April is National Financial Literacy Month, a good time for the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to remind teachers and others of the many educational resources it has offered for years, first on paper and now online, too, all at no charge.
In 2011, the St. Louis Fed began providing economic and financial education materials online for use in the full range of classrooms—from kindergarten through college. That year, Bank economic education staff developed 23 online courses. Today, the Bank has 43 online courses (17 of which are available in Spanish), 70 videos and 123 lessons. Many lessons have complementary activities for interactive whiteboards.
The subject matter includes personal finance topics, such as credit, budgeting and saving; also covered are economic topics, such as supply and demand, opportunity cost, comparative advantage, and present value. The online courses allow teachers to enroll their students, who can then take the pre- and post-tests and receive grades from the program. This system allows teachers to track student progress and address any areas of concern.
The Bank's educational materials are specifically designed to be used in economics, personal finance, history, civics, mathematics or language arts classes and are aligned with national standards in those fields. All materials also align with the Common Core State Standards. All materials are free.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis also cooperates with the Federal Reserve banks of Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia to administer an online professional development program for educators. This program allows teachers, at their convenience, to receive continuing education credit, Federal Reserve certification or graduate credit for five topics: inflation, unemployment, gross domestic product, monetary policy and money. The St. Louis Fed also offers free, face-to-face professional development for educators within its District.
The data below show growth in the use of the St. Louis Fed's free online resources from 2013 to 2014.
|Enrollments in Online Courses||327,227||540,948||65|
|Pageviews of Education Websites||4,423,965||7,544,677||71|
|Visits to Education Websites||543,930||916,467||68|
|Downloads of Educational Materials||304,585||334,504||10|
The St. Louis Fed's efforts to teach others about personal finance and economics have received many accolades. Last month, the St. Louis Fed was chosen by the Institute for Financial Literacy as its Organization of the Year in its EIFLE awards (Excellence In Financial Literacy Education).
Besides teachers, students and the general public are welcome to use the Bank's educational resources on personal finance and economics. Many are designed for parents and their children to use together. To get started, go to www.stlouisfed.org/education.
Meanwhile, the Bank has a new educational resource on site that is open to one and all: the Inside the EconomyTM Museum. Located inside the Bank, in downtown St. Louis, the museum features nearly 100 exhibits, games, sculptures and videos. In a fun and interactive way, visitors learn how the economy works. For hours and more information, see stlouisfed.org/economymuseum.