The combination of solid research on the one hand and smart technology on the other is what drives Agata Janiszewska forward. Being able to work with a digital resource that supply financial education therefore feels spot on and has been her dream since day one of her cognitive science education. Agata, Gimi's latest shooting star, is a cognitive scientist with a cutting edge competence in digital didactics on a mission to take Gimi's financial education to a whole new level!
Finally she's here, Gimi's Head of Education and all children's favorite teacher! The cognitive scientist Agata Janiszewska started at Gimi on 1 September and has until now been working wholeheartedly to develop digital teaching materials adapted for the future generation together with the research team Educational Technology Group at Lund University.
“Ever since I started studying cognitive science eight years ago, my dream has been to combine in-depth science and research with new technology in smart, digital tools. I have always wanted to spread knowledge but have been so frustrated by the lack of tools that have been available to the public. To be a part of Gimi therefore feels like a perfect match and I can not think of a better place to make my dream come true!” says Agata Janiszewska
Interactive lessons and knowledge tests integrated in the app
At Gimi, Agata, together with developers and designers, will develop the company's completely new educational section, which will be based on modern research in children's learning linked to digital tools and financial understanding. This new major investment is in-line with Gimi's overall goal of giving children and young people the right conditions to obtain financial literacy. The content of the new educational part will be posted in the form of interactive lessons where the child can practice their financial literacy and test their knowledge directly in the app. The lessons will have a stair-like approach where the child unlocks new exercises and tests as their understanding is deepened. The lessons in the Gimi app will in that way be adapted to the child's individual level of knowledge and financial literacy. This is something Agata has wished for a long time and seen as one of the great advantages of digitalisation.
“Thanks to digital tools such as Gimi, there is a big opportunity to adapt the education to the individual and give clear feedback to the parents about where in the “stair” the child is. In this way, it’s easier to understand when your child is mature enough to get a new type of chore or to be able to manage their money themselves with a card." Agata Janiszewska explains
Gimi was founded in 2015 and has since then focused on giving children Financial Superskills for life ©. The investment in the new educational part therefore means a significant step in the right direction. Gimi wants to give children the conditions to be able to navigate on their own in a financial landscape and independently make smart financial decisions. It was the lack of exactly these conditions that gave birth to the founder and CEO Philip Haglund idea of, by then called, Veckopengen (weekly allowance) five years ago. The figures that showed how children and young people became less and less financially literate worried him and when there was no player who, according to him, took a serious responsibility for these statistics, he decided to start his startup journey in fintech. However, his goal has always been to create an educational platform so when the opportunity to recruit Agata now appeared, the professional football player, as he also is, wasn’t late to see the opportunity as a perfect kick-off to also become a true edtech player.
"Today there is a lack of players in the market who genuinely want to teach children to understand. More and more actors in the banking and finance sector have opened their eyes to see children as future consumers, and that is of course good, but there is still a lack of interest in educating them first. If there is no drastic change in the near future, it will in all probability be major negative consequences for society.” Philip Haglund describes
Financial education - a hot societal topic
There is no doubt that Gimi refers to a hot societal topic. Children's financial education is a topic that politicians are just getting more and more interested in, which led Jessika Roswall (M) to submit a motion to the Government, in the autumn of 2019, about letting personal finance become part of the curriculum. In the motion, which you will find here Motion 2019/20:664, Jessica mentions Gimi as an exemplary example. Teachers, economists and researchers were not late to show their support for this, among other things, the high school teacher and author Erik Wennstram emphasizes it in an interview from June this year where he said "The fact that we continue to keep the financial education in the margin is a betrayal of today's children” (read the interview with Erik here).
This is something that Agata is quick to agree on:
“Today, there are very few and good resources for children to learn about economics in an interactive way. Often, research and curricula are developed in an isolated environment, outside the children's own reality. Gimi's strength is that the content is developed and grows together with the children in a dynamic and agile process, which means that the education is always current and relevant.”
Agata continues by emphasizing how the Gimi app is where the children are, in a fast-moving everyday life where engaging content is required to stay alive. She believes that her challenge will be to create materials that capture the children's creativity, curiosity and their willingness to learn more. As the flow of information is constantly increasing in both quantity and speed, she intends that a fingertip feeling is required to stay in the children's sphere of interest. Agata believes that the key to success is to visualize how abstract information can be used in a concrete way in a physical world. In addition, she believes that children must be given the opportunity to practice and interact with this visualization, it is only when the content becomes interesting and they understand how their own behaviors result in both positive and negative consequences that they will learn.
“Children have an innate thirst for learning, but in order to capture their attention and get them captivated, they must see the education as fun and relevant to them. The best way to succeed is to, as Gimi already does, interact directly with the children instead of sitting in our own room and thinking of ideas.” says Agata Janiszewska
Gamification, visualization and education in focus
The development of the Gimi app's educational part is already in full action and according to Gimi’s CEO, the autumn will mean a big step for Gimi's performance and content. In parallel with the investment in financial education, Gimi also makes a major investment in gamified elements and visualization of the child's financial behavior patterns with the help of graphs and diagrams for both parent and child. This is a development that has already attracted the attention of a number of different stakeholders, including Philip’s interview for SVD's podcast Ledarredaktionen and in early September Martin Agnälv, Head and Tech at Gimi made an impressive pitch with was worthy of standing ovations at Uppstart’s digital conference (Gimi - edtech and fintech in a gamified product). Gimi has also been selected to participate in Lighthouse Program 2020 where Gimi, together with the largest banks in the Nordic and Baltic countries, will work together to create innovative solutions for a financial future.
Philip Haglund describes:
"Together we can create and distribute a child-friendly financial service that not only includes children in modern society but also increases the financial literacy of our future generations"
In summary, there is a lot on Gimi's agenda and for Agata, it means great opportunities to create something unique. Together with developers, designers, researchers and of course together with Gimi's own users, Agata's goal is to offer an education app that not only attracts parents and children but also opens opportunities for teachers and educators to take financial education into the classrooms.
"Maybe it's a naive way of thinking, but I'm pretty sure it's just a matter of time. The school's teaching strategies are developing and changing, and even though the integration is slow, tools in the form of apps and digital platforms are becoming more common in the classrooms. Financial education is a hot topic of discussion in the school environment, so it would not surprise me if politicians soon will start looking for exemplary alternatives." Agata Janiszewska concludes