If you’re an educator, you should. One of my teacher friends, who is a total gamer, reeled me in to this game. I saw the game exploding all over Twitter almost immediately and downloaded the app to see what all the fuss was about. I have learned to Whip and Nae Nae, memorized odd lyrics, watched Vines, learned to solve the rubix cube, and more all for the sake of kids. After all, we need to know what are students are into to make deep, meaningful connections, right?
I played a bit, invited my daughters to join me, and got a few extra fitness steps that day, but I didn’t really see the value until the “Teach Like a Pirate” Twitter chat on Monday night. (Here’s a link to a participate learning archive of the chat and all its resources). My eyes were opened to the possibilities like George Couros discussed in his post. Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.
I try to always think about whatever is new through the lens of not only is good for kids, but is it good pedagogy? In this Pokemon Go world, I was only looking at the surface, thinking it was novel, fun, great exercise, etc., but after the chat I felt differently. If one draws an analogy between what Pokemon Go is, its intricacies, and learning. There’s a whole mega load that can be done.
Below are some things I’d like to try in the name of Pokemon GO:
- Go Play the Game with your class- playing a game that allows you to know your students really quickly. Whether at recess or as an ice breaker, gather up a couple of devices and build teams of 3-4. Head out in search of Pokemon. You will also be able to discuss hallway behavior, see generous, collaborative spirits come out-or not, see who reads and follows directions-or not, and give a tour to those new to the school on your way. If we can Save Fred, why can’t we play Pokemon GO?
- Build Community during the first week of school-ask students about the game. Have they played? What level are they on? What’s their favorite capture and why? What does their avatar look like? Have them play for homework, take pictures, and share narratives of their adventures. A lot could be revealed about family life, interests, energy levels, competitive natures, and mindset, making it a great way to get to know them really well. Even if they’re not playing, they will probably offer up what they did instead, which still connects students and teachers.
- Use Pokemon GO for working on Math Content-Denis Sheeran got my wheels moving about this. His first tweet in the chat was:This could be done in almost any grade level, varying the level of graphing required. I started thinking about how we could have students make arrays showing the number of captures of a particularly pokemon, maybe work on multiplication. Or, the probability and statistics involved with the question “what’s the likelihood of catching a pidgey vs. a squirtle in your neighborhood?”. If a teacher just starts thinking about the six math strands, he/she can easily teach using the Pokemon Platform, maybe even use it as data collection like these students. Apparently, Denis has a book coming out called Instant Relevance which is exactly what this game allows us to do, take student interests and bring them into learning.
- Use Pokemon GO for geography lessons-Can you imagine how much more meaningful teaching directions, longitude, latitude, etc. would be in this context? Students could even draw their own maps, creating legends that include their Pokemon, Pokestops, or Gyms. Have a specific content in social studies you also have to cover like the Regions of your State in conjunction with the indigeneous people? Ask kids which Pokemon would live most compatably with which indigeneous people and be able to survive in that given region. Now you have habitats, regions, informational reading, map skills, writing, and high interest learning all rolled up into one.
- Use Pokemon Go for writing digital stories in combination with Google’s Tour Builder–Students could locate their captures and write digital stories of how that hunt went down, dramatizing it for their readers, of course. It would be fun to use the augmented reality tool here, so that the imagination could go wild and the responsibility of digital citizenship could be taught.
- Use the Idea of Evolving Pokemon to teach Growth Mindset-When Pokemon reach a certain level, have a special, or are traded, evolution can take place. We can use this idea to get students to see how learning is the same way in a language that makes sense to them.
This is only a sampling of what could be done, but I wanted to archive and share these ideas. If you’d like to see more, remember to see this link with the archived ideas.
Hopefully, you’re seeing the importance of Pokemon Go in the classroom. After all like Denis Sheeran said in the chat,
Happy Pokemon Hunting,