In this session of the Econ Lowdown webinar series, presenters from the Federal Reserve banks of St. Louis and Boston introduce Econ Lowdown, a collection of education materials to enrich your classes. Featured resources include online learning modules, videos, interactive whiteboard lessons and podcasts. All of the resources are designed to help you serve the diverse learning needs of your students – and they're free.
Mike Vander Velde: Good afternoon and welcome to the Econ Lowdown. Today we're going to take a look at tools for teaching economic and financial literacy. I'm Mike Vander Velde with the St. Louis Fed, and I'll be your facilitator. Joining me on Slide 2, we'll show you some of the logistics for today's call. If you haven't done so yet, go ahead and click on the webinar link that you received after registering. This option offers a few benefits. You can watch the slides as they are advanced. You can type questions to us. You can also participate in polling questions. And we have a few of those today. You are free to download the session materials or even choose to listen to the audio through your PC speakers.
Now I would like to note that the performance of the webinar does depend on your connection. So if at any time you're having problems, you can always pick up the phone and dial the toll free number on your screen.
Another note here. You can also click the Enlarge button to maximize the view of the slides. So if that's useful go ahead and click on that.
As for questions, you can submit them at any time by clicking on the Ask Question button in the lower left hand corner of the webinar tool. You can type one to us there.
Now let me be the first to welcome our first presenter. That's Assistant Vice President and Economic Education Officer here at the Federal Reserve of St. Louis, and that's Mary Suiter. Mary, take it away.
Mary Suiter: Thanks, Mike. I'd like to welcome the participants today to our first Econ Lowdown webinar. I'm going to talk first, if we can go to Slide 3.
So Econ Lowdown is a website. There are materials there for K-16, so K-12, as well as college resources, available on the website. At the top of the box that's outlined in red you'll see a green and a red apple. Those are links to log in for instructor and log in for teachers, I mean for students. And you will be able to learn a little bit more about those as we go through the webinar today.
You'll see that there's a link there for events. There's also a link to subscribe to our Econ Lowdown newsletter. Followed by that is a link to endorsements. And the endorsements include comments from teachers across the country about their use of Econ Lowdown. There's a link to teacher education, because we have online professional development as a part of Econ Lowdown. There's a link to our partners and a link on how to contact us.
We also have a link to a glossary of terms and flashcards. So we have a glossary of more than 300 economic and financial terms. And from those you can create your own flashcards for your use in the classroom, or you can have your students create flashcards.
If we could go to Slide 4, please?
So Econ Lowdown, what is it? It's a collection of online resources for teaching economics and personal finance in the classroom. And as I mentioned, there are materials here available for K-16, so K through 12 classroom use, as well as college classroom use.
If we could go on to Slide 4.
We have materials on the website, on Econ Lowdown, for use in a number of disciplines. You can use them in literature. So you'll see there we have some cover pictures of some books. Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Lawn Boy, and Less than Zero, those are examples of some of the lesson... the books for which we have lesson plans in Econ Lowdown. We can use them in history. We have resources, you'll see some primary source resources there for use in history classes, for teaching economics. We have mapping tools and data for use in geography classes. We have materials for use in business education, as well as math classes.
If we could move to Slide 6, please.
It's really important, I think, for you to be aware that everything on Econ Lowdown is standards based. So we've aligned our content with the Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics and the National Standards for Financial Literacy, as well as Jumpstart, the JumpStart standards. We've also aligned all of our resources with Common Core State Standards Initiative. And when I say aligned, we didn't just take our resources that existed and tag them with Common Core State Standards. We actually went back in and reviewed those and made changes to them to ensure that they were actually Common Core aligned.
If we could move to Slide 7, please.
Econ Lowdown uses many formats. So we provide a lot of formats for teachers to use in the classroom. We have lesson plans with whiteboard activities and PowerPoint slides available. We have e-books such as The Piggy Bank Primer e-book, and In Plain English e-book. Both available in the iTunes store. We have an Econ Lowdown education app for use on a variety of tools. We also have videos, so you're going to learn about a number of video series that we have. We have a podcast series for teachers to use. And we have online learning modules available.
