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Gaming and Finance

Setting up finance-related games and camps for children at schools.

Photo of Nupur

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It's all about gaming...

Growing up I couldn't get enough of playing Monopoly. It was my first taste to learn about investments and negotiations. It was also the easiest way to learn (and fail a few times) because no real money was involved. It taught me about diversifying my portfolio since it is never smart to blindly buy properties on just any color group. I also learnt that it took more than a lucky dice roll to become a winner. In short, it taught me a little about the realities of life. 

As I entered high school, I was challenged with a project where we were given a limited set of resources and some capital (fake money) to start our own business with a team. We had to negotiate with local vendors and businesses to kick off our business, provide incentives to our customers and think of ways to maximize our capital (while minimizing our spendings). We had to think about making profits, borrowing money from banks, paying interest and all other fun stuff. It was a good simulation of what it takes to run a small business. 

If we can extrapolate ideas from such board games and financial camps/simulations, we can instill both the knowledge of entrepreneurship and finance to students. It could be a week long or even a semester long activity. You can make it more challenging by competing against other schools or teams. Investment in such projects is minimal but the payout is huge! 

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Photo of Maddie Wiener

Hey Napur, this is some awesome stuff here! I love the synthesis you did from the articles and videos that other people shared, and it's very clear you've thought about this a lot. I think this would be an awesome idea to see you post in the Ideas phase (which is happening now!) and would strongly encourage you to share this. I'm also confident you could build a great team and get continued support, just based on the conversation and ideas that went on during the Research phase. I hope to see you there!

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Photo of Nupur

Hi Maddie! Thank you so much for the feedback and support and sorry about the very delayed response back. Unfortunately missed out on the Ideas phase but I see ideas along these lines have made it through this phase. I'll be sure to contribute my bit to the refinement phase!

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Photo of Maddie Wiener

Hey Napur - Great to hear from you! You should totally get involved in the Refinement phase! I've seen so many ideas that are really similar to this. You should check out "Mock Stock" (https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/ideas/mock-stock) which is working to create an education event that replicates the stock markets, as a way to teach finances and trading stocks. It totally incorporates gaming and students, so I bet you'd have some great insight.

You should also check out The SIMS (https://openideo.com/challenge/financial-empowerment-challenge/ideas/the-sims-personal-finance-life-simulation). It is using gaming to teach financial literacy, and it seems like this might be right up your alley.

Hope to see you there!

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Photo of Nupur

Thank you for the links! Will def look into them - great ideas :)

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Photo of Daniel Henriod

What a great idea! Have you thought about what partners could help make this a success? I bet banks and financial institutions would support this as an opportunity to educate future customers and promote their services to future customers. With their financial support you could move this project a long way.

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Photo of Nupur

Hi Daniel - many apologies for the delay in getting back. Thanks for the support. Unfortunately I missed out on submitting the idea but I see modification of this went through - hopefully it'll inspire others!

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Photo of Priyanka Kalmane

Great stuff, Nupur! I stumbled upon this article and I think you should take a look into this. Might help you build upon your idea.

http://www.academia.edu/4643094/Playing_Entrepreneurship_Can_Games_Make_a_Difference

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Photo of Nupur

Hi Priyanka! Thank so much for sharing the link and your thoughts around this idea. The paper exactly hits the point of what I was trying to communicate with the IDEO community. Feel free to contribute more to the idea :)

Some of the key takeaways I got from the paper (I'm sharing this for the benefit of the other members as well):

1) The learning process, especially for entrepreneurship, has to more than the conventional teaching methods (i.e. normal classroom teaching). The environment has to be active, flexible and more experience-based. It needs to involve "action, encouraging experiential learning, project-based learning, problem solving, creativity, and the support of peer-evaluation".

2) Unconventional teaching methods may not entirely solve the problem but it encourages a lot of participation from students than ideally sitting on desks. "Moving around a room, participating in a contest, or simply talking to other students can raise the level of activity to a point where a student is more alert and attentive to the activities of the class".

3) Games provide a foundation for interactions and this foster an environment for collaborations. The need for individual accountability and the need for group processing and feedback is invaluable skill to learn from an early age.

4) Direct quote from the paper - simulations seem to be the favorite of the educational games. It is used widely in the business and economic sectors, as it is better to lose ‘virtual money’ compared to ‘actual money’. On top of that, simulations are growing in popularity in schools and higher education, as it promotes ‘learning by doing’ and ‘making learning fun’.However, the main drawback of simulations is the usage of computers and the resulting human-computer inter-action rather than a human-human interaction.

5) Things to keep in mind when creating a simulation/game:
a) it must have clear rules
b) is entertaining
c) provides the opportunity to interact with other players
d) it is challenging
e) allow players to influence the outcome rather than owing it to chance
f) inspires imagination
g) it is not too predictable
h) provides a smooth rhythm, with few inactive moments during the play

6) Direct quote about Monopoloy:
An exciting work by Orbanes (2002) entitled“Everything I know about business I learned from Monopoly” is a brilliant example of how an uncomplicated board game succeeds in developing a ‘business’ mindset. Perhaps it is time to think of aboard game that purely educates the essence of entrepreneurship, aiming at developing entrepreneurial cognition and motivating its players to opt for entrepreneurship. Moreover, a board game is inexpensive, easy to adapt both indoors and outdoors, and with proper debriefing, becomes a valuable tool for fun and an experiential learning.

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Photo of Jennifer Peterson

I recently heard about ‘Financial Reality Fairs’ hosted by volunteers from the Northwest Credit Union Association throughout Washington and Oregon. It sounds similar to your idea in that it provides a simulation of sorts for youth to explore the financial decisions they'll be faced with. I also love the idea of engaging with local community members (especially volunteers!) to help support this kind of initiative. Here's a video that explains the program: https://youtu.be/2HBAUBayRYY

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Photo of Shruti Verma

Nupur, great idea! Understanding money is usually left out of formal education and finally understood by very few. Gamifying it is a great way to make children enthusiastic about it!

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Photo of Nupur

Thanks for the support, Shruti! I personally learnt a lot outside of formal education standards so I hope we can instill the same kind of encouragement in the youth today!