Digital Learning: Preparation for Tomorrow

Just over a century ago, education theorist John Dewey cautioned that “if we teach today’s students as we taught them yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.” At that point, industrialization was reorganizing cities, rural communities, and the role and realities of work. To prepare students for their futures, it made perfect sense that schooling should be reorganized as well.

Dewey’s observation continues to resonate nearly a century later. What engaged students five years ago is no longer sufficient to prepare them for success. Technology has changed the flow of information and the dynamics of community, with people spending an average of 4 hours per day on their mobile devices1. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study found that digital natives, the 15- to 24-year-old population with 5 or more years of online experience, are spending more than 8 hours per day connected to media2.

With 80% of middle-skill jobs now requiring technical skills3, preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s world will require great imagination and effort. Digital curriculum can be a powerful corrective force that reorganizes learning to meet students where they are and, more importantly, where they need to be. As teachers, schools, and districts become more sophisticated in their selection and use of digital learning tools, it is paramount curriculum and instructional designers continue to drive high quality, innovative approaches to learning.

As Christy Cheek, CTE Director for Buncombe County Schools in North Carolina suggests, “students today thrive through a combination of digital learning and face to face interaction. Being able to personalize a student’s education through digital learning brings numerous benefits and makes subject matter easier to understand and comprehend since students today are more comfortable with this platform.”

As with all new resources, the benefits are not always immediately realized. According to The Gates Foundation’s most recent “Teachers Know Best” survey, while 93 percent of teachers reported regularly using some form of digital tool to guide instruction, only 58 percent of teachers across all subjects found digital tools effective4. This gap between abundant use and effective use is what informs our work every day.

At EverFi, we have dedicated over 10 years towards understanding what makes digital resources effective and uniquely suited to teach meaningful skills. Every curriculum we develop, whether it’s a course on social-emotional learning or STEM literacy and career exploration, champions five core pillars:

  • Agency and Autonomy — Learning activities are personally meaningful and suited to individual interests.
  • Active Participation — The learner is fully involved in the learning experience, constructing meaning for herself.
  • Real-world Connections — Learning experience draws from realistic scenarios and applications.
  • Evidence-based Content — Pedagogy and instructional approach is grounded in research and best practice.
  • Ongoing Feedback — Instruction is both direct and just-in-time as students perform learning tasks.

EverFi’s pillars for digital learning are connected to a deeper belief that teaching and learning in the 21st century must not stop at traditional core academic skills. While Literacy and Math will always be important, we must educate the whole child5. According to Stefanie Wager of the Iowa Department of Education, we should be “thinking about a well-rounded education for all students and using digital learning to teach collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking in order to best meet the needs of students.”

Digital Learning is not a replacement for quality in-person instruction. Instead, it is a booster. This is why, in our own survey of more than 2,500 teachers last academic year, we found that:

  • 88% strongly felt that EverFi’s digital course content enhanced material they were teaching in the classroom.
  • 65% strongly felt that EverFi’s digital course content covered content that their students would not have otherwise seen.
  • 75% strongly believed their students were engaged in EverFi’s digital course content.

Good digital curriculum can bring clarity to difficult-to-teach concepts by representing them in multiple forms, increase engagement by using the same gamification mechanics that are so prevalent in students’ lives outside the classroom, and transform static topics into personally meaningful takeaways. Digital learning can take students further, faster, and in directions that are free for them to choose.

At EverFi, we look forward to the day when digital learning is both commonplace and universally effective. Until then, we will continue to develop courses that prepare students for the world of tomorrow.

Author:

Zach Wagner
EverFi Vice President
K-12 Content and Product Development

 

Sources:

1http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/informate-report-social-media-smartphone-use/
2Rideout, Victoria J., Ulla G. Foehr, and Donald F. Roberts. “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-to 18-Year-Olds.” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2010).
3http://burning-glass.com/research/digital-skills-gap/
4Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want from Instructional Tools 2.0, July 2016.
5Noddings, Nel. “What does it mean to educate the whole child?.” Educational leadership 63.1 (2005): 8.

 

 

Vault Helped Me Learn about Needs vs. Wants

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Chicago student Khloe W who shares how the skills and knowledge she gained from Vault – Understanding Money™  will help her reach her goal of graduating from college and earning her doctorate. Congrats to Khloe for being one of our scholarship recipients!

Khloe W

Student: Khloe W
Teacher: Linsey Rose
School: STEM Magnet Academy
State: Illinois
Sponsor: MassMutual Foundation

Imagine standing on a tall podium, thanking your family for supporting you from undergraduate to doctorate! That is how I want to be. There are many things that this EverFi Vault has taught me that will help me accomplish [my goals]. One big accomplishment that I want to do when I grow up is go to college, and be very successful. College is very important to me because I love getting an education and learning new things. Seeing my brothers and sisters go through college, I know it can be stressful thinking about failing many times. I also know that college costs a lot. EverFi Vault has prepared me to become a successful and responsible college student through the modules.

