Most States Don’t Require Specific Financial Literacy Classes


Most states take a scattershot approach to teaching personal finance concepts to high school students, a newly released financial literacy report card finds, with just a handful of exceptions.

The 2017 Financial Report Card from Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy gave just five states — Alabama, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia — an A grade for their efforts. The five require high school students to take at least a half-year personal finance course, or the equivalent, as a graduation requirement. The courses cover topics like using credit safely, saving for retirement, investing and navigating the financial decisions that typically occur in a person’s lifetime.

While there has been debate over whether mandating personal finance education is an effective way to make young people more savvy about money, the report cites studies suggesting that instruction is helpful if teachers receive “robust” training and use a well-designed curriculum. John Pelletier, the report’s author and director of the center, in Burlington, Vt., argues that personal finance is a “critical subject” for high school students preparing to enter college or the work force.

The report card gave Bs to 19 states that require students to receive personal finance instruction to graduate from high school, but may devote less time to it than A states. For instance, some B states — including New Jersey — let districts decide whether to cover the topic in a stand-alone course or include it within another course, which may dilute the intensity of the instruction. The 12 states that earned Cs and the four with Ds included some personal finance topics in state standards, but left the decision on how much to teach up to local districts. The report flunked the remaining 10 states and Washington, D.C., saying they have “few requirements or none at all” for personal financial education in high school.

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Digital Games and Edutainment for Financial Literacy

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With just one-third of the world’s adult population being financially literate, it will take massive public-private efforts for the children of today to reverse this trend in the future. Realizing they have a high stake in financial education, bank and credit institutions are increasingly investing in gamified ‘edutainment’ targeted at young children and teenagers.

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The Gamification of Financial Education


A hot trend in financial education (and elsewhere) is gamification. Make it fun and they will come, and (hopefully) learn and change! 

What is gamification? A PEW report defines it as "interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action--these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts and 'free gifts'; and status indicators such as friend counts, re-tweets, leader boards, achievement data, progress bars and the ability to 'level up.'" The idea is to apply the fun and excitement of games to non-game activities. The explanation from the VP of one gamification consulting firm is explicit: "'It's using the dynamics and mechanics of psychology that make games so addicting, so sticky, so engaging.'"

Gamification can be used to encourage simple habit-formation (e.g., hand-washing in hospitals) or major scientific efforts (e.g., modeling a protein important for developing retroviral drugs). When used with an intent to teach information and skills rather than an intent to motivate particular actions, it is sometimes called "edutainment."

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How Games Make Kids Smarter

Can playing video games make you more productive? Gabe Zichermann shows how games are making kids better problem-solvers, and will make us better at everything from driving to multi-tasking.  

Do kids these days have short attention spans, or does the world just move too slow? Gabe Zichermann suggests that today's video games are making children smarter — and we should all embrace gamification.

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Where Classroom Design Meets Design Thinking


When educators first consider redesigning learning spaces, they might immediately conjure up mental images of free-flowing Starbucks lounges or something out of the Cult of Pedagogy blog’s Classroom Eye Candy series. Yet the impulse to tackle aesthetics first is often premature, according to Rebecca Hare, who teaches art and design in St. Louis and has served as a design consultant for various schools

“So often I work with schools across the country going through this process, and everybody comes to me with the catalog and says, ‘We love these tables, what do you think?’” says Hare, who, together with tech director Bill Selak, will present a strand of sessions around designing thoughtful spaces for learning at the upcoming CUE Bold conference, May 5-6 in Laguna Beach, Calif. “Nobody comes to me and says, ‘We have this incredible vision for learning, what do you think?’ So you really have to walk people back to the higher vision.”

Before coming to education, Hare spent a decade in Italy designing commercial and retail spaces, where she learned to tailor her work to the end user. She returned to pursue a master’s in education and has since helped schools locally and in Miami rethink their environments, often under tight budgets. Selak, who works at the private pre-K through 8 Hillbrook School in the Bay Area, has worked for years on a similar goal, playing a major role in a continuous series of redesigns and remodels aimed at centering learning on student needs, as opposed to asking them to adapt to the space provided. 

