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Educational Games + Community Outreach

Thrive 'n' Shine is mobile game that teaches young adults about personal finance, and its impact is enhanced by local partners offline.

Photo of Jason Rissman
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This game was developed by MindBlown Labs with the goal of impacting 20 million teens and young adults by the year 2020. 

Players begin the game by creating a character and choosing a career (e.g, doctor, dj, firefighter). Players earn money, which they strategically save and spend throughout the course of the game.  By growing skilled at Thrive ‘n’ Shine, students gain financial skills that have value in real-world scenarios, including everything from budgeting and saving to credit score management and debt management.

One of the things that struck me as most innovative about this app is that MindBlown Labs combines this educational technology with supporting communities offline. By partnering with high schools, colleges, non-profits, credit unions, MindBlown is able to let organizations with a local presence brand the game as their own and combine it with educational efforts in their respective communities. This potentially can create sustainable support networks for financial education and access. 

I'm curious to know how often technology-based efforts are supported with local, offline support, and what have others learned about this approach.

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Photo of Patricio Toussaint

Hi Jason:

First of all let me tell you that I download the app and it seems as an exciting game! One thing that I think it is crucial for success on an app, even if it is online is competition is that users should compete. Users of games find competing between them a crucial key in order to engage with the game! So if the game should have a board linked with Facebook to see how you’re friends are doing could be a good idea.

I’ve searched about this topic and it is amazing how big finance institutions are investing in technology in order to educate their users. An example could be BBVA Compass, U.S. Bank and many other have partnered with Everfi, that brings cutting edge technology to communities at scale, and free of cost to K-12 schools. One game is targeted for 4th and 6th graders called vault (http://www.everfi.com/vault) it would be interesting since and almost certain it also works offline this platform. So it is more of like a certification that could also be interesting approach. The support from local communities is amazing since for example GW Brackenridge High School (San Antonio TX) has totally supported this approach and more than 500 students has benefitted and engaged in this financial education game.

Also when I read these, I started to think about offline ways to teach finance education. So I tried to do an analog version (SÄÄSTÖT) based towards rural communities, but also could be applied to high school students as a teaching tool. Since it is a simple way that could be used to teach the importance of savings. (https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/ideas/saastot-the-savings-reminder)

I worked for a project to high school students, and I learned that “the more fun they have” the easiest it gets to get them engaged. Technology-based efforts with local, and offline support would generally be successful. Since it will be a win-win situation, the students like the approach since it a game and find it fun. And the teachers achieve their goals of teaching students financial terms.

I find Mindblown to be attractive to students and no doubt they will learn from it.

Thanks
Patricio Toussaint

Photo of Trevor z Hallstein

Hi Jason,

I've been evaluating existing tools and curriculums to see what options are available for the 'Libraries as Financial Literacy Hubs' idea. I downloaded and played the game a little .. might be a good option for kids to play while their parents are in a course at the library. It looks like they are based in Oakland, so I dropped them a note to see what insights they have to share around potentially piloting something with the Oakland Public Library. My first preference is to find existing organizations that can be leveraged, and with Thrive 'n' Shine's bay area roots, this could work out nicely for the library patrons.

One thing I noticed on the mindblown labs website is that the learning outcomes are shown as an alphabetical list .. this appears to be quite common across the curriculum I've been reviewing, and it seems to be a window into the challenge of determining who are the user segments and what are their priorities ( http://www.mindblownlabs.com/product/ ).

Photo of Valentina Ramírez Serbousek

Games are like an universal idiom, so they are a perfect choice when we are talking about any type of education. Im looking about that trending and i have found an interesting concept called "gamification". Check it! http://www.gamificacion.com

Photo of Aline Abigail Ayuman

Also love the online/offline hybrid going on here. Games like these will be a very useful and fun way for everyone to learn financial skills especially these days where most people, even kids, have their own tablets or smartphones. It could also be an engaging way for family, or colleagues to spend time together, where they/we can exchange ideas or advice on how best to manage our finances.

Photo of Nupur

Hey Jason! Love the idea. I proposed something similar around gaming and finance camps and I think there is quite some overlap between our ideas. Let me know what you think :)
https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/research/fancy-finance-games-for-youth

Photo of Meena Kadri

Really loving the online / offline hybrid. Indeed – will be exciting to see if others in our community have examples of this kind of thing to share.