Wednesday, 20 July 2016

What can we Learn from Pokemon Go?

Before this week, I only had a vague idea about what Pokemon are. I had seen students at school with cards featuring cool little monster like creatures with funny names. My daughters even had a few cards lying around the house that they had received from school friends. Other than that, only recollections of images that I could not 100% identify as Pokemon related from television and other media sources.

And then over the last couple of weeks, I started hearing about this Pokemon Go on the new and seeing Facebook articles about it and how there was a craze going on and there were newsworthy stories of individual hurting themselves.

When I started to see that people I know from Facebook or Twitter were involved in Pokemon Go, I decided to check it out for myself.

So, 24 hours in and the server issues that the game is experiencing from its popularity are clearly apparent, but we (dad and the girls) did get a short amount of time this afternoon to try it out. We did not successfully find any Pokemon this afternoon, but we will continue to search over the next few days. Despite our lack of success, we did walk about 3 km as we ventured to the County Library in search of Pokemon. While there, we played the library's summer reading game and ended up coming home with three books from different contests and games they had running.

I believe that Pokemon Go can be a fantastic lesson in technology. Here a "game" has been provided to individuals that harnesses the power of Google Maps (or similar), GPS location tracking (quite accurately), and augmented reality in order to capture little monsters throughout our community.

It is this use of technology that truly makes me a lover of technology because the outcomes of the technology are more than just passing a level or beating a friend (or some unknown person on the internet). Below are a couple of tweets from one of Kiera's friend's dad.

I don't know if the makers of Pokemon Go expected that the fitness aspect or the social aspect would be so key, but it is a truly wonderful side effect of this game. And that is the point that I want to make: It is not the technology that is amazing in this case. Sure they are wonderful, but all of these technologies have existed for years. It was taking all of them as a package, adding a series of characters that kids and adults alike are familiar with and creating something new.

That is what we hope our students can leverage with their technologies that they have access to at school. Can we have our students take the learning that has occurred within the classroom and combine the technological tools that are available to our students in school or at home and so that they can create something that never existed before or combine their learning with their passion so that they know more, understand more, and are hungry to seek out more knowledge?

I believe Pokemon Go is just the tip of the iceberg. It is the new model for others to follow and improve upon and as consumers we are the ones who will benefit.

All the best in your Pokemon Go adventures. Stay safe, keep your head up! 

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