If we could go to Slide 8, please.
One of the video series we have is called the Economic Lowdown Video Companion. And you can see the topics we cover there: supply, demand, equilibrium, labor markets, externalities, the circular flow and gross domestic product. So those are all topics covered in short videos anywhere between five- and 12-minute long videos on a particular topic. The screenshot you see there is from our Supply and Demand Equilibrium video.
You can move to Slide 9, please.
One of the videos is on circular flow. These are animated, so we have not just talking heads, but we have animation included in these videos. Circular Flow video deals with the use of land, labor, capital and entrepreneurial ability to produce goods and services, which are then sold in markets and the people who work are engaged in supplying those goods and services receive income, which they then spend, and so you see the circular flow or the movement of resources, goods and services, and money in the economy.
If you could move to Slide 10, please.
Another video series that we have made available recently is called Explore Economics. And this is for elementary or middle, upper elementary or middle school students. The videos are pretty short, anywhere between a minute and a half to three minutes. The first one you see there on The Economics of Infrastructure deals with what's underground and on ground to support the operation of the economy. So bridges and roads, electricity, power, water, sewer services all are a part of the infrastructure that support the economy.
We have a video on the economics of transportation and how we move goods and services over time and how that changes our capacity to move goods and services more quickly and to trade.
And the third video is on what makes something useful as money. And so it deals with the characteristics of money in a clever and entertaining way.
And with that I'm going to turn this over to my colleague in Boston, Dawn Hicks.
Dawn Hicks: Thank you, Mary. Thank you. My name is Dawn Hicks and I'm a senior community affairs analyst here at the Boston Federal Reserve Bank. And here with my group we focus on enhancing. And the financial stability and capability of low- and moderate-income individuals here in the New England region.
So I'm going to focus on some of the Econ Lowdown videos that could be great personal finance teaching tools. So we'll start here with the No-Frills Money Skills, which is a video series, and it's specifically for personal finance classrooms. It features growing money. And that talks about compound interest. It also features ways to save, which focuses on saving for retirement. Getting to Stocks is a video that teaches about the stock market. And it also was the platinum winner for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards, which is the highest award for video content.
The Bonds video is a newer video in the series, and it uses a spoof on James Bond to teach about bonds. And Mutual Benefits focuses on mutual funds. And this video series is appropriate for middle school, high school, college and the general consumer, as well, can use it.
Understanding How a FICO credit score is Determined. It's part of the Personal Finance 101 series. And it discusses what a FICO score is, how it's calculated and its implications, and why it's important. I want to point out that many high school students and young adults don't understand the power of the FICO score and basically how much influence it has in many aspects of our lives. It's great for them, this tool, especially those who are starting to think about credit. It's also a great video to use in preparing students for the Credit for Life Fair, or as known in some parts of this region, The Financial Fitness Fairs, where some students are assigned credit scores at the start of these reality fairs and these assigned credit scores affect the students' ability to navigate that simulated reality or financial reality of life. And it's also great for any consumer who needs to understand the relationship between the FICO score and the cost of credit.
Slide 13, please.
Understanding Capital Markets is the first video in the series of Tools for Enhancing the Stock Market Game: Invest It Forward series. This was designed as a teaching tool for using the Stock Market Game, but it can be used wherever this content falls in your curriculum regardless of whether you use that stock market game or not. In addition to the video, a short online course and PowerPoint plans are available. And these videos are designed to help students better understand stocks, bonds, primary and secondary capital markets, saving and investing, and the role of the benefits of capital markets, and a lot more aspects.
Slide 14, please.
