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Miliband Moments and Cameron Cautions

Friday, September 26, 2014

I guess we would agree that talking without notes for 70 minutes is HARD – I would not like to go through an entire lesson without some prompts or reminders of what I want to cover, and I suspect that many teachers would agree. 

However, listening to Ed Miliband explaining why he forgot to talk about immigration and the deficit in his Conference speech last week, it occurred to me that this is not dissimilar to what students have to do in exams: they have to remember all those things they have learned and practiced, without any notes or crib sheets to help them, while working under intense pressure.

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World of Business focuses on Myanmar

An autumnal hat tip to Will Taylor from Brookfield Community School in Chesterfield who recommended a recent BBC Radio 4 broadcast from Peter Day dated 18th September. Will writes:

"This programme offers thirty minutes of fascinating insights into this new democracy and fast emerging economy and brilliant for looking at FDI and market attractiveness, development issues. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is the second to last market to open up to the world (only N. Korea remains shut off)." 

"With a population of fifty million, mostly poor, and rich in natural resources, how can Myanmar develop quickly to meet a wide range of economic, social, technological, political, cultural and business challenges. My Y13 Edexcel Business and Economics students seemed to enjoy it and took pages of notes. Well worth the lesson time or a homework!"

Here is the link to the programme: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio/worldbiz...

World of Business (BBC): http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/worldbiz

Using Twitter in Economics Courses

A growing number of economics teachers are embracing twitter as a social media platform to support the work of their students and share their passion for a fast-moving subject. Twitter can be used for sharing useful links, examples of good/successful practice in the classroom and in helping to make sense of the news flow on all kinds of economics issues. 

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Make your students happy! Test their ‘demand and supply’ knowledge with this 5 minute test

Have you reached that point in the term where you've covered shifting demand and supply curves yet?

Here's a short starter or plenary to test your students knowledge and understanding on the theories of demand and supply.  The resource has a single demand and supply diagram with shifted curves and labelled equilibrium points.  The test lasts for 3 minutes as a series of changes to the market conditions for Product A are flashed up on the screen.  Students need to pay attention, they only have 20 seconds to read the question and work out the new equilibrium point.

All this whilst an Oscar-winning song plays along in the background. Clap along if you know what the song is!

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​Network Effects: Alibaba

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Alibaba’s record breaking IPO this month offers a lot of scope to analyse key economic concepts.

But the one that caught my eye in their SEC registration filing was on Network Effects.

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IMF Video: Government Debt

This new short video from the IMF explains the statistical definition of debt, it explains government debt instruments and the difference between gross and net government debt.

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Annual economic growth week at the LSE

Bob Denham from Econ Films has let me know that he is currently making a series of 'instant insights' into the world of development economics for the IGC annual #GrowthWeek, run by the International Growth Centre at LSE. These are short 1-2 minute clips on what should be the key topics following the Millennium Development Goals - based on views of top academics, policymakers and young folk. 

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Samsung withdraws from European laptop market

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My last laptop was a Samsung, a sturdy workhorse that didn't fail me in nearly four years! I have more or less gravitated lock stock and barrel to Apple - Samsung is withdrawing from the European market. Read through the factors behind their decision in this article from BBC news http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29350022

Low or zero inflation is normal: competition keeps it that way

Fears of deflation are rising across Europe. Inflation keeps edging down to lower and lower rates. Eurostat estimates the rate of inflation in the Euro zone in the year to August to be only 0.4 per cent, compared to 1.3 per cent in the year to August 2013. Negative rates were observed in seven EU countries. Remarkably, the rate of just 1.5 per cent in Austria and the UK is the highest in Europe.

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Alternative motives for firms: Share buy-backs

The basic model of behaviour in the Theory of the Firm assumes companies are trying to maximise profits. Strong candidates can identify other motives under the surface too. These make interesting and effective evaluation points when explaining what firms might be up to.

