The FinÉcoLab: an economic education simulation

The Center interuniversitaire de recherche en analyze des organizations (CIRANO) offers free interactive educational experiences in economic literacy, to be enjoyed on a computer or tablet, intended for secondary 5 and CEGEP classes.

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The Center interuniversitaire de recherche en analyze des organizations (CIRANO) offers free interactive educational experiences in economic literacy, to be enjoyed on a computer or tablet, intended for classes of 5e secondary and CEGEP.

The economy is part of our daily life. Basic knowledge in this area is essential to understand the world in which we live and to hope to be able to participate actively and in an informed way in civic life. Often, economic concepts are abstract for young people. Teachers find that they have uneven prior knowledge on this subject. The schools offering the course of economic education therefore aim to educate them about their next role as citizens in a world whose economic cogs have an impact on their daily life. So we are talking about economic literacy here.

This is why the CIRANO (Interuniversity Research Center in Organizational Analysis) offers the site FinEcoLab, an experiential approach to discover the economy, which involves students in interactive educational experiences to be lived on a computer or electronic tablet. These are not simple games, but meaningful educational activities that transform the class into a laboratory in which the pupil plays a main role: his own! It is particularly aimed at 5e secondary and cégépiens.

In the FinÉcoLab, you have to make simple economic decisions such as selling a good, saving in order to be able to face urgent expenses, take out insurance to face the risk of accident, participate in the financing of a collective good, etc. The results of the class, obtained in real time, are then used as a basis for the teacher to discuss with the students and explore the concepts under study.

By the way, the FinÉcoLab corresponds to the guiding aims of the Quebec school, because it allows the student to get to know himself better, to make the decisions that he considers the best for his own future. It better understands the concepts discovered in a meaningful context and integrates them in a lasting way. It is, in a way, a learning by experience and by action which makes it possible to make concrete realities which, too often, seem theoretical.

The lessons are therefore more lively and the students are more interested and motivated. The FinÉcoLab is free, completely turnkey, and easy to use. At present, a little more than twenty schools are implementing this program in their courses.

To find out more, we can watch a video which presents the site.



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About the Author

Marc-André Girard
Marc-André Girard holds a bachelor's degree in humanities education (1999), a master's degree in history teaching (2003) and a master's degree in educational management (2013). He is currently a doctoral student in school administration. He specializes in change management in schools as well as in educational leadership. He is also interested in 21st century skills to be developed in education. He holds a managerial position in a public primary school and gives lectures on educational leadership, pedagogical approaches, change in the school environment as well as on the professionalization of teaching. He took part in educational expeditions to France, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Morocco. In September 2014, he published the book “Le change en milieu scolaire québécois” with Éditions Reynald Goulet and, in 2019, he published a trilogy on the school of the 21st century with the same publisher. He frequently collaborates with L'École branchée on educational issues. He is very involved in everything that surrounds the professional development of teachers and school administrators as well as the integration of ICT in education. In March 2016, he received a CHAPO award from AQUOPS for his overall involvement.

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