Article Response – Re: 24hrs Vancouver’s “Technology changes how we learn about finance”

Internet communications technology, being increasingly intertwined within our lives, gives us no excuse to not learn on the go. Especially in terms of being financially literate when one changes from the university life to the workplace.

In the 24hrs Vancouver article as posted on Tuesday, June 25, 2013, Barbara Stewart offers solutions as to how we can train people to be financially literate in today’s online social media era. I agree with Stewart’s lead paragraph. Learning about money isn’t fun. It is necessary, but it isn’t fun. If we attempt to directly transplant the Finance 101 Curriculum from the professor’s lectern online, it would lose our interests and further send the compulsory need for knowledge further down our “priority list”. This is not an example of redefining the pedagogical aspect of finance education – this is the equivalent of shoving a square peg into a round hole. A definite C-/D+ effort for the educational institutions that are still using this tactic to teach in a fast-paced society of communications today.

On the go, I am a casual gamer. I play Angry Birds, and the latest Magic online TCG on my smartphone whilst commuting on the Skytrain in Vancouver. I spend more time on games on my smartphone due to the ease of downloading them and playing on the go, than gaming on my laptop or my Nintendo Wii. While I do have respect for the educational curriculum in Vancouver (well, perhaps it was due to my decision to study English Literature with Sociology at UBC), most of the knowledge seems to more or less gravitate back to the physical setting of the institution if the knowledge is not rooted in contemporary culture.

Speaking of UBC, Stewart’s article reminded me of a Coordinated Arts Program 100 level English course on “New Media and Society” that I took during my first year. One of the units in the course focuses on pedagogical gaming. I was initially skeptical about the effectiveness of pedagogical gaming. Would the game designers end up writing something that is no more different than a lecture cumulating in a pop quiz to engage the audience? I remember “playing” one of the educational games, Darfur is Dying, and I was wrong. It takes aspects of action gaming, running from the village to the village well while avoiding the enemy Janjaweed militants, and economizing the village’s food, medical, and water supplies. Another educational game that I have tried out was FutureDelta, a simulation game simulating the effects of global warming on the Delta area of Vancouver, and how I, in the role of an infrastructural planner, need to finance greener alternatives to transportation, garbage management, food production, just to name a few, to avoid flooding the Delta area.

With my personal experience in trying out educational games, I am in agreement with Stewart’s thesis and her supporting examples. I am especially in favour with her proposal of a Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). This genre of education will efficiently fit in the demands and needs to simultaneously train large groups of people to be financially literate. The only minor critique that I have regarding Stewart’s article is that the majority of her examples focus on how edutainment and social media “gamification” can be used as a vehicle to transition technology to the masses through the positive rewards of commitment in gaming. The article could benefit from being a bit more cohesive if she talked about MMORPGs and how the rewarding and “edutaining” aspects of gaming could benefit the MOOC curricula.

“Article Response – Re: 24hrs Vancouver’s “Technology changes how we learn about finance” is published on June 27, 2013, which is part of my muses. Read more about Vincent Wong’s work at .

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