Business education students teach peers at national conference

May 1, 2013

Indiana State University student Brian Krawiec's approach to discussing financial literacy for middle and high-school students is most effective when complete with green lemonade, a jug with a spout and several clearly marked cups.

His message: only what goes in can go out.

Krawiec was one of three Indiana State business education students who gave presentations at the national conference of Pi Omega Pi, the organization for college students aspiring to teach business education. Denise Current presented "Ways of Funding College," while Krawiec and Craig Blair presented "Personal Budgeting with a Twist," which included Krawiec's plan. A predetermined amount of green liquid- to represent money - is poured in the jug. Different cups with different levels marked "good," "better" and "best" and labeled "car," "house/rent," "taxes" and several additional expenses represent the spending decisions that people make on a daily basis.

"The strength of the metaphor is, you run out of liquid, you run out of money," Krawiec said. "It's easy to see. It was easy to pour back some liquid and understand what that meant in terms of lifestyle choices."The predetermined levels on the cups require students to pour in more liquid if they want the better options. Eventually the students run out of liquid - or money - and have to readjust their decisions based on how much liquid (or cash) they have available.

"Say you're going to talk about personal finance for a whole week, this activity would be a good opener, because you can always refer back to the device," Krawiec said. "Even if it's no longer in the room, [you can say] ‘remember when we had the containers, and you filled it up to here, and you had to pour it back in? Those are lifestyle choices.'"

The Indiana State students' presentations were reviewed by a national business education panel for the conference, which was attended by other college students across the nation.

"We thought it was a great idea and a great lesson that we could share with other people," Blair said. "For it to be reviewed and for them also think this is something that teachers everywhere could use as a way to teach personal budgeting, just made you feel pretty good."

In her presentation, Current discussed an approach to have high school students contemplate how they are going to pay for their college education. They first consider why they want to attend college. Based on that, they then research an estimate of one year of tuition at their university of choice.

Based on their financial situation, they then consider the details involved in using a 529 Investment Plan, financial aid, scholarships and other ways to pay for their college education.

"It went wonderfully," Current said of her presentation in Atlanta. "I was surprised that other college students sat down and listened to it, and their comments were that they wished somebody in high school would have taught them that before they got to the college level."

Current has witnessed the approach to funding college in several ways. In addition to her own college coursework, she currently has two children who are attending college.

"High schools are a great resource" for information, Current said. "If you have any questions for financial aid, for any scholarships that are available to help offset expenses, they can help you with financials and any questions you have with those."

The students also had an opportunity to attend sessions at the National Business Education Association's national conference, which ran concurrently with Pi Omega Pi's conference. William Wilhelm, professor of business education, information and technology at Indiana State, organized the trip to the national conference to introduce students to professional development opportunities.

"We want to get them inculcated in professional development activities while they are students," Wilhelm said. "That way, it's more likely that they will stay involved in professional development when they are teachers. The worst thing is for our teachers, who are young people, to graduate and go into the classroom, close the door behind them and think they have nothing else to learn."

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/photos/i-5Kfsh2m/0/L/i-5Kfsh2m-L.jpg (Submitted photo)Indiana State University students Brian Krawiec (left), Denise Current and Craig Blair, who presented at the Pi Omega Pi conference for business education students in Atlanta. Krawiec and Blair presented "Personal Budgeting with a Twist," while Current presented "Ways of Funding College."

Contact: William Wilhelm, professor of business education, information and technology, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237-2076 or william.wilhelm@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu