Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teaching Finance in the 21st Century

Kids have very different experiences then we did. Panasonic is introducing a 3-D television, video games such as ‘Black Ops’ look and feel as if you are in the game, iPads and iPods allow children to be connected to the world-wide-web anytime. Many of us played kick the can and bounced balls against the wall for fun. Fellow teachers - - we have a lot more to compete with, and we have to adapt.

Why not use Podcasts in class to differentiate instruction? Why not participate in online stock market simulations? Why not allow them to create magazines with your content material. If they are capable of creating facebook pages, shouldn't they be capable of creating something using finance education content? A recent study funded by the Gates Foundation in conjunction with Harvard University quantified techniques that work in the classroom and techniques that do not. The net conclusion was that teaching to the test is ineffective.

I am not suggesting a complete abandonment to contemporary instruction as such a suggestion would be irresponsible. What I am suggesting is that we keep in perspective that as instructors we are responsible for student learning. We need to embrace quantifiably proven new ideas that actively engage the current generation of students. For example, according to this recent study, Harvard University believes that a simulation is the most effective teaching tool. More specifically, financial educators are responsible for preparing students for financial choices throughout their lives. Why would simulations not be accepted as the most effective teaching tool for financial educators?

A financial educator’s greatest responsibility is to empower future generations to make understood and responsible financial choices in their lives. There is no greater method for accomplishing this then learning through real life scenarios that prompt teachable moments and guidance in an engaging way. To be clear, we must present our students with simulations that allow them to experience the rewards and the consequences of their own financial choices.

The Awesome Island Game was designed by a teacher who is passionate about financial literacy. The simulation began in a single classroom and evolved as it was used in classrooms and conferences across different demographics in Southwest Ohio. Each time the game was played it was slightly modified based on feedback and gameplay until an effective final product for all kids ages 12 and up was created. It incorporates all of the national financial education standards, rewards appropriate financial choices, and introduces financial literacy in a fun and engaging way for the students.

The Awesome Island Game works. Please visit for more information.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why You Should Own Our Financial Literacy Game

Consider this...
· Only a quarter of Americans feel well informed about managing household finances.
· Between 25 and 56 million Americans do not have a bank account.
· Personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income decreased from 11.2% in the early 1980s to 0% in the first and second quarters of 2005.
· In a 2003 survey, the median reported value of all household retirement savings was only $40,000, and 25% of those surveyed had no retirement account at all. Only 47% of Americans are either somewhat or very confident that they will have saved enough for retirement.
· Among parents with children 5 or older, only 26% feel well prepared to teach their kids about basic personal finances.
· Based on a national survey of high school seniors, America's teenagers as a group in 2004 score a failing grade in basic financial literacy knowledge.
· Saving versus spending was talked about in 57% of homes. Fewer than 40% of parents said they talked about credit cards, loans and debt, and their own family finances with their kids. Even less talked with their children about how to invest their money.
· 53 % of parents agree that their child thinks "money grows on trees."

Whether you are a parent, teacher, or community organizer the consequences of being financially illiterate are catastrophic. Over the past few years, many of us had to learn the hard way. Now is the time to prepare yourself, your friends, and our future generations for a world full of financial trickery.  

The Awesome Island Game is a great way to introduce anyone to the fundamental concepts of personal finance.  While no game, single lesson or school assembly can substitute good teaching and a well designed course, Awesome Island is a great way to get financial education started or to further engage students in the classroom, community groups, or children at home.  Each game comes complete with player game sheets, job and career cards, investment share cards and spinners, visual aids (travel posters), CD with projectable game spreadsheet.  Only one game is needed for up to thirty players to play at once.

Most importantly - - the Awesome Island Game is fun!

Please <Click Here> to learn more about the Awesome Island Game and how to purchase it.