Next Gen Personal Finance: An Honest Review For High School Teachers
As a business teacher, you know how common it is for students to graduate high school without having a solid grasp on personal finance. Often, your more money-savvy students can figure things out on their own and turn out alright. But for other students, this lack of understanding can lead to critical mistakes that financially cripple them for life.
Concerned teachers like you want the best resources possible to teach your students financial literacy and guide them toward success with their money. And because of our experience in teaching personal finance, many teachers approach AES for our opinion about various resource providers, like Next Gen Personal Finance.
As a business curriculum provider, we have unique insight into financial education, after all, and Next Gen Personal Finance is one of the more prominent organizations in that space.
In this article, we’ll review the ins and outs of Next Gen Personal Finance, exploring answers to some of the most common questions teachers ask about it, including:
- What Is Next Gen Personal Finance?
- What Financial Literacy Topics Does Next Gen Personal Finance Teach?
- What Are the Benefits of Next Gen Personal Finance?
- What Are Some Drawbacks to Next Gen Personal Finance?
- Is Next Gen Personal Finance Right for Your High School Class?
By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what Next Gen Personal Finance is and whether it’s the right fit for your financial literacy class.
1. What Is Next Gen Personal Finance?
Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF) is an online non-profit learning organization created to provide finance and business teachers educational resources to teach their classes.
These resources include games, interactive activities, case studies, projects, and curriculum options and are aimed to help middle school and high school students.
Thousands of teachers across the country use the material NGPF provides either to form the core curriculum of their personal finance classes, or as supplemental resources to reinforce an existing curriculum.
2. What Financial Literacy Topics Does Next Gen Personal Finance Include?
NGPF’s finance lessons are segmented into units, with each unit containing materials like lesson plans, student activities, case studies, and bell ringers.
NGPF’s units cover a wide array of business and personal finance topics. Their finance curriculum is divided into 12 units:
- Types of Credit
- Managing Credit
- Paying for College
- Behavior Economics
- Mini-Units (for miscellaneous topics not large enough to form their own units)
What Do Next Gen Personal Finance’s Units Look Like?
Most of NGPF’s core curriculum material exist as Google docs, which makes each course document easy to obtain and customize depending on the needs of your classroom.
Core curriculum units are often measured by course length, with some units having different versions designed for time frames ranging from 9 weeks to an entire year.
For example, the Managing Credit unit has versions designed for 9 week-long courses, semester-long courses, and year-long courses. This makes it easy for instructors to adopt the course version that most closely aligns with their class length.
Typically, each unit will come with a Unit Plan document to help teachers grasp the course pacing and layout. Also included are lesson guides for each individual lesson, student activity packets, assessment docs, and other activities and games, depending on the unit.
Does Next Gen Personal Finance Have Any Supplemental Resources?
For those looking only for supplemental resources to pad out an existing curriculum, NGPF also has options available.
In the Arcade section of their website, teachers can find arcade games, interactive activities, and quiz games based on personal finance topics.
These resources are fun and varied, and perfect for instructors to draw upon to reinforce their finance or business curriculum while driving student engagement.
3. What Are the Benefits of Next Gen Personal Finance?
Altogether, Next Gen Personal Finance will likely serve as an excellent resource for your financial literacy course, and has several significant benefits.
Free with Registration
One of the surest benefits that NGPF has going for it is that all of its course material and activities are free. This makes it a great choice for budget-conscious teachers who need a great deal of content that they won’t have to pay for.
You need only register on the NGPF site as a teacher and wait for your account to be approved to start accessing the wealth of material available. This also works to prevent students from cheating, as the answer keys to course assignments are only available to registered accounts, and students won’t be able to find them via Google.
However, for those in need of a few quick resources, the registration process could prove an impediment, and so under certain circumstances, this benefit could double as a drawback.
Flexibility and Cohesiveness
Another considerable benefit NGPF may bring to your course is its balance between flexibility and comprehensiveness.
NGPF’s material can serve a variety of functions depending on your needs. Its flexibility means its core units can serve well for various course lengths, and the supplemental resources it provides can fill any gaps in an existing curriculum you have.
At the same time, NGPF’s core units also provide students with a comprehensive, well-rounded educational experience. There’s a lot of great material in NGPF- enough to fill several courses-and by using it, you should cover most of your bases for a financial literacy course.
4. What Are Some Drawbacks of Next Gen Personal Finance?
Though NGPF will likely serve your finance class well as a source of activities and educational material, there are some drawbacks you should consider.
Free with Registration
NGPF provides its content for free as long as you create a teacher account on their website.
Though this may seem like a small price to pay, it may be a roadblock for some. For teachers unwilling to submit certain information or otherwise tie themselves to NGPF, the site registration will be a con. If you’re looking for a resource provider with no strings attached, NGPF might not work for you.
At the same time, teachers in need of immediate access to NGPF’s material may find the registration process an impediment. The process takes about a day to complete as the NGPF team reviews your submitted information and decides whether to approve your account. If you desperately need an assessment or assignment with answer keys right away, consider looking elsewhere for it.
Most Materials Aren’t Visually Compelling
One of the complaints teachers sometimes bring up regarding NGPF is that much of its material simply isn’t very visually appealing.
This goes for its lesson plans, student packets, and other materials teachers use on the day-to-day for their classes, as opposed to the games and activities, which place a greater focus on engagement.
If you want to successfully engage your students with NGPF’s core curriculum, it may require a bit of adapting to make it work. While NGPF provides a strong foundation, some teachers find they have to modify some of the lessons to better visually appeal to their students.
This could pose a problem for teachers who want material they can quickly pick up and use in their classroom, or teachers who already have problems gaining student attention, and want more evocative material.
5. Is Next Gen Personal Finance Right for Your High School Courses?
Ultimately, that depends on what exactly you’re looking for from a resource provider.
All things considered, NGPF is an excellent choice for high school personal finance classes. It covers a broad range of topics, has versions of its units available for various course lengths, has both core and supplemental material, and best of all, it’s all free.
If you’re looking for either core curriculum or supplemental materials that will help your students avoid financial pitfalls, then NGPF may be right for you.
However, there are a few drawbacks. To use NGPF to its fullest, you have to register on their site--which could cause issues if you’re pressed for time--and some of its material has a reputation for not being as engaging as it could be.
If these drawbacks are enough to put you on the fence--or if you just want to be aware of all your options--rest assured there are many other resource providers out there dedicated to helping your students achieve financial success. Consider taking a look at a few different options in the article below: