Lunch break is over. And to get the ball rolling, they are showing us the latest episode of “No-Frills Money Skills” produced by the St. Louis Federal Reserve. That might have been the corniest video I have ever seen.
After the video, the speaker introduced us to the Federal Reserve Education site. This is a large database of classroom materials. Many of these are available for PDF download and print. Other materials can be ordered as classroom sets.
Another resource introduced to the group was a set of URLs from which teachers can download free Apps, for smart phones. One of them is for the ECON Lowdown. The other two are “Fred” and “Build Wealth.” The ECON Lowdown app can be used by both teachers and students. The speaker divided us up into groups to explore each application on its own. Below are the descriptions.
- FRED: Economic Data – I had this App. in my group. It allows you to look at various Federal Reserve Graphs. You can choose from numerous sub headings (Prices, Unemployment, CPI, etc.). There are no generated lessons built into the app. That sort of thing has to come personally from the teacher. Positive aspects are visual representations of numbers. Kids can copy and paste to create an economic narrative over time. My reservation about this app is that a teacher might have to specifically explain, each and every step as the class follows along. The device has many steps to navigate between charts. Activities would more than likely have to be personally lead. Perhaps a scavenger hunt might work. The obvious reservation in this tool is the use of Smart Phones in the class. This places a dependence on cell phone signal and data plans in order to complete assignments.
- Building Wealth – According to others, this app took a while to download. But there seems to be more videos involved in the app. The language is apparently simple to understand and easy to run.
- ECON Lowdown – Apparently this has a program that will calculate inflation over time. You can know what a dollar in 1950 is worth in today’s currency. There is also a credit calculator. There is a lot of interactive parts of the app as well that students will find engaging.