Ramin Mohajer, Director of Operations, How I Decide Foundation
August 23rd, 2017
Posted In: Awareness
Each day, mentors build natural relationships with youth through simple interactions. This August, we’ll share stories and resources for mentors and mentees illustrating some fun ways to engage this summer. In this post, the How I Decide Foundation explains how mentors can help mentees exercise their critical thinking skills through an innovative fantasy football platform: GM Genius.
GM Genius is a scholarship competition and digital learning platform that teaches key critical thinking and decision-making concepts, and tests students’ abilities to apply these concepts. Developed by How I Decide Foundation, an educational nonprofit that helps youth be better decision makers, GM Genius uses the appeal and concepts from fantasy football to engage students in important educational content.
GM Genius presents a unique mentoring opportunity, and we know of at least one mentoring program that plans to use it as a core program component this fall. It is a fun enrichment and recreation activity mentors and mentees can participate in together.
Each week, students (1) complete a lesson by watching a brief educational video, (2) answer a few related questions, (3) set their lineup to compete in our unique fantasy football game, and then (4) check their results in real time. The weekly animated videos develop students’ skills both in and out of fantasy sports by teaching concepts such as using “probabilistic thinking” to make projections, evaluating information and news, and avoiding cognitive biases (e.g. recency bias, confirmation bias).
Mentors are able to support mentees by going through these steps together (in person or remotely) to learn the material, set their lineup, and then see how they’re doing as the NFL games unfold. They might also want to discuss how the concepts they learn apply to their everyday lives. Mentors can be in the same league as their mentees and groups can set up leagues to compete against each other, making it an interactive group mentoring activity.
The program is launching in late August/early September 2017 in time for Week 1 of the NFL season and is available on all devices. It has received significant press in recent weeks, including articles in ESPN, RotoWire and Football Outsiders, as well as being featured in several fantasy sports radio shows and podcasts. Students can win over $40,000 in college scholarships and weekly prizes, including a $10,000 college scholarship for the overall winner and a $5,000 grant for the winner’s school. Adults may participate, but only teens ages 13-19 are eligible to win prizes.
About How I Decide
How I Decide (HID) is a Philadelphia-based educational nonprofit that equips youth with skills to be better decision makers throughout their lives. HID creates innovative programs and instructional content to develop students’ critical thinking, social, and emotional skills. Since its founding in 2014, HID has served over 3,000 students (primarily students in urban, disadvantaged communities in Philadelphia) and has expanded its reach nationally. To learn more, please visit www.howidecide.org.
If you are interested, sign up here to play!