For Hillbrook, the “Big Why”—the phrase Hare and Selak assign to an overarching vision—has become, by turns, about student autonomy, making and creation, as well as a seamless fusion of technology and environment in an era where ubiquitous WiFi and mobile devices have untethered kids from the traditional concept of a classroom. 

“I’m in a school with 1:1 iPads,” Selak explains. “If we’re not giving students choice around space, and not making the space look different, then we’re doing something wrong. Good lesson design, good technology integration and thoughtfully thinking about space—if you’re doing them well, they can’t live without each other.”

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New Research Proves Game-Based Learning Works—Here's Why That Matters


A great deal of initial research exists about blended learning techniques such as game-based learning, but adoption has stalled because of a lack of scalable, practical techniques that have also proven effective. Without proof of success, many school districts have opted not to adopt new technologies.

Now a soon-to-be released study from Vanderbilt University demonstrates the impact of rigorous, peer reviewed research into curricular tools, in this case showing that students who played edgames outperformed their peers on standardized tests.

Efficacy in edtech needs to be determined by conducting well-controlled, large sample-sized efficacy studies. If new edtech isn’t supported by high quality research, then claims about efficacy are just that—marketing claims. There are a lot of opinions and fads in education, and they are not serving students well.

“In every district throughout the U.S., student needs vary greatly from one classroom or school to the next,” says Kevin Connors, Director of Personalized Learning for Chicago Public Schools. “There are countless edtech programs in the market that claim to cater to these unique needs, but without credible third party research it is impossible to know whether any of these programs actually move the needle.”

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Why It's Important to Teach Your Students Financial Literacy—and Three Ways to Do It

In Oakland, CA, more than 60 students at James Madison Middle School gather to talk about money. The conversation is robust. One student shares his family’s experience saving for emergencies. Another group debates whether a new bike is a “want” or a “need.” Across the room, two young women are deep in conversation about college majors and future income.

Today’s young people face an overwhelming number of complex financial decisions. However, many are unprepared to make informed financial choices as they move into adulthood. In fact, three out of four young adults cannot answer basic financial questions

Teaching financial literacy in the classroom is one promising way to improve financial capacity for today’s young people. Research shows that by the age of 12, students will develop an economic understanding that researchers describe as “essentially adult”. By including lessons on smart money habits early in their cognitive development, we can encourage young people to save money, foster family conversations, and empower students to be stewards of their own financial futures.

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6 Basic Benefits Of Game-Based Learning


by TeachThought Staff

There seems to be a perception that online gaming has a detrimental impact on children’s development. Nothing could be further from the truth, and there are countless–and complex–reasons for this, but it also makes sense at the basic benefits of game-based learning.

Of course children should not spend every single second of the day staring at a computer screen. Nevertheless, education and online gaming certainly aren’t enemies either. In fact, playing online games may be something which can enhance a child’s learning and development. How?

1. Increases A Child’s Memory Capacity

Games often revolve around the utilization of memorization  This not only relates to games whereby children have to remember aspects in order to solve the game, memorize critical sequences, or track narrative elements.

2. Computer & Simulation Fluency

This is something which is very important because we live in a world which is dominated by technology. Playing on games via the internet allows children the license to get used to how a computer works and thus it becomes second nature to them. There are websites, such as Cartoon Network games, which provide young children with fun and exciting games which also teach them to utilize the mouse and keyboard properly, not to mention browsing, username and passwords, and general internet navigation.

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Gaming in Education Holds Power for Student Learning

Three Ways to use Games in Education

Douglas Kiang, EdTechTeacher instructor and educator at Punahou School in Hawaii, views three distinct ways in which educators can leverage the power of games in their classrooms. First, teachers can use games as a way to present a controlled subset of reality.  Remember the game Oregon Trail?  Millions of school children discovered the hardships of westward expansion, learned geography, and died of dysentery along the way. However, by immersing themselves in the environment, students gained a personal experience with a historical event. The ability to control variables provides tremendous value in these simulation based games. Teachers can create immersive environments using digital tools such as Minecraft, or create a physical situation as demonstrated by Michael Matera's Athens vs Sparta live debate.

