Tech Tool Review: MyKidsBank.org
Teachers who attend our Summer Institute in Palo Alto become NGPF Fellows the following school year -- this Fellowship includes presenting with us at PD sessions, offering NGPF feedback on products, writing guest blog posts, ... the list goes on. Today features a Tech Tool Review from Jill Wilson of Glenwood Springs High School in Glenwood Springs, CO. Here's what Jill has to say...
Tech Tool: MyKidsBank.org (Artificial online, electronic banking tool)
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Mykidsbank.org is an artificial virtual online bank that can be used by educators to teach students how to do online banking. Either teachers or students can operate as the Banker to open bank accounts where students can directly deposit money, make automatic transfers to various accounts, or make automatic deposits and withdrawals. Accounts can be setup to have interest postings, automatic weekly deposits, like payroll, and other transaction privileges. The “Banker” may also generate “Banknotes” which can be redeemed by the account holder independently, online. There is also a way for the Banker to create Bank Teller accounts so other students can assist the Banker. Mykidsbank.org is all on-line so downloading software isn’t necessary. Each online bank can accommodate 1,000 account holders, 20 Tellers and one Banker. Students can access their bank accounts from anywhere using any device that can access the Internet.
The easiest way to get started is to create the bank on the Mykidsbank.org using your name, email address and password of your choice. Create a Google Form for your students to fill out to easily collect their names, usernames, passwords of their choice. Use the Google form to create a spreadsheet. Download the spreadsheet as a .csv and import it into Mykidsbank.org. Follow directions on their website. (You can also enter usernames and passwords individually.) There are tutorials on YouTube to assist you in setting up Mykidsbank.org if needed.
Pitfalls to Avoid:
It’s wise to keep a list of the students’ usernames and passwords. As with any online program, some students are likely to forget their information. If you set up accounts for students to send automatic payments to, consider naming them “01 Rent” or “02 Utilities.” Otherwise, when those accounts will mix in with all the other accounts. They will be listed alphabetically. So when students automatically transfer funds to an account they may mistakenly transfer money to the first account that pops up on their screen. That account will likely be the student in your class whose name starts with the first letter in the alphabet (A), since all the bank accounts appear in alphabetical order. To solve this problem, when you set up payment accounts, number them as stated above, 01, 02, 03..., then the name of the account. What this does is put the payment accounts at the top of the list of accounts and keeps them separate from the other accounts. Students are more likely to see them at the top of their screens.
The Mykidsbank.org can be used solely to instruct students on the basics of online banking, however I have found this resource to be very useful in my classroom economy. My students are given classroom jobs where their biweekly paychecks are automatically deposited into their Mykidsbank.org account. From that account they must pay rent (for their desk), insurance (for their desk), utilities (for electricity). They are given the Mykidsbank.org “bank notes” in denominations of $50-$100 for turning in assignments, getting A’s/B’s on assessments, attending regularly, as well as asking and answering difficult questions on the spot in class. Over the course of the semester we hold auctions with the classroom economy money which requires students to budget the money in their online accounts to make sure they can pay their bills and still bid on auction items. I have found that students are more than willing to learn the in’s and out’s of a banking account when they put their money (even if it’s fake money) to use in a “real” economy.
About the Author
After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!
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