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Everything Teachers Need to Know about Pokémon Go

July 21, 2016
Pokémon Go is a cultural phenomenon that has gained so much in popularity over the last few weeks. This is basically an augmented reality game that you can play through your smart phone. The app uses the coordinates of your GPS to determine your location in the real world and provides you with Pokémon characters to view and catch. 'Pokémon are out there, and you need to find them. As you walk around a neighbourhood, your smartphone will vibrate when there’s a Pokémon nearby. Take aim and throw a Poké Ball… You’ll have to stay alert, or it might get away!'

Since its introduction a few weeks ago, Pokémon Go has made such a huge buzz in the EdTech community with teachers and educators debating the different possibilities to integrate the game into learning and teaching. This Reddit thread titled ‘Can Pokemon Go Provide Educational Benefit’ captures part of the heated discussion surrounding the potential use of this game in education. EdTech bloggers like Kathy Schrok and Sherry Terrel talk about the various ways Pokemon Go can be adapted in education. In her interesting article ‘Pokemon Go in The Classroom’ Schrock shares her thoughts on ‘how to use the game to expand the learning and target some of the literacies we want students to attain.’ She suggested using the game to help kids learn about data literacy, create visually appealing infographics, create mapped Google Pokemon Go Trips based on real places students have visited while playing the game, and engage students in digital storytelling activities using screenshots from the game. Pokémon Go can also help language learners. In her post ‘ 9 Fun Ways to Practice English with Pokemon Go’, Terrel explains how language teachers can  use this game to help (ESl) students learn and develop their language skills.

As for Catherine Little from The Star, PokémonGo can be an effective tool to help kids develop mapping skills and learn about responsible use of GPS. And as she stated “Parents could use the game to help children learn mapping and responsible use of GPS. Even adults could use a refresher in not blindly following GPS instructions. There are also financial literacy lessons to be learned with respect to the use of mobile data plans and their limitations. Parents can help their children learn to balance the game with their other responsibilities.”

And because playing Pokémon Go requires players to go out and look for Pokemon characters in the real world, many perceive of the game as providing a strong incentive for kids to get out and move enhancing thus their overall physical health.

Pokémon Go is also ideal for autistic learners. In an interesting article published in the Independent, Australian autism expert Craig Smith talks about the numerous educational benefits of Pokémon Go for autistic students. He particularly stressed the importance of the game in improving  autistic students social skills and raising their motivation and engagement in learning.

For more resources on the educational potential of Pokemon Go, check out these links: