​Commonwealth Bank using VR to educate children

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is hoping to teach kids about financial stability with its new virtual reality-based homework project.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has embarked on a two-month trial to determine whether storybook-based virtual reality (VR) games played at home can further the financial education that is being taught in schools.

The pilot has been named The Teleporter Adventures and comprises a package containing a children's storybook called Sammy the Space Koala and a VR headset known as the Teleporter.

As the project is being undertaken out of school hours, parents and carers of students in years one and two are required to download the Teleporter app and insert their smartphone into the headset to partake in the trial.

Image: Supplied

According to Kylie Macfarlane, CBA general manager of Corporate Responsibility, the VR experience focuses on the difference between a "need" and a "want".

"We know that around 10 percent of Australian 15-year-olds have not reached even a baseline level of financial literacy, which places them in a clear position of disadvantage in a world where you need to be able to make sensible decisions about money in order to be financially secure," she said.

The pilot forms part of the bank's existing Start Smart program, which aims to teach children about money management. During the 2016 financial year, CBA said over 550,000 students were booked into Start Smart classes.

"Start Smart is all about helping young people become financially capable," Macfarlane added.

"We also know Australia's National Financial Literacy Strategy details the importance of parents' involvement in children's learning about money from an early age, with research indicating that most children form money habits by the time they are seven years old.

"Yet despite this, findings released by the Australian Security & Investments Commission earlier this year shows only about one in six parents with children at home discuss finances with their kids. This storybook and virtual reality headset have been designed to address that shortfall and be a catalyst for parents and children to discuss basic financial concepts in a fun and engaging way."

CBA said the program does not promote CommBank products or services.

The child-focused VR pilot builds on the bank's Virtual Reality Workplace, which allows potential employees experience what it is like to work in what CBA called an "agile, future-focused workplace that fosters an innovative culture".

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