I have used online simulations with my students for a variety of different pedagogical goals – something I am planning on blogging about later – but today I came across an online simulation that seems very appropriate for the current economic environment. (I found information about the game here). The game is called Spent and the idea is that you are trying to manage a budget for your family on a very small income. The organization that sponsors the game, the Urban Ministries of Durham clearly has a political agenda – as well as a desire for donations. Because of this I am reticent to use this in class but I felt it did a very good job of illustrating the challenges of the urban poor with families for people who may not have a real sense of how hard it is to live on a tight budget. Have other people used this simulation with their students? Did it work well?
2 Replies to “Interesting online exercise on poverty and budgeting”
I’ve played through Spent before and I’ve also struggled with how to bring it into the classroom. Also, the lack of any ‘positive’ events might lead students to think that its exaggerating the position that people find themselves in. But it does add something great, which is the personalization of it–the way it puts ‘you’ in the position instead of speaking of people in poverty in the abstract. It might be useful in a discussion about the merits of a welfare system, about which i find students to be particularly lacking in knowledge. You could have the students vote for an option, or take them to a computer lab and have them play it through and see how well they do.
I was actually thinking of asking them to all bring laptops or play it at home. I also like the fact that it personalizes it – i just wish it wasn’t so obviously trying to sell a solution.
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