Investment opportunities are always changing, and it’s important for young people to be aware of them and how they work. Knowledge is especially important given the speed and ease with which people can invest – it only takes seconds to transfer money into an investment app and then purchase a bond, stock, option, cryptocurrency, or NFT. This means you can get rich quickly…or quickly lose it all! Fortunately, parents know the dangers of not understanding new investment options. According to new survey data, 64 percent of parents want personal finance curriculum in high school to include teachings about cryptocurrency, with a significant percentage also wanting teachers to inform students about blockchain technology, the metaverse, and NFT (non-fungible tokens).
Additionally, recent news reveals that two-thirds of college graduates think cryptocurrency education should be part of the curricula.
Schools Teaching About Crypto
With up to a third of Americans owning at least some crypto, it is undoubtedly important for teenagers to learn what this investment is before purchasing it. While only a handful of high schools have begun including crypto in their personal financial literacy courses, several colleges and universities have done so. Globally, the list of universities with high-quality courses about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is considerably larger!
In Georgia, a bill in the state House of Representatives has added crypto to the list of required units in personal financial literacy classes. Overseas, France has added crypto to its list of financial literacy units. While there is a definite trend of more schools and education governing bodies jumping on the crypto/blockchain train, progress has been relatively slow. Some limits to teaching high schoolers about cryptocurrency, blockchain, NFTs, and the metaverse likely include their complexity compared to other investments.
Quality Curricula Need to be Developed for New Investments
One struggle to add new investment opportunities to the personal financial literacy curriculum is that many students already struggle with the existing material. If many Americans still do not understand hedge funds, should we go ahead and add Bitcoin? The answer is yes. Because individuals can easily invest in cryptocurrency using only their smartphones, adding this new investment option to the curriculum next to stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, and CDs from banks is necessary. Although it is also important for people to understand the definition of hedge funds and other investment organizations, it is more important for people to understand the things they will likely purchase from their phones or laptops.
Fortunately, a growing body of education resources helps provide high school teachers with ways to explain complex topics like blockchain and NFTs to teenagers. There are many easy-to-read articles and infographics about crypto, blockchain, and NFTs. For high school students, animated explanatory videos are likely a good primary resource. Short videos of four to eight minutes in length from reputable sources like educational institutions, journalists, and government agencies are excellent introductions to this complex material. On YouTube, explanatory videos about NFTs, crypto, and the metaverse can be found in resources like the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, and CNBC, respectively.
Of course, teachers should watch these videos first to ensure that they are school-appropriate and primarily cover the facts rather than creators’ opinions. If one YouTube channel from a reputable source has a good video about cryptocurrency, chances are they also have ones about blockchain and NFTs! Because these financial concepts are relatively new and complex, teachers need to preview all material before showing or distributing it – some may be confusing!