Teaching Economics with Real World Economics in the Technology Age

Education is increasingly transitioning to the reality of an ever-changing technological landscape. It is a challenge for many educators to leverage technology in the classroom in a meaningful and relevant way simply because the students are typically so much further ahead than the teachers, schools, and field of education in general. They are able to adapt more quickly to new technology and implement it in their personal lives far more easily than large educational institutions. However, the internet offers a wide range of options that may be more easily introduced into the classroom.

The Stock Market as an Educational Resource

Monitoring the stock market in real time is something that was once only available to those with traders on the floor. Now, it can be monitored on a second by second basis by anyone with a connection to the internet. This offers economics teachers an unprecedented opportunity to integrate real-world examples into their teaching methodology.

There are the terms and concepts that are easily recognizable as being related to the stock market such as bull market, bear market, short-selling, growth stock, value stock, dovish, and hawkish. Following the daily trends provides context to the underlying causes of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and 2008 as well as the bubbles that preceded them.

It is also a valuable learning tool to explain the concepts of inflation, deflation, propaganda as it pertains to marketing and the value of a company, monopolies, banking and business regulations, investment, and interest rates. The more students become actively engaged in monitoring individual stocks and the performance of those stocks over time, the greater the educational opportunity.

Real Time Observation

Other technology powerhouses such as Apple, Sony, Amazon, Google, and Nintendo can also be leveraged to create interest in economic trends. Following Apple can be especially enlightening because of its regularly timed introductions of new products. Following the Nasdaq AAPL profile allows students to readily see the impact of specific events and news stories on the share price and promotes discussion on the topic.

Most students believe they are experts in social media. They receive a great deal of their informal education in these realms and they are a good place to start when introducing the concept. The stock trends of Twitter and Facebook and the implications of future developments based on investor preferences has a personal impact on how the students will interact with these services in the future.

In the News

Some of the most interesting, recent developments which students may find captivating are how the tech industry itself has been responsible for the record-breaking trends on Wall Street. This clearly demonstrates the power technology now has over the financial health of the country and even the world. This can be used to promote discussion on the role these companies have on the personal lives of the students and their families and how that translates into the larger economic role of the company and what that might mean for the stock prices of other companies with which they are less familiar.

Snapchat is another great example to use with students because of how recently the company was made public and the economic rollercoaster ride that has followed as the market struggles to determine the worth of the company. By actively watching the stock market, students become more aware of these details and can be encouraged to explore the economic and historical implications.

Economics classes have often been considered amongst the most uninteresting, however, this is rapidly changing. Technology has allowed the field to be viewed almost as a sport. It can be watched in real time, analyzed, discussed, and anticipated. With real-time monitoring, it can even be gamified by educators to further facilitate student engagement.

Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article

About the Author: Jenna B.

Jenna is a freelance writer who got into blogging in college and copywriting upon graduation. Jenna has usually written about topics that mean a lot to her such as health and medicine when applied to family and loved ones. Jenna is an avid runner as long as it’s not a marathon distance jog! She’s on twitter (she still hasn’t fallen in love with and doesn’t use often) @JennaFromDaBlog!


Continuing to Build Your ThingLink VR/360° BreakoutEDU

Here is the next phase to March’s ThingLink VR/360° BreakoutEDU Challenge which I am facilitating. I started the challenge by kicking off this idea at a Webinar on the last evening of February; check out this post to read about the kickoff. During the month of March, participants are joining my ThingLink Group (once they filled out this Form) and creating their own digital BreakoutEDU activity using the VR/360° editor in ThingLink. To find out what kind of tutorial/help participants were looking for next, I posted a Twitter poll (embedded below).

Here is the video tutorial showing how I create a Google Form, using a multiple choice question set to ‘Go to section’ so a Breakout participant can select which lock they are struggling with and receive a hint. Enjoy!

Do you have any questions or need any assistance with creating your own? I would love to help out through the comments below.

Apple Distinguished Educator Program Submission…

…Or Hoping Third Time is the Charm.

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

We have made it through to the 10th week of the year!

And we thought that this might be a great time to spend some time to catch up, reflect, or finish that post you’ve been wanting to publish but haven’t gotten around to.

So here is the plan, this week choose one or more of the following:

  • Go back through the first 9 topics and publish a post on any that you may have missed.
  • Write a post reflecting on your experience blogging so far. What have you learned? How has it gone?
  • Spend some time publishing a post on any topic at all. Your choice!

I applied back in February (Deadline was the 15th) and haven’t had a chance to share here. This week’s #EdublogsClub Prompt gave me the chance to get back to this draft…

I ThingLink(ed) my submission video and tagged it up with links to other items referenced in the video. Fingers crossed, there is no listed timeline of when I should hear if I have been accepted.

Have you ever applied more than once for something? I would love to read about your experience in the comments below.


Well, third time is not the charm in my case. Here’s what I received on April 3rd in my email. Your ADE Application 2017 The next opportunity would be in two years. Not sure if I will attempt a fourth try… Thoughts?

Creating an Organized Feedback/Evaluation Workflow

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt:Write a post about giving feedback to students.
Some questions to jumpstart your thinking:

  • What is your favorite type of assignment upon which to comment? Why?
  • Do you have any tips to share on using rubrics, alternative assessments, or anything else related to feedback and grading work?
  • How do you balance constructive criticism and sensitive students?
  • How do students respond to your feedback? Do you have any thoughts about changes that could strengthen your feedback?
  • How do you give feedback “in the moment” during classroom activities? What are the most effective strategies you’ve used?

The following Post from March 8, 2017 might not fit exactly to the prompt above, but may help some teachers develop a workflow for feedback with students. Enjoy!

