Created By: MindBlown Labs
Audience: High school students, educators
Focus: Money and debt management
Big Picture: Students get a crash course in financial responsibility by diving into this colorful and energetic gaming experience. The app is a free download for all iOS and Android devices, or users can play it directly through Thrive ‘n’ Shine’s website. The game lets students customize an avatar, then takes them along a journey through several imaginative landscapes, where they’ll hold jobs, pay bills, budget for emergencies, eventually go to college, and then manage student loans. Educators can track student progress through an online dashboard (including smart alerts for at-risk and accelerated learners), and can use the game in conjunction with in-class lesson plans.
Big Challenge Solved: By leveraging the proven benefits of game-based learning, the experience is poised for success in getting students invested in—and good at—money management and financial planning.
Must-Use: Thrive ‘n’ Shine’s website gives educators sample lesson plans and assessments to use in blending learning between the game and the classroom, as well as a guide on how to make the most of all the ancillary tools.
Most Unique Tool: The Online Dashboard allows educators to monitor students’ progress in the game (which itself is a ten-day mini unit of instruction). “Caution” alerts pop up for struggling students, and “Kudos” alerts show for those breezing through the challenges.
Best Middle-School Student Tool: The financial challenges faced throughout the game are called Quests—they increase in difficulty the further into the game the user gets, which will keep students (who are quite used to sophisticated gaming) engaged and learning the entire time.
Best High-School Student Tool: Built into the game are “mini-games” where students will have to “go to work” and complete a job in order to get paid. How well they do the job earns them 1 to 3 stars, and the stars establish how much money they’ll make.
Protip: Make sure to let students know how much space the app will take up on their phones and tablets—iOS devices need about 150 MB, while Android devices need only around 90 MB.