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Replicating the model of SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments) for developing a foundation in financial literacy

Reinventing the learning way for students in a K-8 classroom

Photo of Ambily Adithyan

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 With so many financial games available online, it is tempting to leap straight into simulations like the stock market game that appear to be engaging.However what lacks is that these games often fail to develop an appropriate foundation on money management required for early learning and  secondly, in India where parents complain that kids are always playing on phone, this obviously is not a favored option.

 Financial education is necessary in today's lives but how can one create a balance between lessons on Saving and Spending with smarter learning is the challenge.

I am a person who has never been enticed by finance, accounting, investments, handling money etc. Though we were taught in class, probably that I never showed any interest that I still struggle with my investment plan for every financial year :-D. These are the little things which we do not learn unless it becomes a part of our everyday lives.

During my experience at Make a Difference( a youth volunteer network that works with underprivileged children in India in improving their English comprehension and speaking skills),  I realized that students nowadays have little attention span and learn to use i-pad or smart phone faster than recapitulating the story I read them a few minutes ago. Gone are the times when children learn reading from books or a teacher reading out to them.They are technology savvy and hungry for non-bookish knowledge.Its then when I stumbled upon the School in the Cloud Project. What started as a small experiment in Delhi 13 years ago(Hole in the Wall Program) has proved to transform the learning experience among children. The School in the Cloud project, a mastermind of Prof. Sugata Mitra  is built on the concept of SOLE and is a learning lab where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. 

The program has already initiated in 5 schools across UK and India and has been over 13 years of research. Microsoft and Skype are the core technology partners for the School on the Cloud platform; while IDEO is assisting with design research.

My idea is whether the same model can be adopted for developing a new and challenging curriculum for finance literacy and money management? 

What is a SOLE?

It is a minimally invasive education technique that lets kids discover answers to questions on their own, teaching each other in the process.

Basically, a platform where curiosity marries technology

So when is a SOLE created?

When educators encourage students to work as a community to answer the big questions using the internet

Team Members

  • Players- Students

  • Coach/Facilitator- Teacher

Materials Required

  • A room to accommodate the students

  • Computers (maximum 4 students per computer)

  • High speed Internet

  • Note pads and pen

  • Collaterals for presentation

Time keeping

  • 5 minutes for posing question

  • 40 minutes- research time

  • 10-20 minutes-Presentation Time

Rules of the Game

  • Students are posed with a big question or challenged to think on their own.

  • Students can choose groups and change at any time

  • Students can move freely and speak to each other

  • Students can explore in any direction they choose

  • Students are expected to present what they have learned at the end of session

Facilitator's Role

As it is a minimal invasive education program, the coach has only 4 roles to play:

  • Pose question

  • Explaining the rules

  • Encourage the teams( in some case Skype Granny plays that role)

  • Moderate the debates

Running a SOLE

QUESTIONING PHASE:

  • The facilitator will ask a question relating to finance to the students. The way a question is asked is very important as it should promote curiosity among the students.

  • Facilitator will explain the SOLE process to the students

INVESTIGATION/RESEARCH PHASE

  • Students will work in groups to find the answer to the big question online

  • Facilitator will encourage students to resolve group issues themselves. Tell them they are free to move to other group if they wish to

REVIEW PHASE

  • Invite students to share the story through collective discovery. The students create presentation in any form, music, power points, and skits to share their research.

  • Encourage debate (obviously they will be quarreling…. But one has to be patient)

  • Facilitate discussion on how they went about with the investigation; their experience

SHARE AND LEARN:

  • Ask all the groups to collaborate and present one single answer representing the class

  • Share their work /experience on Google drive, Facebook, YouTube or  twitter

  • Share with students of other school and see what solutions they have come up with.

What will students learn?

Apart from the concept which is being inculcated, the program has following benefits:

  • Probe curiosity: As the curiosity level goes up, educator can pose them with tougher questions

  • Take ownership of their learning experience

  • Utilize higher order thinking skills and critical analysis: They learn to decide on the relevant information to be decoded

  • Develop stronger memory recall

  • Strengthen interpersonal and presentation skills

  • Unleash inspired thinking: Sharing across the schools inspire children to learn more

  • Inculcate Team Spirit

  • Improves Computer Literacy : Students will be able to search the internet accurately by themselves

Unlike the traditional ways,where the children were been asked to work , this  concept though still “very much in the infancy”create a non-threatening environment in which children feel free to explore and immerse themselves in the learner driven culture of curiosity.

Worth Reading Articles

There's an interesting read on how one student who was introduced to computer a decade ago through Hole in the Wall Project and how he uses his experience of self learning at Yale University

http://http://blog.ted.com/from-the-hole-in-the-wall-to-yale-a-qa-with-arun-chavan/

Success of Granny Cloud in Schools

https://www.theschoolinthecloud.org/updates/granny-emerges-as-a-career-option

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Ambily, congrats on being featured in our community highlights blog! Check it out in the latest issue of ReFresh here: https://openideo.com/blog/refresh-04

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