More aligned with the personal finance realm we have Wealth Creation for All, which is the second video in the Tools for Enhancing Stock Market Game series. And in this video the emphasis is on the importance of developing the savings habit early. It explains the importance of establishing an emergency fund first and then moving on to making investments. Wealth Creation for All suggests investing in capital markets to meet financial goals. The video explains the concept of risk versus return, what capital markets are, and how we call can participate in them.
Slide 15, please.
Beware, Debt Can Drown You. This is an infographic about alternative financial services, and it includes video as part of this Personal Finance 101 series as well. So embedded in this infographic that's used as a handout or even for quick reference points are these videos that give a more engaging presentation of the pros and cons of traditional and alternative financial products. So the topics focus on check cashing, stores, restaurants, banks and credit banks, payday lending, pawn shops and title lending, prepaid cards, refund anticipation loans or RAL, and in-house financing, including the Rent-to-Own stores.
Slide 16, please.
OK, each of these pictured here is a short video that highlights the points that I made on the previous slide. So they're great for the student or the consumer in general who decides, well, who's deciding whether to finance a car or to buy furniture with traditional credit or through alternative credit, such as the Rent-2-Own stores. Or it's good for the student or consumer to know whether to use a bank or a check cashing store. This series is also a great tool for those school districts or institutions teaching in urban environments and needing to comply with the regulations and mandates of OMWI, the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.
Slide 17, please.
The College 101 infographic. This infographic is for students who are college bound. It has videos that help them think about careers and potential income and to help them take into account when... this information when they're deciding to go to college.
Slide 18, please.
So these are the videos that go with the infographics of College 101 and they focus on FAFSA, the cost of college, and also choosing a college.
Now I'll turn it back over to St. Louis to my colleague Scott, who will take us through some points on how to use these tools.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, so we're going to jump in with a quick poll first before we get to Scott if you joined on the webinar. If not, it's not too late. You can go ahead and click on the webinar link you received. And let me read this now. It says, "Which of the following is a personal finance video series?" Your choices: No-Frills Money Skills, Explore Economics, the Economic Lowdown video series, or GDP and Pizza. So, again, just click on your answer there. I'm going to give you just a couple of moments to do that. And, again, as a quick reminder, if you have questions for us today, go ahead and click that "Ask Question" button within the webinar tool and we'll get those queued up as well.
All right, so we're going to go ahead and stop the poll and we're going to share the results with everyone here. In just a moment those are going to pop up on your screen. All right, it looks like we're split between A and C, No-Frills Money Skills and the Economic Lowdown video series. Scott, what is the right answer here?
Scott Wolla: All right, so A is the correct answer, No-Frills Money Skills does have a personal finance focus. The Economic Lowdown video series has more of an economics focus. So good job. Good work.
So all of the videos that you just heard about, you as a teacher have the ability to use our assessment tool and assign those videos to students. And then as students are assigned those videos they have the ability to take the assessment, the built-in assessment that you'll learn about in just a minute. The way you log onto it, register for those online assessment tools, is from our homepage. Again you see the green apple and the red apple again. The red apple is your teacher link to log into the instructor management panel. The green apple is what your students will use when they log into it to take the assessment and to watch the videos.
You can progress to the next slide, please.
One of those videos, as you learned about earlier, is Supply in the Econ Lowdown video series. This is what it looks like for your students. So when they're in the instructor management panel, the student version, when they click on their assignment, the video will pop out. They'll watch the video. And then you'll notice just below the video there are two buttons for your students to choose from. One says, Watch Again, so they can watch the video as many times as they want, as they feel necessary. And when they feel ready, they can click the Quiz Me button.
If you could progress the slide, please.
And what you see on that next slide is actually a picture of what the quiz looks like. And so you can see in the progress bar that the quiz that goes with this video is five questions, multiple choice in format. We pull out kind of the main points, the main learning objectives from each video, and make sure that those are highlighted in the assessment. They submit their answer. At the end of the quiz, they actually get a score right away. They get feedback.
And if you could click to the next slide.
