a focus on Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Trauma-Informed practices and LGBTQ-affirming care.
Check out the video version of this conversation here: https://youtu.be/H6qs5c3gZus