Financial literacy is seldom taught systematically in elementary school. In Ohio, for example, financial literacy is a strand of Ohio Common Core, but teachers are not equipped with effective tools to teach it. What’s more, access to technology in the classroom is inconsistent, and available solutions can’t meet the needs of all teachers and schools. Yet we all recognize how important it is that our children are financially capable as young as possible.
We used insights gained through comprehensive user research and partnered with award winning instructional designers to develop a financial literacy curriculum mapped to the Ohio Common Core Standards for grades 1-6.
We then designed and built a full-featured web-based management and assessment platform for this curriculum. Now, any teacher can lead interactive lessons that include 25 interactive games, over 2 hours of animation, and 20+ supplemental worksheets.
Karrakins Group, creator of an award-winning financial literacy platform in Australia, approached CauseLabs as a strategy and technology partner to adapt their approach for students and teachers in the United States, in partnership with the University of Cincinnati Economics Center.
Understanding that technology is only as good as the problems it solves, we first set out to understand the problems teachers were facing in Ohio, as well as what technology was available in schools to support a sustainable, scalable approach to those problems.
After a 50+ teacher survey and three in-depth teacher focus groups facilitated by CauseLabs on-site at the University of Cincinnati Economics Center, we synthesized research into a report that included user experience principles, platform design principles, curriculum mapping concepts, and sample curriculum.
We were ready to turn these learnings into winning design concepts that gave teachers and students a meaningful experience focused on financial literacy.
Armed with this data and report, we then traveled to Sydney, Australia, where the joint Karrakins/CauseLabs team spent five days outlining platform design, curriculum mapping, and curriculum creation for teachers and students in grades 1-6.
Six months later, a robust four-week curriculum full of zany characters, pedagogically sound financial literacy concepts, and hands-on activities launched to be piloted elementary school classrooms across Ohio in the 2015-2016 school year.