They get a score and then they have some options. They can either keep that score or they can watch the video again and try to retake the quiz again. And so the system allows them to retake the quiz as many times as they want and it will keep the highest score.
And if you could press one more time.
On the teacher side, you have the ability to track your students' progress. So this is what the teacher portal looks like. And you see the imaginary classroom there with some hypothetical students. And you can see that Corey has watched the video zero times and took the quiz once. And as a result he got a 20. Margina watched the video three times, took the quiz five times and got 100. George and Betsy haven't started. So this portal actually gives you a lot of information about how your students are progressing and also how much effort that they are putting forth into their learning.
And with that I'm going to pass the baton back to Dawn.
Dawn Hicks: Thanks, Scott. OK. I want to talk about the personal finance online courses. But before I get into that I want to point out this elementary school module that's geared towards economics and will soon be a part of a series that will bring in personal finance topics. You can see them on the right there, Ella Saves Today and Give Ella Credit. But this current module, Once Upon a Decision, basically takes Ella through learning the opportunity costs of making a decision. That decision being, should she go outside and play or should she stay in and clean up her room? And what's the opportunity cost of either decision.
So in this module, students view the short video and they can then as a class discuss Ella's decision, what the opportunity costs were for her decision, what they may have done given a chance to make the decision themselves, and it also includes a small glossary of terms used in this module.
Next slide, please.
In Budgeting 101 students are given the opportunity to create a budget for Regan. Regan is a nursing school student and later a post-graduate young adult in the throes of the responsibilities of life. So as they make their final decisions for Regan, they also create their own personal budget, giving them the tools to make healthy financial decisions for themselves. And this module is about 20 minutes long.
Next slide, 26, please?
So as they help Regan with her budgeting needs, as I mentioned earlier, previous slide, students can use this budgeting tool here to create their own budgets.
Slide 27, please.
OK, a little more extensive than the short videos, there's Credit, which is an hour and a half long course, and it helps students understand the cost of credit, how to build credit to learn about why we use credit. And it also gives guidance around loan terms, interest rates, and other pertinent information around credit. And it's very entertaining.
So now back to Scott who will talk about the economic modules and give more instruction on how to use those tools.
Mike Vander Velde: OK, so before we go back to Scott, let me go ahead and ask a question that just came in. So it says, I heard the Stock Market Game mentioned. Could you please provide more information on that?
Mary Suiter: Sure. So the Stock Market Game, I believe our question came from someone in North Carolina. And I would suggest that you reach out to the North Carolina Council on Economic Education for information about the Stock Market Game. Or you can contact people at the SIFMA Foundation in New York. We partner with them to develop the videos that complement the Stock Market Game. But the game itself is operated by the SIFMA Foundation, generally through Councils for Economic Education around the country.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. Thank you for that question. Again, quick reminder, just click the Ask Question button in the webinar tool to submit a question to us. For now we're going to go to Slide 28 and Scott.
Scott Wolla: All right, so what you see on the screen right now is one of our economics online modules, online courses. This is GDP and Pizza and this one is a classic, it was our first course, and so one of our most popular courses. And if you teach either high school or AP Economics, it has all those things that you want those students to learn. There's some great click and drags. Students click and drag the specific items into the categories, the C plus I plus G and then exports. They learn about trend GDP and per capita GDP. With each of our modules, by the way, there's a pretest. After the pretest, students progress through the content. The content includes videos and checks for knowledge and does some text. And then at the very end of the course the students take the posttest. Then you as a teacher have access to all of that information. And I'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes.
If you go to the next slide.
Many of our courses are say a class period, about 50 minutes, maybe an hour. Some of the longer ones are a little bit longer than an hour. We've actually started to break up some of our longer courses into their chunks so that they're smaller parts. So these are courses that actually are derived from the Time Value of Money course. And so we broke them into these sub-topics so they are actually small lessons. They take about 15 minutes. They each have a pre- and a posttest. But, you know, we have a short little module here on Inflation, and one on Opportunity Costs, Predicting the Future, Paying and Receiving Interest. So these are really easy to fit in really anywhere into your curriculum if you teach economics.
