I've been meaning to post something on poverty for months, so here goes. I have taught a course called Poverty and Human Capability just once, so I'm no expert, and even that course was team-taught with an economist friend of mine, so I really only taught half of it. Our original plan was for me to teach the first half of the course, looking at questions of definition and giving an introduction to distributive justice. Colleagues at Washington & Lee University with more experience, though, suggested that the political philosophy part would go better if we first taught students about the causes of poverty. They would then be less likely to blame the poor (for alleged laziness or whatever) and to take seriously the idea that others might have a responsibility to do something to help. So we split the course into four quarters: definitions of poverty, causes of poverty, distributive justice, and possible solutions to poverty. It went well, but I think now that maybe causes of poverty should come first. That might sound odd, but the most interesting definition of poverty is based on the capabilities approach developed by Amartya Sen and defended in Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities. And that book is best read after you have read some Rawls and some utilitarian philosophy. So actually the best order seems to be: causes of poverty, ideas about distributive justice, definitions of poverty, solutions to poverty. Between the last two parts I intend next semester also to include a look at how the USA is doing in terms of the development of capability, based on The Measure of America.
That site has some nice tools, including a well-o-meter, which lets you measure your own level of human development (I scored about 8.5 out of 10). There is something questionable about poverty-based games (the apparently defunct Chickens in choppers had a post once making a somewhat similar point, as I recall), but perhaps they have educational value. Here are some more that I have found:
http://playspent.org/ -- a game designed to educate people about what it is like to be poor in the USA
http://secure.pdcnet.org/8525737F00588478/file/94F5EA59723DAEA585257876006979FA/$FILE/teachphil_2011_0034_0001_0021_0036.pdf -- an article about using Second Life to teach social justice and Rawls
http://whoarethejoneses.org/ -- compares your income with that of other people around the world
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/03/white-educated-and-wealthy-congratulations-you-live-in-a-bubble.html -- provides a quiz on how much of a bubble you live in (is aimed primarily at white Americans)
http://www.apaththatsclear.com/index.html -- giving-to-charity games
http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/resources/how-rich-you-are.php -- a rich and interactive website making the case that you should give to help the poor in other countries