Douglas also challenges educators to leverage the power of game dynamics, even if their students do not actually play games. Great pedagogy (like great games) share a number of commonalities. Many people think of badging with gamification. As students complete tasks, they earn extrinsic rewards much like they may gain points on a test, quiz, or assignment. However, gaming also presents an opportunity for more intrinsic rewards as students engage in an opportunity that they truly care about. Within a gaming context, students decide how they can be successful and then employ those new strategies in order to master new skills. Think about the student who does not appear to persevere when struggling with math problems, but spends hours honing their soccer skills or constructing new worlds within a game.

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Financial Literacy Education in Schools by: Devin Shandler


Here is a bold yet true statement – of any subjects taught in school a financial literacy education is the subject that is most needed. All the other subjects taught will help you get paid more but only one helps you keep and grow the money you earn. Many people today that have earned their MBA’s, PhD’s and other advanced degrees are often times living paycheck to paycheck. Without a financial literacy education, people can work multiple jobs and still be unable to reach a state of financial security.Arguably, the subject we need taught the most, getting the least amount of attention. For those that believe education works, shouldn’t we be providing financial literacy education training to our youth? Money is something that impacts almost every area of our lives, and yet it is rarely taught to our children.

Educators, school administrators, parent, concerned citizens, business leaders and the youth themselves recognize the importance of learning about money. Studies show the vast majority of people feel that financial literacy education should be a requirement needed for high school students to graduate. The knowledge will serve our youth for many years to come and directly impact their relationships, emotions and health.

If you are like most, you understand the importance of providing youth a financial literacy education; now, let’s explore the steps you can take to choose effective financial literacy lesson plans.

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The Value of Gaming in Higher Education


A recent article in the Educause Review might be of interest to readers thinking about the value of gaming in the curriculum. [See also The Innovative Instructor May 13, 2014 post What is Gamification and Why Use It in Teaching?Taking Serious Games Seriously in Education by Kristen Dicerbo, July 20, 2015, examines the value that games provide: “Games can serve as a means of not just developing domain-specific knowledge and skills but also identity and values key to professional functioning. The data from games enable understanding how students approach and solve problems, as well as estimating their progress on a learning trajectory.”

DiCerbo, Principal Research Scientist at Pearson’s Center for Learning Science & Technology, notes that while educational gamification first focused on engaging students in the curriculum, it was “…found that games align themselves well with theories of learning in many other ways.” The use of games in the classroom can provide “…tighter ties to research-based learning progressions, better links to elements of professionalization, and better design for assessment.”

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Gaming to Learn


Do educational computer and video games lead to real learning gains?

Many of today's K–12 students are spending their class time — and a lot of it — exploring science and diagramming sentences with Tim and his robot friend, Moby, through the website BrainPOP. The website allows kids to watch movies, complete quizzes and play games covering hundreds of topics within math, science, social studies, English, technology, art, music and health. The website tracks each student's learning accomplishments, and teachers have access to resources such as lesson plans, webinars, video tutorials, graphic organizers, and best practices — aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core.

BrainPOP is just one of hundreds of educational game websites in a billion-dollar industry that is growing in popularity. Nearly 60 percent of teachers now use digital games at least weekly in teaching, with 18 percent using them daily, according to a nationwide survey of 488 K–12 teachers conducted by researchers at New York University and the University of Michigan. In addition, more than a third of teachers use games at least weekly to assess student progress or understanding of class instruction.

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US Schools Get Failing Grade For Financial Literacy Education


The number of states that require high school students to complete a course in economics has dropped over the last two years, and mandates for personal finance education in the upper grades remain stagnant, a new survey shows.

The biennial Survey of the States by the Council for Economic Education, released exclusively to, found 20 states currently mandate that high school students take economics — two fewer than in 2014.

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Gamification: the use of game design and mechanics to enhance non-game contexts.

