Featured Post

TED Talk Tuesday: Tim Brown urges designers to think big

Today’s #edchat discussion on Twitter was all about training kids as critical thinkers.  I believe that we are losing students as critical thinkers because in our current model of education, where we are standardizing education with tests, we teach kids that there is one correct answer to every question.  We limit their thinking to what we have already determined is an acceptable answer to the question.  This is extremely limiting.  Critical thinking means that we aren’t satisfied with the easy answer, we think about multiple solutions to the problem and even think of additional questions.  We approach a problem differently, more creatively. In today’s TED Talk, Tim Brown talks about his journey in design and his tendency to think about problems on a small scale, limiting himself to the obvious answers and a single solution.  Design wasn’t always this way, design used to be big. Design thinking solves problems and works to create world changing innovations. It seems to me that there is a strong correlation with what Tim refers to as Design Thinking and what we call critical thinking.  Roger Martin calls this integrative thinking, the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Isn’t this what we are asking our students to do when we are looking for critical thinking?  What we really want students to do is think as designers.   When I watch children who haven’t yet entered the classroom, I notice a strong correlation between the way a child thinks and the way a designer thinks.  They are questioners, tinkerers, and are never satisfied with one solution. Design thinking could be our model for critical thinking in the classroom, but beyond that design thinking could be our solution to reform in education.  Exploiting opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Design is human centered, it starts with what humans need or might need. It means understanding culture and context.   From destination to active participation that is meaningful and productive. Value is added through collaborative experiences and not through monetary gains alone (think Twitter). In times of change we need new thinking and new ideas.  We are in the midst of massive change and we need to rethink what we accept as basic fundamentals. We need new choices because our current options are becoming obsolete.  We need to take a divergent approach and come up with something that hasn’t been done before.  What is the question we are trying to answer? What is the design brief for education. The first step is to start asking the right questions. (I think #edchat does an honorable job of this!)  What are the right questions?

Read More

Money Island: a financial literacy virtual world

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Character Education, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 08-02-2012

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

7

What it is: Money Island is a neat site I found today while searching for some fun tie ins for our economic inquiry block at Anastasis.  This enchanting virtual world teaches students about money and how the economy works while they go on quests to destinations like the Eiffel Tower and Atlantis.  Students learn and practice the real-life principles of financial responsibility.  Students build knowledge and skills in three major areas including: saving and spending, earning and investing, and using credit wisely.  In addition to these major areas, students learn how to spend, grow and give money; the difference between wants, needs and taxes; different types of income; gain an understanding of interest; how to use credit wisely; and how to build wealth.
The site includes detailed lesson plans and activity suggestions for the classroom, as well as a specialized area within money island where teachers and parents can see what students are learning and track progress.
Money Island was created in partnership with the Young Americans Bank.  This bank was designed specifically for children under the age of 21!  Our students will be taking a field trip to the Young Americans Bank in Denver to continue their learning during this block.  If you are in the Denver area, it is a great field trip!
How to integrate Money Island into the classroom: Kids are not exposed to enough opportunities to learn and practice financial literacy.  Case in point: the national debt crisis, housing loan disaster, and credit card stats. It baffles me that we don’t spend more time in the classroom helping kids learn about money and finances!  Every teacher should take this on in some capacity, we can’t assume that someone else will teach it.  Kids need to learn about how the economy works prior to being neck deep in financial decisions on a daily basis.  Money Island is a fun introduction to all of this!
Students begin their journey in Money Island with a mission to help character Stone Broke.  Students choose a virtual side-kick who will guide them through Money Island and help them make important decisions.  Students are directed through a series of quests to help Stone Broke while learning about money and how to make sound financial decisions.
Money Island is a virtual world so it takes a bit of time to get all the way through it.  When students login, they are given a special key so they can pick up right where they left off in the game.  This is a great site for a one to one classroom environment or computer lab setting where each student has their own computer.  The site could also be used as a center activity on classroom computers with students rotating through the center throughout the week.  Because students can save their progress, they can play from both school and from home.
Money Island makes a fantastic tie-in to a money or economics unit for kids.
***Hint: Click “Join” to join.  For some reason the “Play” button is a little bit temperamental.  It worked for me the first time I played with it but not the second…not sure what that is all about!
Tips:   There is a new game featured on Money Island…Episode 2 helps students learn how to “win” at the credit game.  There are also fun mini games and comics on the site for kids to interact with and explore!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Money Island in  your classroom!

Comments (7)

Kelly Tenkely,

This is Sarah Webb agian from EDM 310. I love the idea of using this is a classroom to teach children about money and the value of items. The only question I really have is what grade do you think would be good to start embedding this is lessons about money. I know when I was in school I was never taught how to save, invest, or use credit. This site makes me want to pretend I am a child again and play it for the sake of my own learning. I cannot wait to get out of school and hopefully start teaching this in my classroom and give children something fun to incorporate with learning.

I am interested in looking into this site to use with a personal finance course, but am having trouble finding it. Could you perhaps post a link to it?

Ryan, the link is within the post. Click on “Money Island” and it will take you right to it!

Kids can really amaze you. I currently do a checking unit in my classroom of 5th graders but I also did the same unit when I taught 3rd grade. I typically start my class store the second semester of the year. I assign students individual salaries based upon the number of missing assignments they’ve had for the year. We use a snip-it reward system which is a type of behavior chart for the week. If students lose a snip-it, they get a small decrease in pay, two sniip-its for the week results in a greater decrease in pay, and if they lose three of their five they do not get paid for the week. Their salary returns to normal the following week. My students are required to deposit their cash into my bank and I have made checks and had them bound to look like real checks. I also use real checkbook covers and registers. I require that they record each transaction in their register as well. It’s amazing how they learn to save up their money to purchase the more expensive items in our store. It’s also amazing how many kids have said they want a credit card!
The past 3 years I’ve done this unit I’ve gotten thank you cards from parents, administrators, and even local banks. The parents have even let the kids help them keep their checkbooks in order. That’s pretty impressive at the 3rd grade level.
I hope to look into this site to see if it meets the needs of my 5th graders. I hope so! It sounds like something they would love!

I posted this comment earlier this week but then when I returned today, it was deleted. Did I do something wrong or was there a reason it was deleted?

It probably didn’t get deleted but hadn’t been approved by me yet! I approve every comment by hand to avoid the gobs of spam I get otherwise!

Our 5th grade are using this one!

Write a comment

*