This one was written by Matthew Farber, Ed.D. for Edutopia. Matthew teaches social studies at Valleyview Middle School, in Denville, New Jersey. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Educational Technology Leadership. He is also an author, blogger, and an adjunct. Here is why Matthew thinks Pokémon GO has education potential.
Not sure what Pokémon GO is exactly? Not to worry, as we have broken in down for school staff here.
I will admit it. I downloaded Pokémon GO to my phone the day it was released. Was it fun? Yes. Should teachers embrace it? Absolutely!
Some of the early press Pokémon GO garnered was negative. It included stories of discovered dead bodies and people getting mugged at Pokéstops (locations in the real world in which you collect virtual items). And then there were the reports of the (now fixed) bug that potentially gave Pokémon GO’s publishers the rights view user’s Gmail accounts. These stories, however, reflect other technologies that entered the mainstream marketplace.
Only a few years ago teachers were warned to stay away from social media. Nowadays, schools regularly use social media to communicate with parents, students, and staff. Where I teach, snow delay announcements come on Twitter before phone calls are made!
Pokémon GO is elegant in design: simple to learn, yet difficult to master. The mechanics of play in Pokémon GO are relatively easy to learn: you flick “Pokéballs” at augmented reality monsters on your phone’s screen. No directions are given in the app — that is, until you catch enough pokémon and level up to join a “gym” and a team (Go Team Valor!).