One important thing that Vault has taught me is about the different institutions that take care of money like brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. This is important to know when I go to college because I will need a bank account, since I will be away from my parents and have my own responsibilities. Also, I will need to know about these different parts because I will need to open up savings accounts for emergencies and pay bills to help my parents with the college funds.

Knowing that college is a lot of money, Vault has also taught me to be responsible and careful with the people I share my financial information with. EverFi says that financial information is very imperative and a key to success to life. If others can get access to it, things can do bad. For example, people can hack into your account and take your name, and spend your money, and that is not good. So, we have to be mindful about the information we share to others about our financial purposes. This is important to me and my dream to go to college because the world is cruel, and people can take advantage, be manipulative, and this can be food for thought as I continue to try to accomplish my dream.

One last thing that is very important and can affect my dream is how I spend and save my money. In college, I’ve heard many stories about the students being “broke”, and having no money to live off of, or not enough to buy necessities. I do not want this to happen to me and the way I can do that is to manage my money correctly. I will make a budget and make sure to document/establish my needs and wants. This is important because some people will focus on what they want to buy to fit in and do not focus on what they need to survive or succeed. Also, I can do this by getting a debit card. EverFi Vault has taught me the difference between the two [debit cards and credit cards] and for this situation a debit card is the best decision. Knowing that I can track my balance, see transactions and transfer/send money, this can help me better manage my money and what I spend rather than using cash.

In conclusion, this is how EverFi is helping me to with accomplish my dream to go to college. Vault is a very fun and interactive game that helped me better understand real problems in the real world.

SOS: Why Your Financial Marketing Strategy Needs Saving

The internet is awash in articles about digital marketing, but many banks and credit unions are still not taking full advantage of technology to connect with customers and prospects. But today, if you are not leveraging technology to make your services as accessible as possible, you’re losing out to the competition. Let’s take a look at three important points on why financial institutions need to incorporate technology into their financial marketing strategy:

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Learn why financial institutions need to incorporate digital into their financial marketing strategy.

Consumption of technology is only increasing over time

While the millennial generation started the trend for technology usage, the following generations are rapidly outpacing them. According to a recent report, the average tween spends nine hours a day on an electronic device, and another study found that 93 percent of 13-year olds check social media at least once daily. Financial institutions that want to attract the newer generations need to be maximizing technology now.

New players are entering the financial playing field

Technology has allowed non-traditional entities to compete in the financial space. These new players often have no actual brick-and-mortar branch—instead, they offer instant access via websites and mobile apps. Consumers are already turning to these non-traditional entities to pay bills, transfer money online, and search for loans.

It’s not too late to join the digital revolution, but it soon will be. Banks and credit unions still have an advantage—trusted brand names and connections with Baby Boomers and Generation Xers who may advise their children to use the same institution. But the time to act is now. Financial institutions that ignore these new players and new technologies risk becoming irrelevant in the near future.

Financial institutions are positioned to take advantage of digital financial education

Banks and credit unions have another built-in advantage: financial education. Since brick-and-mortar financial institutions are already considered trusted sources of information, they should be leveraging this trust to offer financial education as a way to reach current and prospective customers. Programming that is highly relevant to consumers’ needs and available in real-time via a range of devices allows consumers to learn when they’re standing in line or sitting on the subway. Technology allows consumers to reach you anytime, anywhere—and your financial education should do the same.

For more information on how to leverage technology as part of your financial marketing strategy to reach new customers, download 10 Key Imperatives of Financial Digital Marketing: A Financial Services Marketing Guide for Improving Your Millennial and Consumer Engagement Strategy.

Announcing the Scholarship Contest Winners!

The Winter Scholarship Contest ended last week with a record number of student submissions. From earning their doctorates to being nautical engineers, your students shared big dreams. We loved hearing about what they’ve learned through Vault and FutureSmart, and how financial education will make a difference in their lives. Each of our five student winners earned a $1000 college savings scholarship to help make their dreams a reality. Their stories will be featured on the EverFi Blog over the coming weeks. Congratulations winners!

Khloe W, STEM Magnet Academy, Illinois

Shannon W, New Market Middle School, Maryland

Grace K, Falls Lake Academy, North Carolina

Diandra P, Giltner High School, Nebraska

Mateja C, Berlin Middle School, Wisconsin

Want to submit more stories? The Spring Scholarship Competition is now open! We will be awarding another five $1,000 college savings scholarships to students in the U.S. who complete Vault, FutureSmart, or EverFi Financial Literacy, and who provide a short reflection by April 28th. This is a great capstone project for students and allows them to reflect on what they’ve learned. Click here to learn more.