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Learning with the Lights Off

Collection of essays by Devin and Marsha Orgeron

The art of filmmaking has long been used to entertain visitors to the big screen, but its influence on the classroom is often overlooked. The 20th century was rife with educational films designed to teach students about such topics as lunchroom behavior, sex education, race relations and various types of disease. Many of these films have been relegated to the dustbins of education history, but some fans are trying to preserve their legacy. Devin and Marsha Orgeron are associate professors in the Film Studies Program at North Carolina State University. They’ve just published a collection of essays, along with Dan Streible, called, “Learning with the Lights Off: Educational Film in the United States” (Oxford University Press/2012).

Alex Granados joined The State of Things in July 2010. He got his start in radio as an intern for the show in 2005 and loved it so much that after trying his hand as a government reporter, reader liaison, features, copy and editorial page editor at a small newspaper in Manassas, Virginia, he returned to WUNC. Born in Baltimore but raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Alex moved to Raleigh in time to do third grade twice and adjust to public school after having spent years in the sheltered confines of a Christian elementary education. Alex received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also has a minor in philosophy, which basically means that he used to think he was really smart but realized he wasn’t in time to switch majors. Fishing, reading science fiction, watching crazy movies, writing bad short stories, and shooting pool are some of his favorite things to do. Alex still doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up, but he is holding out for astronaut.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.