And if you could go to the next one please.
And, of course, the core of all your economics classes is probably supply and demand. And this is a course that really touches on all those things that you want your students to know. Once again, there's a pretest. There's content. There's video. There are checks for knowledge. And then at the end there's a posttest. So one of the things we tried to do in building this course is to build in a lot of click and drag features that allow students to manipulate the supply and demand curves, because we know, and you know this from teaching it, the things students struggle with the most is shifting those curves and to see what happens to price and quantity.
And the next one, please.
I'm going to take a few minutes and talk to you, and show you really, the instructor management panel, so you have a little comfort with how this works. So we have been telling you about some of our modules. We have a much larger collection. But all of them are hooked up to the instructor management panel, which allows you to assign the modules to students and then to also get information and data on their progress and their assessment scores.
And so once again you would start here on our Econ Lowdown page. You as the teacher would click the red apple. And when you click that apple you would go to the next slide or the next image, which is the, kind of the login portal. And so this kind of serves two purposes. If you don't have an account, in the bottom left you see the Register button. And when you click that it goes to a very short form that you as the teacher fill out. And after you fill out that form you have an account that you can use to set up your classroom.
Once you have your classroom set, you log in with your user name, which is your email address, a password that in its first rendition is generated by the system, but then you can change it to something that's more easy for you to remember over time. And when you click Submit you enter into the instructor management panel.
That's the next slide.
From this panel you can enroll students. If you have 150 students this semester in econ you can register 150 and the system will generate 150 unique user names and passwords. So each of your students will register or will log in under their unique user codes. You can track student progress. And then, of course, you can access pretest and posttest scores to use in whichever way that you decide to use it in your classroom. You can use it as an assignment or just to check on how they're doing.
The screenshot there kind of shows you a little bit of what it looks like. And there's always kind of a nice quirky little greeting there for you as a teacher. But then at the bottom you see all those useful buttons about, you know, go to My Classrooms, you view the courses, you view the Q&A, or we also have online professional development with graduate credit as an option if you're interested in that as well.
And the next slide, please.
This next slide actually shows you as a teacher how to check up on your student progress. And so this is that fictional classroom that you saw before, only this is the view for the online modules. And you see the students there. You see the progress. You can track specifically how far along they are. You can see their pre- and posttest scores. Actually, if you click on the student's name you actually get information about what was the last page that they saw in one of those courses. And so it gives you some really precise information as far as your student progress goes.
A couple of other really helpful links up there in the right hand corner, you can change your password. And along the left hand side for this class, Intro to Economics, you see all the courses and modules that these students are actually assigned to. So the functionality of the Instructor Management Panel is actually really easy to use, pretty intuitive, and if you have questions we're just an email away.
Now you might be thinking, "How do I get this information to my students?" And that's actually on the next slide. There are two ways to do this. You could actually print out a form, a Word document and print it out and give your students this hard copy with all this information. Or you could email it to students. So if your school has student email accounts you fill in the email account and you send it to them. And this is what it looks like when they receive it. The nice thing about the email, of course, it's paperless, but also the student login is a hyperlink, so they click that link. It takes them directly to the right page and then they enter their student code and they progress from there.
When they click that hyperlink it actually looks like the next slide. And this looks similar to, but it's a little bit different than, the teacher portal. But the student puts their user name and their password into their rightful spots. And when they click Submit, they also have a portal, which is the next slide.
And their portal, this is Corey Inflation, the student that we keep coming back to. You see the student named Corey, the class is Intro to Economics. The teacher is Mr. Wolla. And so you see all of the assignments that Corey is assigned to. When Corey clicks any of those links he is taken directly to the assignment so he can finish that assignment without finding it, without having difficulty finding it. But then also there's a lot of feedback for students. So each of those assignments has a record of the pretest score, the posttest score and a progress bar. And so not only do you as the teacher have a lot of information about progress, but students can also monitor their own progress.
