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Economic Education at the AEA 2015 Conference

IMG_0820 We were excited to participate in the American Economic Association annual meeting in Boston earlier this month. AIER had the honor of presenting a poster (shown right) at a session of the association’s Committee on Economic Education. The poster described how teachers take what they learned at our summer Teach-the-Teachers Initiative, and used it in their home classrooms. We surveyed students about how they feel about these lessons, and we presented the findings at the conference. We look forward to sharing the results with you soon.

There were many informative posters presented at the session, and I want to mention one that stood out for me. It was a study by Belmont University on how students use social media in learning. Drs. Howard H. Cochran and Marieta V. Velikova expected that college students would embrace any and all forms of social media across the instructional range of tasks. Their surprise was that students preferred a very small number of common social media providers like YouTube and Facebook, and found it useful in only a small segment of their learning. They felt it was helpful in gathering resources and comparing information, but not for sharing results or working in groups. Expanding the use of social media beyond this limit became distracting. The students enjoy having a “taste” of social media within their learning, but not more than that.

It is clear that new approaches to economic education are surfacing in the profession. The challenges exist: We have to deliver an economics curriculum in a useful, hands-on form, through new communication systems.

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