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10 Minute Crossword Activity to set either for AS or A2 students

Here's a couple of quick Crossword activities that you can set in class or as homework from the tutor2u team.  They are:

  1. AS Introductory Economics
  2. A2 Theory of the Firm

Both come with 15 questions and you can even download the answers if you think you might need some help!

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Edexcel AS Economics: Worked Answers for May 2014

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW: ESTIMATED PUBLICATION DATE: EARLY DECEMBER 2014

Edexcel UNIT1 & UNIT2 Worked Answers is a new printed resource from the tutor2u Economics team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.

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Edexcel A2 Economics: Worked Answers for May 2014

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW: ESTIMATED PUBLICATION DATE: EARLY DECEMBER 2014

Edexcel UNIT 3 & UNIT 4 Worked Answers is a new printed resource from the tutor2u Economics team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.

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AQA A2 Economics: Worked Answers for May 2014

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW: ESTIMATED PUBLICATION DATE: EARLY DECEMBER 2014

AQA ECON3 & ECON4 Worked Answersis a new printed resource from the tutor2u Economics team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.

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AQA AS Economics: Worked Answers for May 2014

AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER NOW: ESTIMATED PUBLICATION DATE: EARLY DECEMBER 2014

AQA ECON1 & ECON2 Worked Answers is a new printed resource from the tutor2u Economics team which we expect to be available for dispatch from early December 2014.

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The Cross Rail Project

Monday, September 22, 2014

These are summary notes taken from a talk given by Andrew Wolstenholme the CEO of CrossRail to a meeting of the Eton College Geography Society on Monday 22nd September 2014

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Different schools of Economic thought

Hopefully Economics keeps moving forwards, with new ideas enriching the subject in schools and universities. You may be aware that there is a ‘post-crash economics’ debate out there, with people wondering how economists got things so wrong in the lead up to the crash.

I was lost for words when I met Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang recently. Partly I was a bit star struck, but mainly it was because I was so impressed by his plea: can’t we draw on more sources of inspiration than the neo-classical school of economics which has come to dominate the subject?

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Year 13 Economics in the Citi Day!

Here is a great enrichment opportunity for Y13 Economists, especially those looking to take the subject to university or considering a career in Finance. In association with our good friend Stuart Block from "Beyond the Bike", we are launching an interactive day for students including:

  • 2 lectures from eminent economists Tim Harford (author of the Undercover Economist series) & Mike Saunders (Chief UK & European Economist at Citi)
  • A trading game with Citi professionals, working with & against student for more than 10 different schools
  • A tour of the Citibank trading floor & office with recent Citi graduates

Places for this event on the 13th of November are limited to 6 students per school with a maximum of 12 schools. Please contact Geoff Riley (g.riley@etoncollege.org.uk) to register your interest.

Loom Bands - A demand and supply example (and activity)

Friday, September 19, 2014

If, like me, you spent much of the spring and summer of this year being 'gently persuaded' to purchase loom bands and their paraphernalia, you may find this short presentation and task on demand and supply of the product useful.

For many weeks, it seemed almost impossible to undertake a shopping trip with my youngest son without him pointing out the huge selection of available bands and their construction tools.  He built up quite a selection or different colours and styles as my vacuum cleaner can happily testify.  Then I noticed a tailing off of his requests and noted that this week, when I pointed out a shop selling the rubber bands at half price, he declared that he was no longer interested - even at the reduced rate compared to just 4 weeks ago.  

He seemed less than impressed when I pointed out how this was a fine example of how demand and supply impacts upon price.  However, many of you may be at the stage where you are going through demand, supply and equilibrium with your AS students.

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Forex markets respond to NO

Sitting watching Alex Salmond acknowledge the results of the Scottish referendum, there is a great example of the speed with which the foreign exchange markets respond to news. Sterling fell significantly in value over the last two weeks, with polls suggesting that the 'Yes' campaign was much closer to a win than had previously been expected. However, as the vote closed on Thursday evening, exit polls were indicating a win for the 'No' vote, and, as the chart from Bloomberg above shows, the global 24-hour foreign exchange market showed an immediate and dramatic response in demand for the pound, as the uncertainties associated with Scottish independence were removed. 