And with that, I'm going to pass it on to Albert.
Albert Barnor: Thank you very much, Scott. And let's take a look at this slide here. It's Your Paycheck: This curriculum is designed to introduce personal finance content. Course participants learn about a variety of personal finance topics, including the link between education and income, budgeting, the benefits of savings, and credit card reports. These learning modules will help participants make sense of W-2s, W-4s, payday loans, and APRs in an interactive, online format. It's Your Paycheck consists of nine individual programs that can be used together or individually to enhance personal finance learning.
Next slide, please.
This curriculum unit features nine lesson plans that utilize active learning strategies. Each lesson includes all necessary handouts and visuals. It includes PowerPoints, ActivInspire, and Smart Notebook files, which are all available for download on the Econ Lowdown website.
Next slide, please.
This slide on It's Your Paycheck features the online modules that are based on the nine lessons described above or earlier. You can mix and match the paper and online lessons and all the nine online modules are available in Spanish as well.
Next slide, please.
The next slide deals with what we call Cards, Cars and Currency. And it's a set of personal finance lessons that encourages participants to learn about three areas of personal finance, credit cards, debit cards and purchasing a car. Cards, Cards and Currency includes five individual lessons that can be used together or individually to enhance personal finance lessons.
Next slide, please.
Still on Cards, Cars and Currency. This curriculum unit features five lesson plans that utilize active learning strategies. Each lesson includes all necessary handouts and visuals. Again, we do have it in PowerPoint, Active Inspire and Smart Notebook files, which are all available for download on the Econ Lowdown website.
This slide on Cards, Cars and Currency also features the online modules that are based on the five lessons described above, earlier. Here again you can mix and match the paper and online lessons. And, again, the five online modules are available in Spanish.
And I will hand over to my colleague in St. Louis, Scott.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, so we're going to jump in and do another poll here. So in a moment you're going to see that pop on your screen. Just one second. We're going to put up a different poll here. We did get the one we're going to find later. But here we go, what are advantages of using the instructor management panel? So what are those advantages? Are they assigning students to multiple videos and courses at one time? Or tracking student progress? Or access and download pre- and posttest scores? Or the always fun, "all of the above" answer. So let me just give you a few moments to look those over and make your selection. And what we're going to do is close those down and share the results with you. So I think I've stalled enough. We're going to go ahead and stop that poll and share the results. And the drumroll says, D, all of the above, which I'm guessing is right, 95 percent of you. So, yeah, what do we think of that, Mary?
Mary Suiter: I think that's great because that's exactly right. You can track—you can do all of those things using the instructor management panel. And I'll just point out that if you do that you're not alone. In 2014 we had 541,000 student enrollments from 50 states in the United States as well as Canada, England, Mexico and Lithuania. So we have a lot of people using these courses and videos. And I checked our stats the other day and as of September 25th we were nearly to 500,000 enrollments for this year. So I think we'll surpass our 541,000 in 2014.
The last thing that we wanted to mention to you are things that we have coming, coming up soon. And in terms of online courses, as mentioned earlier, we have the Ella course. And that, of course, deals with decision making, which is relevant for many disciplines that might be introduced in the school curriculum or at home. And we have two new courses coming out there, Ella Saves Today and Give Ella Credit. And then on the economics side, in terms of online courses we have a course on economic growth, which should be out some time in October. We have one coming on government budgets, which should be in time for the election cycle that's coming soon. We have one coming out on aggregate supply and demand as well.
If we could switch to the next slide.
Regarding videos, we have some new videos coming out as well. The Econ Lowdown video series. We have a video on production possibilities. For No-Frills Money Skills, we have one coming out on insurance. And that's one of three insurance videos we'll be adding to No-Frills Money Skills. The continuing education series, which features right now the FICO credit score video, we will be adding a college choice video there. And then we have two new podcasts coming out in the Economic Lowdown podcast series. And those are on public goods and one on the business cycle.
