Teaching in a Finance Lab
In my 30 years of experience, I have come to realize that the elements we use to teach our students have a powerful impact on their learning outcomes. Personal finance has always been my favorite subject to teach because I love imbuing students with the necessary knowledge for them to fulfill their financial goals and make the right choices when it comes to money. In other words, I like to provide them with the right tools to have a more prosperous future. I recognize that experiential learning is the key for students to fully understand what’s being taught. For 3 years now I have been having the pleasure of teaching my classes inside a Financial lab.
The magic of the colored tickers, the big LCD screens and all the information students have available, make the learning experience so much fun and interactive. This is different than sitting in a class, taking notes and reading from a PowerPoint. Having this technology available is not only beneficial of students, but also I can certainly say that it had made me a better teacher! Our school does not have a big budget, but we were able to add an LCD screen and a ticker to our computer lab, which has completely transformed the engagement I get with my students.
It’s a common misconception that teachers usually have when using this kind of learning tool. They tend to think that a finance lab is only useful if you are teaching a finance class. The scope of a finance lab goes beyond a simple finance class. A variety of subjects including math, economics and business are also using the lab as part of their classes, plus we have after school programs and clubs using it as well. In this competitive environment, employers are looking for individuals that have hands on experience and that are fully skilled in data analytics. Having a finance lab allows students to put into practice the theories learned in class, helping them bridge the gap between theory and practice and building the necessary skills to be prepared for the job market.
Having a finance lab is also a great way to attract students and funding. It can help schools build strong relationships with the business community – we were also able to get a sponsorship for our lab which helped with the installation costs.
As I have mentioned before, one of the best free resources you can use in your classes is HowTheMarketWorks, but you can bring your classes, and the whole school to a new level by adding a Personal Finance Lab.