Jan 18, 2016

NGPF Podcast: Brian McFall, Blended Learning Innovator at Washburn Rural HS (Kansas)


Thanks to Brian McFall, Personal Finance and Business Instructor at Washburn Rural High School (KS) for recently joining the NGPF podcast to discuss his blended learning curriculum and the student-run coffee shop at his school.

Brian shares his insights and answers the following questions that may be on the mind of many educators:

  • What are the 21st Century skills that you are developing in your course?
  • What exactly does a blended personal finance course look like from a student perspective?
  • What is the role of the teacher in this new environment?
  • What lessons can students learn from running a coffee shop on campus?

Resources Mentioned:


0:00~0:50 – Introduction
0:50~3:45 – Brian’s Background
3:45~4:40 – Money Conversations in Brian’s household
4:45~5:50 – Washburn Rural HS student body Information and Culture
5:50~7:15 – Brian’s motivation for starting Personal Finance course
7:15~8:00 – Relationship with Washburn University
8:00~9:07 – Financial Aid at Brian’s school/University support
9:07~10:49 – Class Enrollment
10:49~11:37 – Deciding on class topics
11:37~12:38 – Competency examples/21st Century skills
12:38~14:20 – Blended Learning curriculum
14:20- 17:23 – Day in the life of his students
17:23~18:50 – Classroom pace
18:50~21:14– Online learning tools and resources
21:14~22:25 – Teaching techniques
22:25~26:02 – Favorite activity
26:02~27:30 – Lessons that Brian has learned after one semester
27:30~29:27 – Teacher role in blended learning classroom
29:27~35:28 – Student-run coffee shop
35:28~36:17 – Student learned lessons
36:17~37:33 – Inspiration from other schools
37:33~38:03 – Nutritional guidelines for coffee shop
38:03~38:57 – Brian’s blended learning pitch to educators
38:57~40:20 – Resources that work for blended learning
40:20~40:51 – Outro

Notable Quotables

  • On his favorite activity: “I found some activities where students could take a personality/investor risk quiz and at the end it told them what type of investor they would be from conservative to aggressive. Some of the students were very surprised at what type of investor they would be.”
  • Investment advice he gives students: “I am a strong believer in being an aggressive investor when your young. I tell the kids, “you can afford to take risk.”
  • On teaching in blended environment: “I have learned to constantly monitor my students to see where they are at and then provide instruction and any kind of scaffolding when I can.”
  • The student-run coffee shop: “The students are responsible for making the lattes and the smoothies and developing new products. They are responsible for its success or failure…The students get paid one drink per shift and class credits.”
  • On the coffee shop profits and how they are used: “Profit wise we make about 20,000 dollars a year. The money goes to paying off the loan and now the money goes to scholarships that business students can apply for…every freshman gets a t-shirt.”

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: