7 Billion Channels Case Study #13 – Channeling Teens Challenge Educational Arc

I’m watching the mortgage fiasco nationwide, wondering why people want a refund/break when they are the ones who signed up for the loans. Does living within ones means mean anything anymore? I am afraid that too many people are “simulating” reality with credit and easy borrowing. It all doesn’t seem real until the default starts happening and the simulation becomes a reality. The risk is real rather than a concept.

Then I read this:

“For some reason, in our country there’s this weird idea that you need to be 18 in order to make any kind of serious money. So until then, many kids decide to sit around and do a whole lot of nothing. I know this because that’s how I used to be.”

That quote comes from the home page of Dallas Crilley. He has collected stories about teens who’ve made a fortune running their own business. Entrepreneurs at a young age who’ve applied themselves. He’s written an eBook about these teens and is selling it online. He also has a forum where he subscribers can share stories, learn from their mistakes and come up with ideas. He is 15. These ideas are not simulations

Back in the days of CDROM, I was creative director of a company which produced educational software for the k-8 school market. One of the titles our team developed was called Hot Dog Stand: The Works

It was a business simulation where the user ran a hot dog stand at a stadium. The events at the stadium varied from Rock Concerts to Soccer to Football games. The weather changed constantly, the supplier’s trucks would break down, the refrigerator would lose power, etc. Acts of God were built into the programming. The user had to balance a ledger, guess about crowd preferences, place orders from wholesalers, etc. Once all the parameters were set and all the variable were taken into account, the player would hit the “Open for Business” button and the whole event would rattle by in a moment and then the player would know how well he/she had done in approximating the impact of externals on business for the day.

This was a very popular title amongst teachers. A business simulation with educational assessment built in.  It taught real life lessons. Or so it seemed.

Ten years later, kids are doing this virtually on-line, with REAL cash for a REAL audience or raving fans.  Instead of treating the “expectional” entrepreneur teens as a fluke, we need to embrace and learn from what they know.  Otherwise, many lives will be simulated later as adults. Why not include actual business development in the educational arc of our kids? Our institutions seem to be locked in simulation mode when many of the students they serve are doing it for real. Today too many adults seem to be the best simulators of reality.  Acts of God, or of banks, can and will ruin a great simulation.


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