BYOT? Have No Fear, Fed Resources Are Here!
Tablets, laptops, e-readers, smartphones, and netbook computers are now being packed in student book bags without fear of confiscation as part of the new movement to enhance educational instruction through the BYOT—for "bring your own technology"—movement. With increasing numbers of school systems across the country adopting BYOT protocols, we thought the time had come for an issue highlighting some of our latest online resources.
Note: Links to Fed resources appear in the Featured links section at the bottom of this article.
Interactive whiteboard lessons
While most teachers will use lessons designed with SMART software as whole-class or large-group activities, students with laptops and netbooks have two options to access these files for small group or individual application. The SMART Notebook Express website—express.smarttech.com/#— allows users to open SMART files in read-only format for temporary access, which means no software is downloaded onto the device. If students will be using SMART files on a regular basis, they can download the free interactive viewer from the SMART website: smarttech.com/Support/Browse+Support/Download+Software. They can download the 2.0 for Windows or the 2.0 for Mac. Both versions require approximately 576 megabytes of space, and both require Adobe Flash Player to function. (They can download this from the Adobe website: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/?promoid=JZEFT.)
Once students have access to SMART, we suggest teachers check out some SMART offerings from the Fed.
- The Dallas Fed's popular Building Wealth in the Classroom series, recently updated with 10 new lessons, looks at budgeting and the wise use of credit. The series also provides comprehensive coverage of saving and investing, from the basics of stocks and bonds to the importance of diversification and risk versus return analysis. In addition, the Dallas Fed's Everyday Economics SMART lessons give students the opportunity to explore topics on globalization, international trade, and entrepreneurship.
- The St. Louis Fed's SMART lessons featuring "theory of the firm" models offer advanced placement microeconomics students ready-made, interactive graphs perfect for application of these key concepts. Other SMART lessons address supply and demand, the incidence of a tax, and comparative and absolute advantage, as well as the crowding-out effect with an interactive simulation of the loanable funds market.
- For macroeconomic lessons on money, banking, economic indicators, the structure and function of the Federal Reserve, and monetary policy, students can use the SMART lessons from the Atlanta Fed's Classroom Economist series.
The Federal Reserve Systems' mobile applications are free downloads, and most are available for multiple platforms.
- The Dallas Fed's Building Wealth app, available for Android, Apple, and Blackberry devices, covers financial goal setting, budgeting, saving, investing, debt management, and interpreting credit reports and credit scores. There are various calculation tools and students can challenge their friends to a test-your-wealth knowledge game by posting their results on Facebook or Twitter, or sharing via an e-mail message.
- The first three modules in the St. Louis Fed's Econ Ed Mobile Learning app, available for Apple and Android, explain inflation, the cost of credit, and budgeting. Each module provides an overview of these concepts by posing questions related to the main topic. Credit and budget challenge games enhance the learning experience, and a glossary of terms is included. Regular updates have expanded the offerings of this application. The latest update includes a set of personal finance flashcards to test financial literacy.
- Want to learn about the history of U.S. coins and currency? Check out the Boston Fed's Fed Trivia: Currency, for Apple devices. Students play the game by answering questions about U.S. notes, and must earn at least 200 points per card for the game to continue. They can use coins to buy hints and the opportunity to retry questions. Players earn stars that designate their ranking at the end of the game, and can gain bragging rights by posting their highest scores, proving they have the best understanding of U.S. currency.
The St. Louis Fed has added two interactive online courses to its econlowdown series.
- Credit Cred introduces students to the importance of using credit wisely, the costs associated with credit, how to build good credit, and ways to repair damaged credit. Students will also learn about credit reports, credit scores, and how to avoid common mistakes associated with the use of credit.
- Chocolate anyone? Students can learn everything they need to learn about supply, demand, determinants that shift the supply and demand curves, market equilibrium, surplus, and shortage through the market for chocolate bars in the Supply and Demand Online Course. Pre- and post-tests, interactive graphs, discussion boards, and polling questions create a comprehensive learning experience.
- "Get Into Stocks" is the third video in the St. Louis Fed's video series, No Frills Money Skills. Using data visualization and tongue-in-cheek humor, this video teaches students about stocks, part ownership of a company, and even public humiliation and punishment (not the colonial style!). Context is the key to understanding the correct meaning of all words. The video tells the story of a local ice cream cart owner who learns about the process of business expansion through the issuance of stock and all that this entails. The video also covers concepts associated with publicly traded stocks, such as capital gains and dividends.
- The San Francisco Fed has produced a data visualization tutorial on interpreting charts to support their popular DataPost series. In this video, students learn about the relationships between information and data, the difference between line and bar charts, time series charts, recession bars, percentage change values, level values, and vertical scale. DataPost presentations are grouped into three categories: macroeconomics, microeconomics, or international trade. Current topics include GDP, unemployment, and inflation (as captured through the Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index).
Keep abreast of the latest Federal Reserve online resources to support your BYOT efforts by searching www.federalreserveeducation.org.
Building Wealth in the Classroom (Dallas Fed)
St. Louis Fed's SMART Board lessons
Classroom Economist (Atlanta Fed)
Building Wealth (Dallas Fed)
Econ Ed Mobile Learning (St. Louis Fed)
Fed Trivia: Currency (Boston Fed)
St. Louis Fed's online courses
No Frills Money Skills: "Get Into Stocks" (St. Louis Fed)
DataPost tutorial on interpreting charts (San Francisco Fed)
By Amy Hennessy, director of economic education, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and editorial director of Extra Credit
April 15, 2013