Monday, March 16, 2020

2020 #DTA: #VWEDU: The learning economy. Where you practice life skills: earning, buying, budgeting. How is that taught in school?

The learning economy.  
Where you practice life skills: 
earning, buying, budgeting.   
How is that taught in school? 

A plan for letting students learn economic skills in schools in virtual (simulated) worlds.  A  simulated environment can offer a safe environment designed to simulate the consumer side of economic life.   This article is explicitly licensed Public Domain (CC0).

Consumer economic skills

  • How could you practice economic skills in school?
  • You create a play world with the things you want to teach built in.
  • That would have taken a lot of work in the old days.
  • But now we have ready-made simulated worlds already available.
  • Yes--simulated and virtual are just big names for play worlds.
  • Many virtual worlds have simulated economic activities.
  • And the cost per user is so small that they often let people in for free.
  • These worlds are not suited for students as the normally operate.
  • But they can be duplicated to give a school complete access control.
  • And a school can design a life simulation to suit its educational goals.
  • This article presents preliminary ideas about using that as a serious game.
  • Use-targeted learning plan for schools in digital worlds. Learners can pick the skills they need for the uses they intend. Gamified as a model

The simulated consumer economy

Virtual money

  • The virtual money system works like the "real" one.
  • It exists in units analogous to dollars, so here called vollars
  • This money is held in an account much like a bank account. 
  • Vollars can also be represented as tokens (objects).
  • In that form, money from the account could be used to buy tokens.
  • And tokens could be deposited into the account as with a bank

Virtual income

  • Beginning students will need an initial allowance to start playing the game.
  • The main purpose is to show students that vollars get them things they want.
  • Another purpose is to give experience in pricingsaving, and managing a budget.
  • The experience would be induced by the pricing of what is on offer.
  • Students could earn additional income by virtual work.  

Virtual work

  • Virtual work opportunities could simulate real work and could support learning goals.
  • Students might earn vollars by executing projects in project-based learning.
  • Students might be able to apply for jobs if they earned badges for needed skill-sets.
  • If the vollars can buy things the students want strongly, they could motivate.
  • Advanced students might earn vollars and real dollars by mentoring others.

Virtual goods and services

  • A wide range of digital products is available.
  • Alternative avatars are likely to be desired by many students.
  • Cars, planes, and puppies could sell well.  
  • Digital services are consumed and so represent recurring costs.  
  • A rental house is the most needed service.
  • Perhaps a  basic house would be provided at no cost.
  • Then house upgrades would be available for a price.  
  • Other services might be videos and games.
  • And the ability to share these with friends.
  • Access to coveted electives might also be on offer.
  • And consideration for online jobs for advanced students.  

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