Thursday, March 13, 2008

Serious Games Dealing With Real-World Ethics & Finance

Serious Games engaging pre-college students in Biz simulations

Via: Deloitte & Touche USA LLP - Virtual Team Challenge for High Schools (VTCHS)Helps Student Learn About Careers in Accounting and Consulting

DELOITTE & TOUCHE USA HAS partnered with BrandGames to bring business education up to speed, with The Virtual Team Challenge for High Schools (VTCHS) Event--an online simulator that lets teens learn business best practices and deal with real-world ethical and financial situations.

On average, students will spend 45 - 90 minutes in the "virtual world". Teachers may allocate time to play during class hours or assign the challenge for homework.

More than 5,500 students from about 100 high schools nationwide are participating in the program, which runs through March 24. Students team up in groups of four to create a mock events planning company, with the goal of hosting a festival to raise money for the United Way. The team that raises the most virtual cash gets to make a real-life donation to the charity, as well as snag a grant for their school. The lesson plan covers four themes--Business, Ethics, Money and Decision-Making--and teachers introduce a new theme at the beginning of each week.

The VTCHS consists of a four-week in-classroom curriculum based on four key professional platforms - Business, Ethics, Money and Decision-Making. The teachers will introduce one of the four content themes at the beginning of each week and the teams will then apply their learning's to the gaming simulation and competition.

Working in teams of four and competing against groups in their class, school and across the country, participants will act as an event production company staging a community festival to raise money for the United Way.

For Deloitte, it's about helping to develop a more qualified talent pool for the business community at large--as well as generate interest in accounting and business consultancy in particular. The VTCHS is part of the global accounting giant's ongoing Pre-College Outreach efforts--programs that "will help us fill our talent pipeline in the years to come," said Stan Smith, national director of Next Generation Initiatives, Deloitte & Touche USA LLP.

Deloitte tapped New York-based BrandGames after doing extensive research on ways to make their business prep programs more effective and relevant to the "video game generation."

The VTCHS platform took almost a year to develop, according to Jim Wexler, executive vice president of marketing at BrandGames, including the integration of the lesson plans, compliance with Deloitte branding, as well as the functionality and actual programming.

"Deloitte had a vision for this--and we've been helping brands and companies use games as part of both their consumer-facing and internal communications for years, so our toolset was a perfect fit."

Wexler added that given Deloitte's wealth of research into the way the under-age-30 generation learns--including their affinity for on-demand media like video games, "it made sense for them to explore how to use this format to make their learning more effective."