Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Good Explanations of Inflation, Recession, and Bubbles

Turn on any financial news network like CNBC these days and you're likely to hear some discussion about inflation and concerns about recession. Even if your students aren't listening to those stories, they might be hearing about them from their parents or perhaps in your classroom as part of a current events discussion. Financial news was always a topic in my classroom when I taught a current events course. 

If you find yourself talking about inflation, recession, and related topics in your classroom, here are some videos that could help your students gain a better understanding of those topics. 

Inflation Explained in One Minute provides a very basic explanation of the concept of inflation. It could be fine as a conversation starter or introduction to a lesson. However, if viewed on its own without additional information it might give students the impression that inflation is solely caused by changes in money supply. 

How Inflation Works is an excellent twelve minute video lesson produced by CNBC International. The video does a great job of explaining demand-pull inflation and cost-push inflation. Going beyond the the basics the video also provides an excellent comparison of the economic theories of Milton and Keynes. Students will also learn how consumer price index is calculated and how it is indicative of inflation. Finally, the video concludes with historical examples of inflation around the world and the causes of those hyperinflationary episodes. I should note that the video will lend itself to introducing other concepts to your students including the importance of the federal reserve's interest rate.

If you or your students would prefer an animated lesson about inflation, The School of Life offers this solid explanation of cost-push and demand-pull inflation.

Related TED-Ed Lessons
TED-Ed has four lessons that could fit in well with a larger discussion and lessons related to inflation.

Why Can't Governments Print an Unlimited Amount of Money? explains the concept of quantitative easing in the context of the last two years.

What Give a Dollar Bill Its Value? explains the role of the Federal Reserve in trying to control inflation and deflation.

What Causes an Economic Recession? uses the context of the Bronze Age to introduce the factors that can lead to economic recessions today. Those include inflation, borrowing habits, saving habits, spending habits, and government decisions.

What Causes Economic Bubbles? uses the context of the tulip industry of the 1600's to explain what causes an economic bubble and what happens when it bursts.

Inflation Calculators
Inflation calculators are useful in helping students see the effects of inflation over time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a free inflation calculator that lets you go back as far as 1913 to view changes in prices and buying power over time. It's how I figured out that the first car I ever bought back in the fall of 1996 for $1500 would cost almost $2700 today (and still be a hunk of junk).

Finally, on the topic of money, next week I'm hosting a Practical Ed Tech webinar about how to create and sell your own digital products. Join me!

Try Choice Eliminator Lite for Removing Choices from Google Forms

Twice in the last 24 hours I've been asked about options for removing choices from Google Forms as they get used up. The tool that I used to recommend was Choice Eliminator (the original and version 2). It seems that add-on has been removed from the Google Workspace Marketplace. Fortunately, Choice Eliminator Lite is still available to use in Google Forms. 

Choice Eliminator Lite doesn't have as many features as the original version, but it does remove options from Google Forms questions as they get selected. In this short video I demonstrate how to use Choice Eliminator Lite in Google Forms. 

Applications for Education
Choice Eliminator Lite can be useful when you have a list of options for students to pick from, but you only want one student to pick each option. For example, this can be useful in signing up for meeting times or for making sure your classroom party doesn't end up with twenty trays of cookies and no milk to wash them down.

Use Canva's Design and Recording Tools With Your PowerPoint and Google Slides

The other day a reader sent me an interesting question that I hadn't thought about before. That was whether or not you can use Canva's recording studio with Google Slides. At first I thought to myself, "why not just make a screen recording of the slides with something like Screencastify?" Then I thought about it some more and realized that the reason for the question was that Canva's recording studio makes it easy to see your speaker notes while recording, but it doesn't show the speaker notes in the final version of the recording. 

It is possible to use your Google Slides, PowerPoint slides, and Keynote slides in Canva to use Canva's recording and design tools with those slides. The trick is to first make sure that your slides are in PowerPoint format. To do that download your Google Slides or Keynote slides as a PPTX file. Then you can upload that file to your Canva account where you can then use all of Canva's editing, design, and recording tools. Watch this video to see how that whole process works. 

Applications for Education
Canva is one of my favorite tools for creating short video lessons with your existing slides. The process is less clunky than using a screen recording tool to capture your slides as you explain the key points on them. If you're a Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote user who has ignored Canva's recording tool because you didn't want to have to recreate your slides, the method that I demonstrated in the video above is for you. 

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