Some Seattle-area high school students have a new app on their
mobile devices, created to help teenagers better understand how to
manage their personal finances. Seattle's Slalom Consulting has
partnered with BECU to develop a custom gamification application,
which uses games to create entertaining experiences for learning,
training, and business activities.
BECU, Washington's largest community credit union, is leading an
effort to find new and innovative ways to enrich financial literacy
education in schools. BECU strives to empower young people with
financial knowledge in order to better prepare them for their
future. BECU engaged Slalom to develop a financial literacy
application for the classroom via PC, smartphones, and tablet
computers for students across Seattle.
Slalom customized its own mLevel game, hosted on the Microsoft
Windows Azure cloud platform, to gamify financial literacy lessons.
With BECU, they developed three games:"Banking 101," "Car-Buying
Basics," and "Give Me Some Credit" that augment the learning
experience and reinforce the importance of making responsible
financial decisions. With the app or website, students are able to
demonstrate their prowess in the personal finance arena, applying
the knowledge they gain in the classroom to compete with peers. The
students are encouraged to continue to play all of the games
outside of the classroom to improve their personal score. A leader
board aggregates scores across the nine participating classrooms
from four area schools.
The app can be downloaded to a range of devices, including the
Windows Phone, iOS, and Android platforms. A web-based version is
also available for use on personal computers. Each 90-second game
contains 30 true/false and multiple-choice questions where students
earn points for each correctly answered question.
"The BECU mLevel Challenge combines two topics that are
meaningful to many high school students: competition and
smartphones," noted Slalom Consulting Practice Area Lead Justin
Jarrett. "Students love to compete and, as many parents know, they
spend a lot of time with their smartphones. Slalom is gratified to
be able to combine our technology expertise with the financial
education experience of our partner, BECU, to help improve the
financial literacy of students."
A survey by Capital One found that 45 percent of high school
graduates are unsure or unprepared to manage their own banking and
personal finances. A National Endowment for Financial Education
study discovered that only 12 percent of K-12 teachers have taken a
workshop on teaching personal finance. The app from BECU and
Slalom, combined with lessons taught in the classroom by BECU
educators, is designed to help teachers bridge that gap.
"Our goal with our financial education efforts is to help
individuals make more informed financial decisions," said BECU
Senior Vice President of Member Strategies Tom Berquist. "By using
technology that students are comfortable with and adding an element
of competition to make it fun, we see this app as a unique and
innovative way to engage high school students on the subject of
The BECU mLevel Challenge games are being piloted in several
Seattle-area high schools over the next two weeks. Given a
successful pilot, the program will be rolled out to more Puget
Sound-area schools in the fall. Slalom and BECU will analyze
metrics and document the lessons learned from students, teachers,
and administrators using the app to enhance the game for the coming
Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, BECU is a
not-for-profit credit union owned by the members. Profits are
returned to the members in the form of better rates and fewer fees.
With more than 750,000 members and more than $10.0 billion in
assets, BECU is the largest credit union in Washington and one of
the top five financial cooperatives in the country. BECU currently
operates over 40 locations in the Puget Sound region. All
Washington state residents are eligible to join.