Financial literacy simulation game

The NeighborMood

Nothing really makes a teacher more proud than seeing his/her students succeed and giving back to the community. I taught Hilary Lok at Sha Tin College, English Schools Foundation, in Hong Kong a number of years ago (she graduated from the IB Diploma Programme in 2015). She works at Dot Dot Fire, and developed the highly popular simulation game The NeighborMood. The game is offered to students and schools completely free of charge.

Overview of the game

The NeighborMood is a real-world simulation game that teaches students about consumer life skills, financial literacy, and healthy scepticism (critical thinking skills) through simulated scenarios and realistic consequences. Developing the skills of healthy scepticism helps students to:

  1. Resist impulse purchases
  2. Practice finance
  3. Recognise unethical and manipulate marketing
  4. Avoid marketing and financial scams

Some key features of the game are:

  • 100% free
  • No data selling, advertising (in-game ads), or hidden agendas - this is authenticate CSR in practice
  • Healthy screen time - embedded time limit of 30 minutes per day in the game
  • Transformative - Open-ended simulation, not a gamified quiz training teenagers to perform for extrinsic rewards
  • Trustworthy - The NeighborMood is the first game to be endorsed by the Consumer Federation of America, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.

Some of the accolades received so far include:

  • The first game to be endorsed by Children's Screen Time Action Network (https://screentimenetwork.org/)
  • Great reviews from the press media, including USA Today and Florida Today
  • Used in over 8,000 schools and 13,000 teachers across the USA

Game introduction

The game follows the story of teenager Ali as s/he tackles life and financial decisions such as getting a part-time job, dealing with text scams, planning a party, and so forth. The game is scored on four criteria:

  1. money
  2. the player’s financial savviness
  3. the wellbeing of the community, and
  4. personal well-being

The game helps to contextualise and inform the player's decisions and encourages balance and critical thinking beyond rote learning of certain skills. Through Ali’s story, players are empowered to explore and experience the consequences of these decisions and learn in a safe digital environment (after all, making mistakes is part of the learning process).

About the co-developers

Dot Dot Fire (where Hilary works) is an EdTech start-up founded in Hong Kong that specialises in creating engaging and ethical educational video games for students, families, and classrooms. Visit Dot Dot Fire website here: https://www.dotdotfire.com

The FoolProof Foundation is a US-based NGO and leader in financial literacy and money education. Their curriculum is used by over 8,000 schools in classrooms across the USA. FoolProof also has some teaching guides for the game (with learning objectives and discussion questions) here: https://www.foolproofme.org/neighbormood.

Watch the official trailer for the NeighborMood game here:

Watch and hear what experts and users are saying about the game here:

The NeighborMood is a free, downloadable app on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Chromebook.

Android link: https://tinyurl.com/NeighborMoodAndroid
iOS link: https://tinyurl.com/NeighborMoodiOS

If you have any questions about The NeighborMood or require more information for your school, please contact Hilary Lok who would be delighted to hear fom you: hilary@dotdotfire.com

Feeling extremely proud of you, Hilary!

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