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China invests in India’s infrastructure

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Narendra Modi’s term as India’s Prime Minister is in full swing, with a ‘Modi bounce’ seen in recent figures for FDI and an upturn in the rate of economic growth.  Optimism is high that change for the better is underway in developing an infrastructure that can support India's 1.2 billion people.

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Are fireworks in London a public good?

London's New Year's Eve fireworks display is to be limited to a viewing area of 100,000 ticketed spectators for the first time. The event's popularity made it "untenable" to strain the transport and safety infrastructure with a larger number, the Mayor's office says. Hence the decision to charge £10. This poses a question about the nature of public goods.

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Coping with Uncertainty: the Red Hot Topic in Economics

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

After months of Trappist silence, a whole plethora of large companies has pronounced on the adverse consequences for Scotland of a Yes vote tomorrow. The sectors span the economy, from oil to banks, from supermarkets to phone companies. But what will be the effect of these interventions?

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Scotch mist and an Independent Scotland

The economics of Scottish Independence are considered in a short video by Prof Ronald MacDonald of Glasgow University.

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Lesson Activity - ‘Face It’ multiple choice quiz on topical economic news stories

Continuing our theme of sharing engaging activities, here's a fun teaching resource that lasts between 15 and 20 minutes called 'Face It' - a resource that has been extremely popular when we've used it during our teacher CPD events.  On the grounds that it may still be too early to test understanding of a particular topic, this version asks 10 questions about topical economics news stories to see how closely your students have been following the news!

'Face It' is a multiple choice quiz with a typical tutor2u twist!  Students are shown the questions at the start of the quiz (but not the possible answers) and asked to work out which questions they feel most confident in answering.  Then the fun really starts!

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Why do 17,000 children under five die every day?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The overall rate of infant mortality has been halved in the past two decades.

That's the good news. But Unicef' s latest figures estimate every day 17,000 under-fives die - 6.3 million a year - from largely preventable causes. Most of the deaths happen in the first hours or weeks following birth.

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Short presentation on ‘Perfect Competition’

Here's a pleasant and short Powerpoint presentation on Perfect Competition that you may wish to include as part of any lesson on the subject.  The presentation shows how price, supply and average and marginal revenue shifts as more firms enter the market and the impact that has on profits.

Click here to download the resource 'Perfect Competition'

Look out for more diagram testing resources as part of our upcoming Wow Economics CPD events.  Regular blog contributor Virang Dal has created a Powerpoint resource called 'Diagram Dissection' that asks students to identify the 'body parts' of a series of 28 economic diagrams.

Growth vrs the environment: deforestation

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The growth vrs the environment debate is great for opening a thoughtful discussion about the net benefits of economic growth. Some participants take what might be described as a Kuznets Curve approach to the issue. That might be simply summarised as things get worse to begin with, but after a while they start to improve (OK, I’m simplifying a bit here). In environmental terms, you might illustrate this with the Peak Stuff idea. For several years now, the UK economy’s total consumption of physical resources has been falling. In the past, growth made our economy more and more damaging to the environment. But future growth might have far less of an impact, and even contribute to significant environmental improvements.

What about tropical forests, which observers in the last decades of the 20th century noted were under severe threat? The Economist newspaper seems to take an optimistic view. Future growth may have far less worrying consequences for tropical forests.

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Recent Changes to UK Competition Regime

Here is a useful update on recent changes to UK competition law - pertinent for teachers who want to keep up to speed with reforms to competition authorities including the creation of the Competition and Markets Authority.

http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN04814/t...

WOW! Economics 2015 - the UK’s Leading CPD Course for A Level Economics


WOW! Economics 2015 is tutor2u's flagship CPD course for ALL A Level Economics teachers.

