Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spent

Spent is a very engaging simulation that allows kids to find answers to the questions: What’s it like to live on a working-class budget? Could you make it to the end of the month on an entry-level hourly wage? 

Spent starts out with selecting a job: restaurant server, warehouse laborer, or temporary worker.  The simulation takes the student through a month, day-by-day, asking them to make various decisions about their work, family, and personal life.  Spent shows how those decisions lead to other decisions, etc., and how the monthly wages are spent as a result.  Once a decision is made, there is no "Back button”.  Hey kids, that’s LIFE!

image

imageSpent is a simulation sponsored by the Urban Ministries of Durham (North Carolina), a non-profit charitable organization that helps the homeless and provides food, clothing, shelter, and other assistance to its clients in need. 

The Down-Side

This is an incredible resource for the middle or high school classroom!  The only down-side I found was due to our school district’s local filtering policies.  Some of the decision choices link you to a Facebook account (Ex: Hold a yard sale or Ask a friend to store things for you, etc.), which is blocked in our schools, to show the difficulties one might have in finding such assistance.  Therefore I was unable to look into these avenues in more detail, and these would be inaccessible in our classrooms as well.  However, simply closing the pop-up window allows the user to continue on in the simulation

The Verdict

Not only is Spent a nice simulation to show the need for social services like those provided by the Urban Ministries of Durham, it is a great simulation for anyone who teaches kids life skills, budgeting/economics, family living, vocational skills, or basic business concepts.  I would highly recommend it to teachers, even with the Facebook links & resulting filtering problems, as this is a very valuable simulation for kids in our nation’s classrooms.

This link was posted on the iLearn Technology Blog.

ILT

iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Spent: Social Justice Simulation

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