The Economic Lowdown
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson August 07, 2017
UD master’s degree students meet with experts, learn about economic education tools
Leaders in economic education technology Diego Mendez-Carbajo and Mary Suiter visited the University of Delaware this summer to help K-12 teachers access helpful and innovative classroom resources.
Carbajo and Suiter instructed the teachers, who are current students in the UD Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship (CEEE)’s master’s degree program, on proven learning methods for the classroom.
Suiter is the assistant vice president of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She is also an ’89 graduate of the CEEE’s Master of Arts in Economics & Entrepreneurship for Educators (MAEEE) program. She presented the current cohort with free resources provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in order to help teachers engage and teach K-12 economics more effectively.
Suiter reviewed how teachers can utilize the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’s free website, called Econ Lowdown at econlowdown.org, where students can watch videos to help them grasp economic concepts such as The Great Depression, inflation and much more.
Teachers can also track students’ progress in learning concepts by using the pre-/post-tests provided through the website, assign video coursework as a supplement to materials learned in class and test themselves as they need to.
During the presentation, Suiter stressed how Econ Lowdown is designed to work within students’ needs.
“We’d like [the courses] to be done in a semester, but this is a rolling course for us,” Suiter said. “If you’ve got a student who isn’t finished and needs to extend, [they can] finish in the next semester with no penalty.”
Diego Mendez-Carbajo, professor of economics at Illinois Wesleyan University, presented on an analytical database created by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis as a tool to help K-12 teachers teach economics.
The Federal Reserve Economic Database, a free tool known as FRED, is a “large statistical aggregator,” Mendez-Carbajo said. FRED allows users to plot and manipulate data points according to various situations, such as gasoline prices and demand.
During his presentation, Mendez-Carbajo instructed teachers on how to use FRED and how to best implement it in the classroom.
“Teaching and learning economics using real data is a type of ‘active learning’ pedagogical strategy that increases student engagement with the course material,” Mendez-Carbajo said. “Studies show that active learning pedagogical strategies increase student retention and contribute to higher course grades.”
By using an interactive program, Mendez-Carbajo said, teachers can show their students how data intersects with economics and improve their overall learning.