I came across this article (http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/01/investing/teach-kids-to-invest/) a few months ago about a family with 3 children that already owned stocks in companies. This got me to think "What if kids learned about the stock market and traded stocks in class?" One could argue if students have an early exposure of investing in the stock market, then it would lead these students to actually investing in the stock market much earlier in life. For many of my friends and colleagues, the main hurdle that prevented them from purchasing their first stocks was that they have never done it before. I like to compare it the situation to playing at a casino for the first time. Initially, it's quite intimidating, but eventually one becomes habituated to the environment. For some people, it's just about getting over that initial hump.
Who does this idea benefit, who are the main players and what's in it for them?
The target audience are students at the elementary and/or middle school levels. Students benefit by gaining early exposure of investing in stocks. The goal is to have students actually investing in the stock market earlier in life. Teachers are an important component as they would be educating students and monitoring the classes' stocks . With more than half of Americans not currently investing in the stock market, teachers, whether a novice or experienced investor, can benefit by expanding their knowledge in financial markets.
How is your idea specifically using the power of communities to improve financial opportunities and resources?
Educational institutions are an integral component of communities. If families are not taking an active role in educating their children about financial responsibilities, schools serve as a great way to introduce and teach practical life lessons and skills. Something that needs to be considered is that schools are supposed to be locations for safe interactions, so such a program will need to be designed such that students are not afraid to take risks and are not put down by their peers for not performing well.
What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?
The main assumption is that if students learn about investing in stocks inside the class room, then they will invest in stocks outside of the classroom. With such initiatives already taking place in the US, such as Stocks In The Future (http://www.sifonline.org), a lightweight experiment is to give a sample size of students, who took part in Stocks In The Future or another class room stock market program, some money (for example: $100) for filling out a survey that asks for age, family income size, and what they will do with the $100. The intent of the survey is to not bias students into a certain response and to determine which students are sufficiently financially stable enough to invest the money. Students that are unable to meet basic needs will most likely not invest the money. If a certain percentage (needs to be determine as a criteria for success) of students that are sufficiently financially stable say that they will invest the money in the stock market, instead of spending it right away, it is a good indication that the program is working.
What skills, input or guidance might you be seeking from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?
- People with financial backgrounds or stock traders - Determining content such that concepts are simplified enough for students to grasp, but also are not diluted to the point where practical information is lost.
- Teachers, educators, educational psychology - Designing the curriculum to fit the target audience.
- Programmers and UI/UX designers - Designing and building an app or an online tool, if classrooms have the proper infrastrucutre