Episode #60

These Games Could Be Good for Young Brains

Safer football, homemade Minecraft and a little dose of time travel.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Games have power, so this week, we play a few that can motivate kids to learn more, whether they realize it or not. And we see how a test case of a new technology for football might help keep young heads safer (and smarter) from injury.

We’re familiar with GPS navigation and how smartphones use it to provide information about what’s around us, but Rabbi Owen Gottlieb of the Converjent Jewish gaming organization has deployed the technology in his Jewish Time Jump for fun, education and maybe a little connection (or reconnection for some) to Jewish history.

“My interest is capturing the imagination of young learners," he says.  Are you ready for the scavenger hunt?

Then there’s Minecraft. Don’t know what it is?  Well, South Park has an episode just for adults.  For WNYC's John Keefe, he had to take drastic measures to reclaim his computer from his daughters' Minecraft mania. With help from his girls, ages 8 and 10, they built their very own computer, just so they could play Minecraft.

Finally, to the football field where concerns continue over concussions and possible brain damage. Reporter Tracey Samuelson visited a youth football team using new technology under their helmets that monitors hits and maybe, in the process, lets parents make a more informed decision about what is an acceptable risk in the name of the game. But it's never just a simple choice. 

The Rabbi Who Codes

Want to transform into a reporter for the Jewish Times Gazette circa 1909? There's an app for that. 


A Sensor that Could Change the Way Kids Play Football

First there were pads and helmets. Now, there are blinking lights. The latest technology for protecting football players is a device called Checklight, which measures and displays the force of head impacts players experience when they make a tackle or take a hit.  


1,021 Reasons Why This Family Built a Computer Just to Play Minecraft

Minecraft is the mega-popular video game that is all about building. It's sort of like Legos for the digital set. John Keefe, head of WNYC's data news team, channeled his family's Minecraft mania into a creative building project for the real-world: He and his daughter put together a computer from scratch so they could have a machine dedicated to the game. 


Portal 2 is a video game where players bounce through three dimensional spaces, in the process, learning a bit about physics.

Five Video Games Your Middle Schooler Should Be Playing (Plus a Bonus One)

Check out this list for ways to convert a video game habit into an educational opportunity. 


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