WOW! Economics 2015 builds on the phenomenal success of the previous two years with yet another resource-packed day designed to provide teaching colleagues with effective and innovative teaching & learning materials.

The 2015 course features completely brand new teaching & learning resources - if you've been on a previous WOW! Economics, you are in for another treat! We've listed these resources further below.

The feedback from previous WOW! Economics courses has delighted us and we've grown the team of contributing Economics teachers to ensure that WOW! Economics 2015 is our best-ever. 

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Teaching the New A Level Economics: Mastering Quantitative Methods

CPD COURSE

Teaching the New A Level Economics: Mastering Quantitative Methods

London 10 December 2014

Manchester 17 December 2014

Download booking form

A key feature of the new A Level and standalone AS specifications (for first teaching from September 2015) is a greater focus on quantitative methods.

The Ofqual subject criteria with which awarding bodies must comply states that specifications must require learners to:

"...develop analytical and quantitative skills in selecting, interpreting and using appropriate data from a range of sources"

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Costing/Revenue activity to set in class or for homework

Friday, September 12, 2014

Here's a short activity in testing student understanding at working out fixed, variable, average and marginal costs and then total, average and marginal revenue.  Using a 'Smartwatch' case study as the backdrop the activity asks students to calculate costs and revenues and then work out the profit maximisation and sales maximisation points.  Oh yes, and students have to plot a chart as well!

Click here to download the Smartwatch activity

Contrasting approaches to managing road traffic

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The transport economists amongst you will be giving considerable thought to the question of tackling road traffic congestion. I’ve picked up on two stories here because they take contrasting approaches. The first is to use technology and regulation to tackle the problem – the so-called command and control approach. The other relies on price signals, so might be described as a market led approach.

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Storify and Economics

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Storify is a wonderful tool for promoting external reading to our students and for making reading articles or viewing videos interesting as opposed to being a chore. Take a look at my account on Storify to see how it could be used as part of your teaching portfolio

https://storify.com/Econplusdal 

The Eliminator Quiz - Introduction to AS Economics

Here's an engaging 5 to 10 minute activity for your next AS (Year 1) Economics class. The 'Eliminator' quiz does not cover any specific topic but acts as a way of finding out what your students may already know or to stimulate discussion.

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Economics Teacher Meeting at Eton College

Economics teachers from schools and colleges throughout the UK are cordially invited to a one-day event at Eton College on Monday 17th November.


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After the BRICs, the GIPSIs: Tackling Europe’s Problems

The Euro zone lurches into yet another crisis, with fears of deflation and a further drop in output.  There are several dominant explanations of why Europe has been unable to recover from the crisis.  Most commentators subscribe to them either on their own, or in various combinations, depending on their tastes.

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Wow Economics Returns for 2014-2015

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Wow! Economics is back for the 2014-2015 academic year with 40 brand new resources.  If you've not been to a previous version of this Economics Teacher CPD event then come along and enjoy a fantastic day of engaging resources aimed at inspiring students and improving their potential grades.  If you've been before then don't miss out on a whole new set of activities to add to your catalogue.  We guarantee that you'll have colleagues looking over at your desk and wondering where they can get something similar to spice up their teaching.

For dates and venues click here.

To find out about what we've got in store, read on....

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United Queendom -  Economics of Scottish independence

Monday, September 08, 2014

The economics of Scottish independence has been turned in to a gay romantic comedy in an online series launching today. The mini-series ‘United Queendom’ tells the story of a couple on the verge of separation: Scott and Adrian argue over oils (for the bath), who controls the credit card, membership of ‘The Club’ and whether they should aspire to be like their neighbour, the Scandinavian model.

At the end of each episode, the viewer is presented with a choice of endings and votes on whether the couple breaks up or stays together. Embracing the apathy of some of today’s voters, the poll also includes an option for those who just ‘don’t care’. The ending with the most views will be declared the winner.

