There are numerous educational games designed to teach children about various financial practices. For example, there is the education-based economics simulator, Beat the Market Online or the World Game of Economics simulator that teaches about exchange rates and economic policies between countries.
These games do have value, but they often miss the opportunity to provide real, hands-on experience with the marketplace because they do not foster free trading between real players. More importantly, most students will recognize them immediately for what they are: educational tools. While some kids are willing to learn in this way, many balk at the notion of an educational game because it feels too much like homework.
The most valuable tool is actually more nuanced, and lies within games that children are already interested in playing. Sites like Neopets or Gaia Online attract millions of users of all ages, and popular multi-player online games like World of Warcraft have a massive draw for kids and adults alike.
While easily dismissed as an unproductive waste of time, these games actually offer something that educational simulators do not: a free user-driven economy where players accrue wealth and make meaningful decisions about how to spend it as part of a larger structured game play. In this sense, these games are like microcosms of real life. Players learn to cooperate, work toward achieving their goals and plan ways to accrue and utilize the resources that they earn.
Salman Khan’s dream college looks very different from the typical four-year institution.
The founder of Khan Academy, a popular site that offers free online video lectures about a variety of subjects, lays out his thoughts on the future of education in his book, The One World School House: Education Reimagined, released last month. Though most of the work describes Mr. Khan’s experiences with Khan Academy and his suggestions for changing elementary- and secondary-school systems, he does devote a few chapters to higher education.
In a chapter titled “What College Could Be Like,” Mr. Khan conjures an image of a new campus in Silicon Valley where students would spend their days working on internships and projects with mentors, and would continue their education with self-paced learning similar to that of Khan Academy. The students would attend ungraded seminars at night on art and literature, and the faculty would consist of professionals the students would work with as well as traditional professors....
I recently wrote about Thinking About Learning Differently- Talking to Strangers, where I mentioned our third graders journey of skyping around the world to learn about different communities.
The goal is not to only collect cold data, but to:
-make connections between the different locations and communities learn about geography -talk “to strangers”, practicing speaking skills and conversation skills, be aware of body language… -reflect on how and what we are learning -invite a global audience (including parents and grandparents) to continue a conversation via the classroom blog