Sonja Gabriel works as a professor for media literacy at University Teacher College Vienna/Krems (Austria). Her primary focus of research is on digital game-based learning and using serious games and gamification for teaching different subjects at school and university as well as evaluation of various projects for learning with games and game-design approaches.
Play to Prosper: Teaching Financial Literacy Through Games
FROG 2023 – Talk
In the evolving landscape of education, an intriguing method has emerged to teach economic thinking and financial literacy: games. From traditional board games to sophisticated digital simulations, the interactive nature of gaming offers a novel approach to elucidating complex economic concepts. The question arises: How are games reshaping the way we understand economics?
Games provide educators with an unparalleled opportunity to create immersive learning experiences. For younger audiences, the simplification of complex topics through play ensures an initial grasp of core concepts. Older learners, on the other hand, can delve into intricate economic scenarios, honing their critical thinking skills through simulated real-world challenges. This hands-on approach reinforces classroom lessons, making economic principles both engaging and relatable.
The systemic nature of games mirrors that of economic structures. Just as individual decisions in a game can ripple throughout its entire system, so too can choices in the economic realm influence broader market dynamics. This parallel allows educators to illustrate the interconnectedness and repercussions inherent in economic systems. However, it’s crucial to note that games, with their fixed rules and boundaries, can’t entirely emulate the unpredictable complexities of global economies. As such, while they’re invaluable teaching tools, games remain representations, not replicas.
Moreover, games have ventured beyond mere educational tools into the realm of economic critique. By analyzing different economic ideologies within gameplay, educators can prompt students to critically evaluate and discuss the pros and cons of various economic systems. Yet, as with any tool, educators must be wary of inherent biases and the risk of oversimplifying multifaceted economic issues.
The last years have seen a rise in the number of digital games dealing with financial literacy. This presentation is going to have a look at some of these games, discussing which aspects of financial literacy are included and how learning is integrated into game-design. Finally, potentials and limitations of digital games will be discussed when it comes to teaching financial literacy.