We’ve seen gamification alredy in a variety of settings: completing a punch card to win a free sandwich, receiving a badge for being the first of friends to check in at a particular restaurant, or expanding our profiles on LinkedIn to bring the “completion bar” up to 100%. Gamification has even worked its way into the automotive industry with the innovative dashboard of the Ford Fusion hybrid. A high-resolution display features a rendering of vine-like leaves. Waste gas, and your vines wither. Conserve, and they blossom. The idea is to encourage brand loyalty, so how will gamification impact the education sector?

Learn how professors from Stamford, Yale, and more use gamification, class constitutions, alternative modes of assessment and more to engage their students. Register to download our free guide here.

Gamification of education

Games, in any form, increase motivation through engagement. Nowhere else is this more important than education. Nothing demonstrates a general lack of student motivation quite like the striking high school dropout rates: approximately 1.2 million students fail to graduate each year (All4Ed, 2010). At the college level, a Harvard Graduate School of Education study “Pathways to Prosperity” reports that just 56% of students complete four-year degrees within six years. It’s argued that this is due to current systemic flaws in the way we teach; schools are behind the times. Watch a single lecture on innovation trends in education, and the presenter likely notes the striking similarities of a modern-day classroom and one of centuries past. It’s been proven that gamifying other services has resulted in retention and incentive. For example, website builder DevHub saw the remarkable increase of users who finished their sites shoot from 10 percent to 80 percent. So, in theory, it should work for schools as well.

How can I gamify education in my classroom?

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6 Killer Examples Of Gamification In eLearning

Using Gamification In eLearning

Let’s first understand what gamification is and how it is different from playing games.

In one of my earlier articles on gamification, Top 6 Benefits Of Gamification In eLearning, I had highlighted both these aspects as follows:

  • Gamification is about more than just playing games (in fact, sometimes it does not involve playing games at all). It can be defined as the concept of applying game-design thinking to non game applications.
  • Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems”.

What Are The Benefits Of Gamification In eLearning? 

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Fact or Fiction?: Video Games Are the Future of Education

As kids all across the U.S. head back to school, they’re being forced to spend less time in front of their favorite digital distractions. Or are they?
Video games are playing an increasing role in school curricula as teachers seek to deliver core lessons such as math and reading—not to mention new skills such as computer programming—in a format that holds their students’ interests. Some herald this gamification of education as the way of the future and a tool that allows students to take a more active role in learning as they develop the technology skills they need to succeed throughout their academic and professional careers.
Few would argue that video games can do it all in terms of education, says Scot Osterweil, a research director in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Comparative Media Studies program and creative director of the school’s Education Arcade initiative to explore how games can be used to promote learning. But games are a powerful learning tool when combined with other exploratory, hands-on activities and ongoing instruction from a teacher acting more as a coach than a lecturer, he adds.

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Gaming in Education: Gamification


My most popular posts for TheEdublogger (arguably THE most popular posts ;P ) have been centered on the use of games and gaming within the education system. Since I’ve covered a few of the big players in the video game industry, and how they have adapted to support educational methods, I thought I would have a look at ways you can integrate gaming into your classroom WITHOUT the aid of a video game. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce today’s special guest, Gamification.

What Is Gamification

Gamification is, granted, a controversial topic. It focuses on using game thinking and game mechanics to turn an otherwise mundane task into something engaging and perhaps even competitive. It involves implementing methods used in the development of games, but applying them to a real world scenario, such as a classroom.

Obviously, the classroom is primarily about learning, but engaging and motivating students can be a challenge. And a bored student is far less likely to take in what the teacher is trying to teach. Perhaps gamifying the classroom might be a way to improve their engagement, productivity and enthusiasm for what the teacher has to say?

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The Hidden Value of Gaming in Education

I recently asked my nine-year-old daughter if she thought playing video games helped kids with reading. She looked up from her world in Minecraft and said, “No!” If you ask an adult the same question, you will likely receive the same response along with many reasons why video games might be considered harmful to children. Some of those reasons might include violence or inappropriate content; sedentary lifestyles that result in obesity; lack of social skills development; little use of imagination; or a waste of time. While those are valid concerns, researchers and educators are discovering the positive impact video games have in the classroom.

While gaming in the classroom, or gamification, has become more prevalent with the addition of technology in the hands of today’s students, it is not a new concept. 

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