And then if you could move to Slide 46.
If you visit our website, if you recall I mentioned you had an opportunity to subscribe. You can subscribe to receive email alerts about new materials that are available. You can subscribe to receive our monthly newsletter, which will give you information about not only new materials but new lessons and events and other things that are happening with Econ Lowdown.
If you could move to the next slide, please.
You also can find us on social media. So we would really love it if you could like us on Facebook. That's Econ Lowdown, if you could like Econ Lowdown on Facebook. Or if you could follow Econ Lowdown on Twitter, that would be fabulous.
And then I'll just remind you with the last slide, if I could, that all of these resources are available free on the Econ Lowdown website. And that's Stlouisfed.org/education. And then we'd be happy to take any questions.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, so first let me remind you on those questions, you click that Ask Question button, you type one in there. We will ask it here live. But before we do that, we're going to actually take our third poll here and then give you opportunities to submit those questions. So let's go ahead and push that out. It says in 2014 student enrollments in Econ Lowdown courses and videos were, and the magic numbers are 541, but was it 541, 5410, 54,100 or 541,000? A, B, C or D there. So go ahead and look those over. And see if any of those numbers catches or rings a bell in your mind on what was just covered moments ago.
So let's give you just a few more seconds. And we will stop that poll and share the answers. So total registrations, enrollments in Econ Lowdown courses and videos were, 65 percent of you saying 541,000. So that, I believe, is correct. So nice job on that. And we're going to go ahead and close that poll. And we're going to jump to some questions.
All right. So the first question says here, "Can you limit them to classroom time only? I would not want them to work from home."
Mary Suiter: OK, so this is Mary in St. Louis. And, actually, it's set up so that students can work from wherever they have access to a computer. So I don't think there's a way for you to limit them to working only in school or only in class on these programs.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, thank you for that question. The next one says, "Are the modules able to be sorted by grade level targeted?"
Mary Suiter: So on our website, if you go to Econ Lowdown, you can sort all of the materials by elementary, middle, high and college and general audiences. So when you do that only those things that would be appropriate for, elementary, for example, would appear. And so you'd have an idea of what courses and videos are appropriate for those grade levels.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. Thank you for that. The next question says, "Is there a menu page that includes subject, grade level targeted and duration of the video?"
Scott Wolla: So in a similar way to what Mary was describing, when you search on our website you can sort by personal finance or economics. You can sort by elementary, middle or high school. And when you sort that way, you will kind of, your results will be different based on the filters that you use. So I could tell you right now that Explore Economics is elementary or middle. That No-Frills Money Skills, Econ Lowdown Video Series Education and the Personal Finance 101 videos are all high school. Some of them are personal finance like No-Frills Money Skills. And some of them are economics, which are the Feducation, the Continuing Feducation and then also the Econ Lowdown videos.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. So again, let me remind you, if you click that Ask Question button within the webinar tool you can type a question to us there. This next question says, "Are there certain computer requirements in order to use the material such as Windows 8, etc.?"
Scott Wolla: You know, there aren't, because it's all browser-based. So there's no software that you need to download. You just use, you know, Firefox or Chrome, Explorer, Safari, whichever browser that your computer is set up for. And as long as you have a browser and an Internet connection you can access all of these materials.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. Thank you for those questions. And another question, this is a common one for us is, "How much do these programs cost?" And I think we can reiterate this as often as we would like and people love the answer. And that answer is... ?
Mary Suiter: These materials are free for anyone to use, download anywhere.
Mike Vander Velde: Awesome. Free. Free is a great price. I love it. All right. The next question says, "Do I need to download software to use these materials?"
Scott Wolla: And once again, no, you don't need to download anything, as long as you have an Internet browser and an Internet connection you can access all of this.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. And another one here says, "Do you collect personal information from me or from my students?"