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“You Don’t Know What You’re Doing…”

This might be a familiar refrain on matchday, as yet another referee gets it in the neck from a partisan crowd - as the chap who officiated the Germany-Scotland game did, no doubt. However, it's rare for economists to be humble enough to admit that, many's the time that we aren't always as certain of economic outcomes as we think we are.

 

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Perfect weather and a bumper wheat crop – impact on the market

Sunday, September 07, 2014

A great example to start you off looking at how economists understand markets: after a run of rain-wrecked years, British farmers are bringing in the last of what looks like a bumper cereals harvest. 2014 could be the biggest yield ever for wheat. Good news. But for whom?

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Ebolanomics: tackling drug development

This west African health crisis is a tragedy. It could be an issue that stimulates an economics discussion. According to James Surowiecki in The New Yorker there are no real tools to stop the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The lack of treatment is disturbing. But given the way drug development is funded, it’s also predictable.

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Welcome to Economics!

Welcome to the many new students taking Economics for the first time as schools and colleges begin a new school year. 

Here are some links for Economics students wanting to keep bang up to date with a fast moving subject! 

Impress your Economics teachers by showing them you are following the news and the many issues that form an important part of year 12 Economics courses. You'll reap the rewards too when it comes to the exams in the summer.

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How much should we pay for expensive cancer medication?

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Many students look at health care spending and rationing decisions when they cover the introductory concepts of opportunity cost, scarcity and the cost benefit principle. In this recent BBC Newnight report, the decisions taken by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) - the organisation that decides whether treatments are cost-effective enough to be purchased for patients by the NHS. Cancer drugs especially those that provide targeted medicine for a small patient population can carry a very high unit cost per patient and this is taken many of these drugs above the level that NICE will allow, even though some of these drugs so make a significant difference.

Should cancer drugs be taken out of the NICE cost benefit calculation or should drugs companies make more effort to lower their prices?

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Tim Harford on the art of prediction

A great video to use in the classroom as a prompt for discussion. Bad forecasts matter - they affect millions of people. Why are forecasters so bad at their jobs? Complexity is fundamental and when forecasters are also prone to bias when making their projections. Is there hope for better forecasting from a group known as the super-forecasters who seem to be uncannily good at making predictions?

Watch the video below

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Business Economics - hard hats on for banana wars

We are taking business growth as our first topic for unit 3 this term, and the FT has some excellent resources to introduce the subject, in th form of short Lex video discussions. The three that I have used look at Fyffes attempt to buy Chiquita, which has been 'gatecrashed' by two Brazilian firms, Carillion's bid to buy the much bigger Balfour Beatty, and then to cover demergers, Barclays' sale of their Spanish business.

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Where’s the best place to live?

Friday, September 05, 2014

Will the best place to live - as identified by the Economist newspaper - be found in the country with the highest GDP per capita?

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Welcome Back! A quick fire resource for your returning A2 students - ‘Whilst you were away’

Following a similar format to last week's AS 'World of Economics', this free resource available from the download link below is a rapid 10 minute starter for the first class with your returning A2 students.

Entitled 'Whilst you were away', the resource shows a montage of images.  Each image also has a question and all relate to news stories from around the world during the months of July and August 2014.  The montage remains on screen with a 3 minute timer fading away at the bottom of the screen - ask your students (individually or in small teams) to answer all 9 questions in the 3 minutes available.

Then go through the answers one at a time - there is an individual slide showing the answer to each question plus a supplementary question for each image to stimulate discussion about how the news stories impact on economics.  This is a Powerpoint resource so feel free to edit the questions as you see fit.

Click here to download the resource

John Lanchester - How to Speak Money

John Lanchester is a superbly accessible author on financial economics and his latest book How to Speak Money looks well placed for use by economics departments. 

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Growth in Baristas Drives Down Average Wages

The relentless rise of the high street barista economy is a factor causing a significant shift in the pattern of jobs in the British economy. Many higher paid jobs in manufacturing have been lost replaced by hundreds of thousands of relatively low paid work in the service sector. The Guardian reports here on a new survey from Incomes Data Services.

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