How Nine-Year-Olds Transform Into Financial Professionals

How Nine-Year-Olds Transform Into Financial Professionals

The Austrian National Bank introduced a new Learning app named “Meiki” this week. The app, featuring a flying piggy bank, is designed to encourage children aged between nine and twelve to learn about money management and financial understanding. The app covers a range of topics from conscious spending to inflation. Maximilian Estl, project manager in the financial education team at OeNB, discusses how the app works and its potential application in the classroom.

DELIVERY MAN: The Austrian National Bank’s latest app, “Meiki”, was launched this week. The app, featuring a flying piggy bank, aims to teach nine to twelve year olds money management. Is that an easy task?

Maximilian Estl: Children interact with money daily, whether it’s pocket money or buying snacks at school. Moreover, many children in this age group already use smartphones. Our objective was to merge these two elements by creating an engaging app that is both enjoyable and informative.

Is it also important to learn how to handle physical cash?

Yes, it’s crucial to understand the tactile experience of physical transactions – giving something away and receiving goods in return. This exchange isn’t evident in an entirely digital format. This is where our app steps in, encouraging children to save physically. The app allows users to set a savings goal and track their progress.

How should children interact with the app, which is structured around missions?

This is entirely up to the child. They can play one educational game, which could take a few minutes, or many at once. Some children may complete the app as quickly as possible, while others might use it in conjunction with their lessons, with teachers assigning missions that correlate with classroom topics.

How long does it take to finish the app?

Some children have finished it in a week or two, but the plan is for the app to be used over five to ten weeks.

What are your expectations for app downloads?

We are hoping for 10,000 downloads in the first year. Simultaneously, we’re considering ways to target teachers and parents more effectively, potentially starting this fall.

What should children have learned by the time they finish the app?

The app’s content is aligned with the competency goals of the new curriculum introduced last year. This includes geography and economic education subjects in elementary school and the first two grades of middle school. The topics range from desires, conscious consumption, and money counting, to managing income and expenses, household budgets, payment methods, and inflation.

How much financial knowledge do children get at home?

Due to data protection reasons, we don’t have direct contact with the children. Our app is completely secure and doesn’t require any personal information. Because of this, we can’t ask them directly, but through our workshops with school classes and parent association lectures, we can get an idea of their interests and strengths.

Can the app be used collectively? Can a class play together?

We have a feature called Class High Score. Teachers request a code from us, and each child who enters this code can see the same high score. They only see each other’s nicknames and can challenge each other. This feature allows the teacher to track the progress of each student.

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