5.21.15: Games In The Classroom, A Philosopher's Guide To Happiness, & Following A Bird's Journey

May 21, 2015

Worried that your kids are spending too much time playing video games? On today’s show we look at how video games can not only level the demographic playing field, but help kids learn and potentially, heal. Plus, discovering the secret to happiness has inspired a robust self-help industry and pre-occupied philosophers since the days of Aristotle and Epicurus. Contemporary philosopher Frederic Lenoir shares some practical advice from the world’s great minds.

Listen to the full show

How Digital Games Level The Playing Field in Classrooms

Greg Toppo is USA Today’s National Education and Demographics reporter. In a new book, he argues that electronic games have been unfairly maligned for making children fat, violent and lazy, and that today’s video games can be one way of leveling the playing field. His book is called: The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter.

See a video of one of the games Greg discusses  here: Leveling The Playing Field: Digital Games & Children

StoryCorps: World Peace Games

When John Hunter started teaching in Charlottesville, Virginia more than 30 years ago, he wanted to get his students to think about major world issues. So he invented the World Peace Game. The fourth grade students are divided into countries and given a series of global crises that they solve by collaborating with each other. Hunter sat down at StoryCorps with two former World Peace Game players: 11-year-old Julianne Swope and 20-year-old Irene Newman

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

Women's Pinball League Gives Positive Tilt

On the surface, pinball seems like an innocuous enough game. Simply bat the steel balls around, rack up some points and try not to lose a turn. But there’s a darker trend lurking beneath the bright façade of the pinball machine. KALW’s Angela Johnston brings us this story.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org.

A Philosophical Approach to Finding Happiness

One of the many people exploring what it means to be happy is the French philosopher Frederic Lenoir – his new book Happiness: A Philosopher’s Guide isn’t your typical self-help book – but it does contain the optimistic view that lasting happiness is indeed possible.  

Following the Red Knot's Journey

Deborah Cramer is a visiting scholar at MIT and the author of The Narrow Edge: A Tiny Bird, an Ancient Crab, and an Epic Journey. She followed the path of the endangered sandpiper—the red knot—from one end of the earth to the other.