Most of the time, I expound about the virtues that technology has made in the world of social media. Today, I’m going a bit off the beaten path because there is another topic worth discussing, and that is how technology is changing our financial literacy. Technology provides an opportunity for everyday mortals to learn how to become financially savvy, and its changing how we manage our affairs.
Though, the majority of individuals should learn more about money matters, the topic has drifted off the radar screen for many people when they’re faced with the old school mentality of financial education. A blank stare appears on their face because conventional methods are no longer attracting them. Technology is changing the landscape in terms of financial preparation, and people are embracing its evolution for learning. With the proliferation of high-speed Internet, it’s easier for the average person to study how to become financially knowledgeable though online educational and entertainment courses.
The education you receive on money topics can affect your entire life! Several online sources, like Alison.com offer free courses that provide the information to help you attain personal financial management skills. In today’s virtual classroom, learners are exposed to interactive multimedia courses that cover everything, from setting up their first bank account to planning for retirement. The courses introduce the person to a step-by-step computer generated information platform that explains insurance policies, wages, taxes and government benefit plans. The program also provides instructions to help participants manage debt successfully. From the comfort of your home, you can learn at your own pace, revisits the steps as often as you wish, and never look like a dummy again in front of an institutional banker.
Would you like to learn more about the inner workings of the stock market, and gain some experience before you take the plunge to join the traders on Wall Street? It’s easy enough to do now because you’re only a click away from opening up a whole new world of learning experiences. Technology is being used to introduce people to stock market simulations. In these modules, people learn games as a fun, and safe way, to gain financial understanding. Three Coins, an Austria based female-led company, refers to this concept of learning as “social entertainment”. This company has already developed one game on Facebook called Kicked Out, and they are developing a second gamed called The Cure. The intent of both games is to bridge the gap between knowledge, and behavior, to become financially literate and responsible.
The viral world has also introduced the populace to MOOC (massive online open courses) through Stanford University. It provides interactive user forums that have been around for a while, but recent technology has championed a new advance for students in the program “Intro to Finance”. In this database, students have access to professors from the most notable universities around the world. For the past two years, MOOC has been prominent in the national conversation on technology and its impact on the economics of higher education. There is the recognition that the virtual classroom is both, more economically viable, and more often preferred. It “virtually” includes all of the components needed to learn away from the traditional classroom setting. Beyond the classic higher level educational institutions that offer financial literacy online, younger students are being given a different computer generated opportunity.
According to United Media Newswire, April, 2013 was named as National Financial Literacy Month. Two industry leaders came together to help students learn the basics about money sense. Through the use of technology, USA TODAY, and Great Financial Resources, offered a program called Money Matters 101. It’s a series of free online lessons to pupils in middle schools and high schools nationwide. The classroom’s virtual program incorporated articles from USA TODAY, in addition to discussions by financial experts that explored a variety of subjects, such as credit card use, saving for college and investing. The students retained more information on financial strategies in a manner, and medium, in which they felt comfortable and preferred.
The development and use of technology in the quest for financial literacy has grown exponentially over the years. With the presumption that digital media will continue to enhance beyond practice, it is becoming more conventional for the interaction of technology to provide beneficial insight for financial education. Internet based programs address unique learning styles, and they provide a convenient way to assess the material with more autonomy. The protocols offer individualized instructions, help to increase the depth of learning, and quite possibly enhance motivation through successful application.
The World Bank is endeavoring to study innovative solutions for imparting information, cultivating understanding, while also affecting behavior to strengthen their clients’ financial literacy. Often empowered by technology and the media, the Bank is opening a dialogue on building partnerships with government, the private sector, NGOs, civil society and academia, to gain insight on how to best meet the needs of today’s clients in the age of the Internet. One of the initiatives is a newer version of “All Our Ideas”. AOI is an easily accessible citizen feedback tool that enables data collection through a number of devices such as desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile. It was built with the support of the World Bank Institute as part of the World Bank’s Open Development Technology Alliance (ODTA).
As society moves along in the twenty-first century, and technology continues to expand, the collective will reap the benefits of gaining financial literacy by learning how to manage personal finances more effectively. Although, the goal is to address the need for those with a limited understanding of the financial system, and who are at a disadvantage for making decisions about managing money, everyone will benefit. Whether you’re a youngster, an adult, or a business owner, technology driven personal finance management courses will equip you to understand, plan and manage your financial affairs. Financial literacy competency will make you better prepared for dealing with the present, and more importantly, preparing for the future.