Some Seattle-area high school students have a new app on their Windows, iOS and Android mobile devices, created to help teenagers better understand how to manage their personal finances. Seattle’s Slalom Consulting has partnered with BECU to develop a custom “gamification” application, which uses games to create entertaining experiences for learning, training and business activities.
Washington’s largest community credit union, BECU is leading an effort to find new and innovative ways to enrich financial literacy education in schools. BECU strives to empower young people with financial knowledge in order to better prepare them for their future. BECU engaged Slalom to develop a financial literacy application for the classroom via PC, smartphones, and tablet computers for students across Seattle.
Slalom customized its own mLevel game, hosted on the Microsoft Windows Azure cloud platform, to gamify financial literacy lessons. With BECU, they developed three games; “Banking 101,” “Car-Buying Basics,” and “Give Me Some Credit” that augment the learning experience and reinforce the importance of making responsible financial decisions. With the app or website, students are able to demonstrate their prowess in the personal finance arena, applying the knowledge they gain in the classroom to compete with peers. The students are encouraged to continue to play all of the games outside of the classroom to improve their personal score. A leader board aggregates scores across the nine participating classrooms from four area schools.
Besides the Windows Phone, iOS, and Android platforms, a web based version is also available for use on personal computers. Each 90-second game contains 30 true/false and multiple-choice questions where students earn points for each correctly answered question.
“A survey by Capital One found that 45 percent of high-school graduates are unsure or unprepared to manage their own banking and personal finances. A National Endowment for Financial Education study discovered that only 12 percent of K-12 teachers have taken a workshop on teaching personal finance. The app from BECU and Slalom, combined with lessons taught in the classroom by BECU educators, is designed to help teachers bridge that gap.
“Our goal with our financial education efforts is to help individuals make more informed financial decisions,” said BECU Senior Vice President of Member Strategies Tom Berquist. “By using technology that students are comfortable with and adding an element of competition to make it fun, we see this app as a unique and innovative way to engage high school students on the subject of financial literacy.”
The BECU mLevel Challenge games are being piloted in several Seattle area high schools over the next two weeks. Given a successful pilot, the program will be rolled out to more Puget Sound-area schools in the fall. Slalom and BECU will analyze metrics and document the lessons learned from students, teachers and administrators using the app to enhance the game for the coming school year. [24×7]