Smart Tech & Education Program

Smart Tech & Education Program (STEP) is an Outreach Development Program that aims to provide Indigenous and low SES high school and TAFE students the opportunity to 

  • expand their learning capabilities via the rich, immersive and academically rigorous learning environment provided by Playconomics, and
  • build up capacity around literacy (language, maths, financial skills), planning, analytics, decision-making, governance, emotional intelligence and peer learning.


                Fostering and transforming student’s self-realisation and beliefs in their current and future professional life.



The currency of business knowledge and practice is key when it comes to self-determination, from the ability to build and manage personal finances to the impact of budgetary decisions in a community, corporation, government policy or educational context.

When we are able to live well, true to our individual and shared aspirations, we can harness all sorts of possibilities to support ourselves and our families, connecting with the lives of our friends and colleagues.

We believe that giving early access to university-grade programs/materials to pre-university students with Indigenous and/or low socioeconomic background can change their aspirations, and ultimately improve academic performance and labour outcomes later in life.

UNSW has been visionary in its support for (research based) innovation in teaching. We aim to employ this vision and directly engage with various communities in order to reach the groups “at risk” of dropping out of high school and/or foregoing a university degree.

How to STEP?


  • Participants: Any education institution that hosts Year 10+ students (and any staff that might want to participate).
  • Costs: The opportunity to participate in STEP and engage with Playconomics (and all its components: textbook, multiple-choice questions, educational videos and video game) comes at no cost. Technical (and potentially non-technical) support during the program is also included.
  • Starting dates: Prospective starting dates correspond to the start of school terms.
  • Timeline and program requirements:
    • The School Principal or Institution Director confirms their institution’s intention to participate in STEP and identifies the student group(s) that will take part in the program.
    • LionsHeart team receives enrolment data (student ID number, name, email) by no later than 2 weeks before the designated STEP starting date.
    • Playconomics is deployed to the students (meaning they can start playing the game) at any time during the entire term.
    • Playconomics concludes at the end of the term and general progression reports are sent to the institutions.
    • Repeated follow-up surveys (see below) are conducted over the following 4-5 years to identify the educational path STEP participants choose and ultimately their labour market outcomes.
  • Contact: If you would like more information or you are interested to participate, please contact our STEP Engagement Lead ( or feel free to send us an email to


Program evaluation


Because STEP is really about the people participating and their development, we highly value the opportunity to evaluate and continuously improve the program and the Playconomics content delivery.

As a result, we intend to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the effects of STEP in partnership with the participating schools.

In doing so, we plan to collect survey data and academic performance information to assess students’ progress. In terms of timeline, we intend to follow students for up until they enter labour force (approx. 5-6 years).

STEP team


  • Loretti Isabella Dobrescu, PhD
    • Associate Professor of Economics, UNSW Business School
    • Founder of LionsHeart, creator of Playconomics & STEP
    • Email:
  • Alberto Motta, PhD
    • Associate Professor of Economics, UNSW Business School
    • Founder of LionsHeart, creator of Playconomics & STEP
    • Email:
  • Rebecca Harcourt
    • Program Manager Indigenous Business Education, UNSW Business School
    • STEP Engagement Lead
    • Email: