Living in A Digital World – October 2019 Newsletter

Living in A Digital World

Fall is in the air, which means beautiful weather, wonderful festivities, and….in the education community midterm season. We want all students to ace their tests and have time to enjoy the fall weather!

Get the most out of studying by using our comprehensive digital test preparation tools. Over 100 flashcard courses for middle and high school test prep are available for download on our Exambusters page.

We live in a world where everything is digital, and schools are no exception. Thanks to the internet, things, including studying, have become much more user-friendly! Who would have thought we would have so many digital resources and tools at our fingertips?

In this issue, read about why this might not have been the case if not for the man known as the Father of Information Theory, Claude Shannon, who invented the digital circuit. To think that kids are now learning the digital language of coding. Dr. Shannon would be so proud! Take a few minutes to also read about all the benefits learning to code has for our students.

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10 Reasons Students Should Learn the Language of Coding

From farming to manufacturing, computer coding plays a part in everything. It’s safe to say our economy, our well-being, and our very lives depend on it. In a nutshell, coding (also called programming or developing) is telling a computer, app, phone or website what you want it to do.

It’s a 21st-century concept so important that every child needs to learn the basics to excel in our rapidly changing world.

Picking up this skill is a win/win; coding not only helps improve kids’ mathematics and writing skills but also gives them valuable life skills.

The next quarter-century will see rapid innovations in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Behind all of these breakthrough advances will be computer programmers and designers blazing the trail.

Teaching kids coding gives them a fluency in the architecture of tomorrow’s world. Even if they don’t end up as developers, the skills they will learn will pay dividends in nearly every career path on the planet.

The 10 reasons why kids should learn to code:

1. No Cyberbullying
Computer programming is a language, and it’s now one of the most widely used languages in the world. Seeing that most jobs involve computers and software, understanding the language that powers them is essential.

2. It builds critical thinking skills
Computational thinking teaches students to break down large problems into small, achievable steps. Building this skill alone is priceless, and many of our students claim that they now use this approach in general problem-solving.

3. It encourages creativity
Coding stimulates creativity. In other words, learning to code provides students with the ability to take what is in their minds and bring it to life on their computer screens. When a child’s unlimited creativity meets a tool with nearly unlimited potential, sparks fly!

4. It strengthens academic skills
Coding is the language of math. Learning to program involves many skills including organizing and analyzing data. Children can grow their math skills while coding without even realizing it! Using their logic and calculation skills while creating something of their own can make math more engaging and fun. Coding also strengthens a student’s reading and spelling ability.

5. It helps improve focus and concentration
Coding encourages children to stay focused and concentrate. Kids know that if they stay focused, master coding concepts, and execute them without errors, they will be rewarded with an awesome custom creation that they can try out and play with their friends.

6. It improves communication
People who clearly communicate complex ideas in simple terms tend to be successful in different industries and walks of life. When kids learn to code, they learn how to communicate in a way that’s effective and easily understood.

7. It teaches perseverance
When students use high-quality computer science curricula, they will experience bugs, exceptions, and other unintended consequences. Students learn quickly that bugs and errors are part of the development process.

8. It builds confidence
As they learn to code and give direction, they learn that there are multiple ways to do something. Making mistakes is part of the process and they can improve upon what they have already done without worrying about failing.

9. It teaches another language
Language teaches children how to communicate and teaches logical thinking. Language also strengthens both verbal and written skills. Coding has a language all its own. Every letter in the Alphabet has a special formula of 0’s and 1’s that represent it. These 0’s and 1’s give the technology around us directions on how to perform. What better way for our children to understand why and how the technology around them operates than by learning to code and speak to the technology around them?

10. It helps kids prepare for the jobs of tomorrow The world is quickly evolving, and our students will end up in careers that don’t even exist yet. Many of these jobs will involve technology, and students who are well-prepared with technical skills such as coding will stand the best chance for success.

Big Thank You to Everyone Who Stopped at Our BoothWe Had A Great Time!

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October 10-12 at St. Louis, Missouri

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The Mathematician Who Rocked the World

MathematicianWhen Claude Elwood Shannon submitted his master’s thesis in 1940, little did he know the way the world communicated would be changed forever. He holds the distinguished title as the founding father of the electronic communications age.

The American mathematical engineer’s work on technical and engineering problems within the communications industry set the groundwork for both the computer industry and telecommunications.

Shannon pursued his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While at M.I.T., he partnered with Dr. Vannevar Bush on one of the early calculating machines, the “differential analyzer.” This piece (like a fine-tuned clock) used a precisely honed system of shafts, gears, wheels, and disks to solve equations in calculus. Though analog computers like this turned out to be little more than footnotes in the history of the computer, Shannon quickly made his mark with digital electronics, a considerably more influential concept.

In his prize-winning master’s thesis, Shannon proposed a method for applying a mathematical form of logic called Boolean algebra to the design of relay switching circuits. This innovation, credited as the advance that transformed circuit design “from an art to a science,” remains the basis for circuit and chip design to this day. Thanks to Shannon we have the internet!

Do You Have a High School Junior or Senior?

With the arrival of fall comes many important deadlines for high school juniors and seniors. Parents and Educators are an integral part of helping to ensure college bound students don’t miss out on crucial opportunities including applications for preferred schools, federal student aid, scholarships, and college entrance exams.


The 2020-2021 FAFSA form became available on October 1, 2019 for the 2020-21 award year. Some schools have limited funds, so it is important to apply early and be mindful of the three FAFSA deadlines: Federal, State, and College. The Department of Education also provides checklists for juniors and seniors as well as FAFSA help resources.
2020-21 FAFSA Deadlines:

Federal Deadline- 11:59 p. m. Central time on June 30, 2021
State Deadlines- Each state has its own deadline which can be found here.
College Deadlines- This varies by school.

College Entrance Exams has many college readiness resources from test prep to registration and college readiness guides for parents and students. Collegeboard partners with Khan Academy to provide test prep options for most entrance exams.


There are many scholarship opportunities available but be sure to use caution as a fee should never be required to apply for scholarships or federal financial aid. The U.S. Department of Labor has a free scholarship search and most schools also have search resources available.

See What One High School Principal Had to Say About Working with EdTech