Moneyville is a new Irish website with the aim of teaching younger children more about money, the value of money and saving money. This is a flash-based site which is very colourful with a high standard of animation. It should be instantly attractive to young children. The introduction to the adventure is explained by the Mayor of this fictional town called Moneyville. The central character in the adventure appears when you first enter a username and password. You can change the look of the central character by changing his clothes, hairstyle etc. There is a lot of speech on the website with characters giving you instructions. You can choose to have this text also on the screen. This may be helpful to pupils with hearing difficulties.
When you enter the town of Moneyville, you can visit the Post Office, the Apple Stall or the Time Machine. In each place you visit, you can work to earn some money. In Moneyville you can earn silver and gold coins. One gold coin is worth ten silver coins. At any time you wish, you may visit Pennies shop and spend some of the money that you have earned. The idea that the site is trying to get across to children is that you have to work hard to earn some money and that there may be some things in the shop that you cannot afford. If this is the case and you really want the item, you can save your money until you have enough to buy the item. The pupil can place some desirable items in the Wish Jar until they have saved up enough money to buy them.
In the Post Office the pupil has to help out with the deliveries by sorting out the most expensive items from the less expensive items. This encourages children to understand the value of certain items. By helping in the Post Office, the pupil can earn some money. At the Apple Stall, the pupil has to catch apples falling from the apple tree before they hit the ground. This helps with keyboard skills and money can be earned by doing this work. When the pupil visits the Time Machine they can go on their travels. However, they need to have already earned some money as it costs one gold coin to go on a trip. The trips can take the pupil back to the time of the dinosaurs, back to Ancient Egypt, back to Ancient Rome or back to the Middle Ages. In each place they have fun things to do.
When pupils have done lots of the games and adventures on the site they can visit the Sorcerer who knows where there is treasure hidden in Moneyville. To get the Sorcerer to reveal the whereabouts of the hidden treasure, the pupil has to answer questions about money which they will have learned by visiting different areas of the site. If they can answer the questions correctly, they can find the hidden treasure and spend the money in the shop.
This website is set up by National Irish Bank which obviously has an interest in encouraging the customers of the future to save money and spend wisely. However, this is a very worthwhile website and is a positive addition to the resource bank of the primary school teacher. The site is mainly aimed at pupils in first and second classes. In the teacher section of the site are a number of worksheets that the teacher can use when teaching money in maths. The worksheets, in .pdf format, are colourful, attractive and build on the ideas of the website: cheap and expensive, saving money, how much money do I need, spending money wisely etc.
The site is well worth a visit. It can be found at: http://www.moneyville.ie/