Mary Suiter: When an instructor registers they provide their name, their school, school address. We need an email. And then we ask information about what subject do you teach and the demographics of your school. And we ask those for reporting purposes. We have to report our interaction with schools that are minority or free and reduced lunch schools. We collect no personal information about students whatsoever. We do not retain their email addresses and we collect no information about anything. If you put in their name and initials, you have that, but we have the student by code, student code, and that's what we have on them. So.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. This question says, "Can a student get into my teacher account?"
Mary Suiter: No. A student can't get into your teacher account.
Mike Vander Velde: OK. So that's a good question. And let me clear that one out and see if we have any others at this time. So it doesn't look like we do. So let me just give a moment here to see if someone might be typing one in. We do have a good 15 minutes left in the scheduled time for this call and we want to make sure we give you an opportunity to ask any questions that you may have at this moment.
While I'm waiting for that, let me just see there are any other final thoughts that any of our presenters would like to share today.
Mary Suiter: I would just point out, Scott did mention this, but if you use the system and you have any questions or if you have any questions about using it before you start, there is an email address out there that you can get in touch with us and we track that on a daily basis and respond to people. So if you have questions, please contact us. I believe within the PowerPoint presentation, which you're looking at, information about each presenter is available. So you can reach out to Albert or Dawn or Scott or myself. Do you have anything you wanted to add?
Scott Wolla: No, just that if you are in the St. Louis area or in the Boston area, make sure you check our events page. And we do host workshops for teachers in a variety of functions here at the St. Louis Fed. And I'm sure Boston provides opportunities for teachers and the general public as well. So make sure you check us out and to come visit us at the St. Louis Fed.
Mary Suiter: Albert and Dawn, would you like to add anything?
Albert Barnor: Yes. For our participants here in the district, our phone number should be out there. And you can reach out to us as well for any additional material or information that you might need on the financial literacy programs and economics if you are a teacher in this area. That's it.
Dawn Hicks: And also, this is Dawn, I just want to reiterate that these, this tool is practically universal. It applies to, as Mary stated, and we all have as well, K through 16, so whether you're elementary level on up to high school level, college level. But the general public as well. The general consumer can benefit from this tool. And that's all I need to say. Thank you.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, thank you for that. And during that time we did get a few questions in so let me go to those right now. It says, "I am not a teacher, though I do go into middle schools to run workshops on financial awareness. Will I be able to register for an account without answering the school information section?"
Mary Suiter: Yes, you will. You can put in, I mean, if you have a company or, you know, you can put that in as the name and place of the school, or you can put N/A. And you can put in response to the demographic questions you can put, "I don't know." And so that should allow you to go ahead and set up an account. And we do have community groups that use this. We have sponsors who enroll groups of young adults in after school programs or adults in community programs and assign them to classrooms and to materials. So it can be used in that way.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. Great question. Thank you. Another one here says, "Do all the Federal Reserve branches use the same educational programs or do they offer different things? I would like to know which other sites would be helpful to check for resources."
Mary Suiter: So, no, all of the banks have a variety of materials available. And if you view, if you go to federalreserveeducation.org, and that's all strung together, federalreserveeducation.org, you can access all of the materials that are available from all of us throughout the country, they are usually there.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. And the last question for now says, "How long has this program been available to teachers?
Mary Suiter: We put our first online course, which was GDP and Pizza, made that available in 2010. And we have been adding courses and videos, podcasts and other materials ever since.
Mike Vander Velde: All right, very good. So let me just do a quick refresh here. And a little over 10 minutes left in our schedule time. But if there are no other questions we will wrap up. But let me just—I don't want to cut anyone off. So I'm just looking to see if anyone is typing in on the refresh maybe five more times here. Let me see if we get anything. And it doesn't look like it.
So, all right, we are going to give you a little bit of time back in your day. I really do appreciate you joining us today, and a special thank you to our presenters for their time. With that said, have a great day, everyone. We'll catch you next time.
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