The idea to start a realistic online trade game started in October 2001 with then Computer Science student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Wouter Leenards. Together with his brother Mark Leenards, a student in Business Economics, he worked out what Miniconomy is today: an educative and interactive game with thousands of players where an economy is simulated, and since then has grown into a simulation of society itself.
Indeed, due to the input of players and the developers, Miniconomy has grown into a complete society where all the aspects in a real society are represented. Trade in goods, stocks and real estate trade, politics and media companies. Papers are published, there is a lawbook and a constitution, an eductional system, different political systems, and players can get jobs ranging from real estate agent to mayor.
Each trading period lasts 3 weeks. Between these periods there is usually a week long break where developers create and test new features.
In the past 5 years, the developers of Miniconomy have been frequently approached by publishers and schools with the thought to start using Miniconomy in the educational system. In the fall of 2003 the next step was realized by applying for subsidy for the then started Miniconomy Foundation, that in November of 2004 got funding from the stimulus plan Digital Pionieers. With this subsidy it was possible to expand Miniconomy so that it could be integrated into the classroom.
Miniconomy is an example of Flipping the Classroom. For more information about this subject, see Wikipedia.
Miniconomy is a very broad game and offers plenty of possibilities for players to stand out of the crowd when it comes to the market. All players take part in the same economy and therefor compete with each other.
A few important eductional aspects of Miniconomy:
The educational changes make it possible to play Miniconomy with a group of players, like a class of students. The participants will play the regular game like all other players and since you can't tell them from regular players, they will blend completely into the society itself. Student accounts however won't be allowed to partake in criminal activities such as shooting and stealing.
The group leader can follow his or her class almost with every move they make. To not lose oversight or control, teachers can therefor follow the acties of the students and help them on their way. The group leaders can also see the balance sheets and income statements of all students.
The assigments that the students get can therefor be decided by the group leader. Assigments including Miniconomy could be:
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Trade Games International BV