Recently, I met with a teacher who was looking for a way to digitalize her 3-page evaluation rubric for her students. In the past, the teacher would give this out at the end of a group project to each member. She would then have pages from her four periods to have to scour through and determine what each member thought was their personal strength, why (or why not) they thought the group collaborated well together, etc. She wanted a way to save time on the collection and distribution process as well as the dialogue of feedback. We setup a Google Form to collect the information, but the data on a Sheet is not easily readable. So we used a Google Sheets add-on, autoCrat, to take the data and input it into a <<tagged>> Google Doc template. Below are the Form (for you to fill-out and receive your own version of the Doc) and the template Doc. When the Doc is shared with the submitter, it is shared with ‘Can Comment’ rights. This way the teacher and can make comments on their selections without the students being able to make changes to their rubric.

Around the same time the teacher reached out to me, this Tweet appeared in my Twitter stream. Coincidence, I think not!

What have you automated in your classroom? I would love to read about it in the comments below.

Creating Digital Breakouts using ThingLink VR/360°

Last June, I wrote a post about my ‘Escape the Classroom‘ first attempt at a digital breakout. After that 360° ThingLink received some attention, I collaborated with Susan Oxnevad, Director of Education at ThingLink, to offer a webinar on utilizing this feature for teachers to create their own (read the posting on the ThingLink for Education Blog). The webinar took place on Tuesday, February 28th, below is the Google Slide presentation from the webinar as well as a re-take of the webinar after some recording snafu.

Create a lock with a Google Form

Creating a digital lock can be easy through Google Forms, which offers lots of possibilities. Embedded is a video I recorded showing how to create word, number, or the same method can be applied to directional locks. By creating a short answer question, setting it to required, and using data validation a simple lock can be created.

Some of my best tips & tricks for building your own.

  • Want arrows (←↑→↓) or other symbols for your locks? Check out copypastecharacter.com
  • Want to include audio directions? Use Voki (download the video and upload into the ThingLink VR/360° tag) or AudioBoom (add as an embedded item to the ThingLink VR/360° tag)
  • Want to include a YouTube video, but don’t want the suggested videos or want to trim it to show a small clip? Use SafeShare.tv (add the URL as an embedded item to the ThingLink VR/360° tag)
  • Want a link in your caption for an image? Type the text in brackets [] followed by the link URL in parenthesis ()
  • Want to have your participants automatically prompted to ‘Make a Copy’ of a Google item (Doc, Sheet, Drawing, etc.)? Use this trick nicknamed “Force a Copy”
    • Step 1: Set your item to ‘Anyone with the Link’ Can Edit
    • Step 2: Copy the actual URL of the item
    • Step 3: Replace the word “edit” (and anything after it, in the case of Google Sheet URLs) with the word “copy
    • Step 4: Use the new URL and create a link as described in the bullet point about brackets & parenthesis

Advanced features/extras

Depending on how involved you want your Breakout to get, you can utilize some different Google Sheets add-ons to make items more advanced. A couple of add-ons to look at are:

  • autoCrat – merge data collected into a Google Doc template and then email to the participant; great for a successful completion certificate
  • copyDown – ensures any formulas in row 2 of your Google Sheet are copied into the ‘inserted’ row of data when a Form is submitted; great for setting up =IF() formulas
  • formMule – utilizes conditional triggers for sending different customized & personalized emails to participants; great for sending “success” or “still locked” emails
Want to join the challenge? (ends March 30th)

I look forward to learning beside you and exploring your creations.

Here is the ThingLink VR/360° I had as my demonstration version from the webinar

Have any questions? I’ll try to answer them in the comments below.

Popular Culture… #EdublogsClub

This post is part of the #EdublogsClub – a group of educators and educational technology enthusiasts that blog around a common theme each week. Simply write a post and share it (via social media w/ #edublogsclub or posting a link as a comment to that topic’s posting on the Edublogger site) to join in, or sign up to receive email reminders of each new prompt. 

Prompt: Write a post about using popular culture in the classroom.
Some questions to jumpstart your thinking:

  • What kind of popular culture do you bring into the classroom? How do you use it?
  • Do you have any comic books or graphic novel favorites that you use for reading and textual analysis? Why do you choose those?
  • What are your favorite television shows or movies in your classes? Why do you find these helpful tools?
  • Do you have any favorite songs that you bring into your classroom? How have students responded to your music? Why do you bring in these pieces?

Pop culture, really? You want to hear how to use pop culture from…

Me?” – James T. Kirk

Well then sit back and get ready to hear about it.

“What’s happening, hot stuff?” – Long Duck Dong

See I believe that technology is always changing and…

“If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

I like to incorporate pop culture to make connections to (hopefully) references people understand. Technology, for many is like a foreign film, but if I can create the subtitles (through pop culture references) that people need to understand it, then it makes my job a little easier. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I feel like, “Anyone, anyone” – teacher [played by Ben Stein] from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For instance, when I introduced Padlet to staff I started by showing this commercial which was quite popular, at the time, and asked if anyone ever heard about the tool and how it worked.

I also like to include pop culture references in my blog posts. Here is a link to some posts I have done with, in my opinion, the biggest pop culture movie(s) referenced ever!

Now, I can’t end this post without giving you some tech nugget, so here it is: GIFit! If you read my previous post on free tech tools, then you would be familiar with this tool. Quick and easy way to take a YouTube video and make it a .gif image.

Now the closing, if you didn’t get all the pop culture references from the .gifs above then all I have to say is…

“No soup for you! Come back in one year!” – Soup Nazi

Do you incorporate Pop Culture references? I would love to read about that in the comments below.