Using Augmented Reality to Teach Kids about Currency

The U.S. Currency Education Program used research, prototyping, and user-feedback to develop a mobile app to teach young students about money.

In 2016, the Federal Reserve Board’s U.S. Currency Education Program (CEP) began its search for an innovative way to teach young students about Federal Reserve notes. When researching how elementary-aged students learn new topics in the classroom, we noticed a strong trend in effective mobile-based instruction. We then identified which mobile technologies teachers use in American classrooms.

Illustration of the Money Adventure App by the U.S. Currency Education Program.

Over time, the CEP created youth-focused materials that teachers and students could use on mobile devices. We developed and tested a prototype mobile app with elementary-aged children in early 2018. Following the participants’ feedback, we implemented a thorough project plan to develop the proof-of-concept into a viable product for public use.

The CEP launched the Money Adventure mobile app on the Apple App Store in January 2019. Money Adventure is an interactive smartphone and tablet app that teaches the next generation of cash users about the unique features of Federal Reserve notes.

Money Adventure facilitates a playful learning environment, similar to Currency Academy, the CEP’s web-based classroom content. Students can explore the features of a virtual $20 note or embark on an augmented reality quest using the detailed artwork on the back of banknotes.

The welcome screen of the Money Adventure App showing an illustrated image of their mascot, Buck the Dog

The app is currently available for download on the Apple App Store. After download, the app is fully usable without an internet connection. The Android version is scheduled to launch in late 2019.

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