Friday, July 6, 2012

Future of Financial Intelligence

Over the last couple of years I have been thinking about two things
1. That I would love to help students start up a club or group of some kind
2. That I fear for the financial intelligence of many of the young people out there

I know some people who have gone through high school and University successfully and are only now really learning about some of the key financial tidbits they wish someone had told them sooner. I also know that the Ontario Curriculum allows our students to get through the required courses without ever learning about these things (OK, so there is a chapter on interest and mortgages in Grade 11...but most classes don't put this information into a context that makes it matter).

The above has led me to think that I should consider running "stuff you should know" type sessions for students who are looking to enter the "real world" (which may involve post secondary education, the work force, travel, etc). Here are some of the things I have thought about addressing:

- Keeping in touch with family
- Keeping in touch with friends
- Maintaining a work-life balance (job, school, social)
- Making friends in your "new" life
- Credit cards - what are they and should I get one
- Tips on saving (how and where)
- Perspective on the financial costs of education
- Student loans, Line of credit
- Bursaries, awards and scholarships
- Do I need a laptop? How to survive note-taking
- Services at post-secondary schools
- Etiquette at the theatre
- Basics cleaning for student housing
- Dealing with landlords
- Basic car knowledge
- Paying and organizing bills, etc
- Do people really change after high school? Life and other things

Now I definitely see some overlap here with things that the guidance department at my school already addresses, but I think there could be a benefit to a separate small group setting that would be set up for discussions and questions more than generic info. I am not sure how well attended this kind of thing would be though, and that is the reason that I would much prefer to set up a club that students already express interest in. If it comes from them it is more likely to draw the interest of other students and keep the word spreading without a huge advertising effort.

Those are my musings on the topic for now. I don't have a concrete idea on how to go about getting this started, but at least the thoughts are there, and now there is record of it. Who knows what next year will bring.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Tweetups Reflection

I reflected on the first TweetUp that I did with my SPH 3U0 class a few months ago (you can read it here) and have neglected to come back to talking about it since, mostly out of not finding the time and inspiration to write. The end of the school year often does that. I decided I should come back to it and help myself reflect on where the decision to use TweetUps led me.

After the initial chat and then feedback from my students I decided that I was not going to allow the negative feedback to deter the idea. I wanted to give it a chance starting in a new unit and including multiple TweetUps to allow us to spread out the topics and have more focused conversations. So at the start of the unit we decided on three chats (they had to participate in at least one contributing at least 3 questions and/or answers to collect communication marks that would be integrated into their test, an alternate assignment was offered to the few who could not (or would not) participate) which also allowed us to lay out the unit and decide (roughly) on quiz and test dates.

This time around the "I wish" feedback I received from the class was more to the effect of wanting more questions answered, more people to participate, etc instead of finding it disorganized or confusing. They liked that it was more frequent and was review before quizzes but some did not like that they last one was the night before the test.

Overall it felt beneficial. It gave a chance for the more introverted student to ask thoughtful questions (and one in particular asked some great ones) and provided an outlet for a large senior class (29 students) to ask individual questions and find the misconceptions in their learning.

There were a number of students that participated above and beyond the requirement for their communication marks, which indicates that they found it helpful and enjoyed participating. There were also some that lacked the responsibility to remember when the chats were and claimed they really wanted to be there.

I continued to use the chats with the class in the energy unit, but it was more difficult to fit three in based on the structure of the unit (mini seminars involving research). The last chat was supposed to be a debate about energy sources (based on some of the seminar topics) but most of the class forgot about it - which was unfortunate considering they sparked the start of an interesting conversation in class right before the bell.

I did not use them in the waves/electromagnetics units, mostly out of getting busy and feeling that the waves unit would not lend itself as well to a TweetUp as Motion, Forces or Energy did. Perhaps I was wrong, but with our stellar week of raising money for Camp Oochigeas as a school in there and all of their classes being busy I felt it was for the best.

I would definitely try this again for this class. Next semester it appears that I have a much smaller class so I am not sure of the use I will make of it. I will have to see how the semester starts. I may use the hashtag within class for students to pose questions or comments during lessons that can be addressed within the class instead (or try an app I heard about that allows for this anonymously instead). The decision is still to be made. Any thoughts, ideas or opinions on this would be more than welcome!

Happy summer everyone!
And Happy Canada Day!!!