Why Today’s Sharpest Teaching Strategies Include an Encounter With Pokémon Go
You can’t go half a kilometer these days without hearing about the Pokémon Go app. This popular and free-to-play mobile app was released in most regions on July 6, 2016, and has teachers scrambling to turn their classrooms into Pokémon Go habitats, while simultaneously enhancing student learning.
The game works by using your phone’s GPS to target your physical location, and then superimposes different Pokémon characters for you to catch. To do so, you need to use the Pokémon Go map, walk to a nearby PokéStop or habitat, and attempt to capture the Pokémon by tossing Poké Balls in its direction.
The very nature of the game drives one of its healthier aspects—Pokémon Go inadvertently prompts kids around the world to venture off of the couch and into the great outdoors. Sure, their primary motivation might be to encounter the likes of Charmeleon, Pikachu, and Jigglypuff, but at the same time, players are getting exercise and experiencing the wonders of Mother Nature—blue skies, sunshine, fresh air, and vitamin D.
Most teachers welcome technology in the classroom and incorporate educational apps into daily lesson plans. Yet, even with mobile devices in the classroom, educators are asking how they might leverage Pokémon Go to enhance student learning. Here are a just few ideas that might help transform your students’ cool games into learning-focused school games.
- Teach your students mapping skills by asking them to create a local map, complete with their own Pokémon encounters.
- Get your students excited about reporting on some local landmarks. PokéStops regularly include historic buildings and similar points of interest.
- Make Pokémon fusion the next art project and have students design their own Pokémon by fusing two separate characters together.
- Choose a Pokémon character and write a scientific profile including its habitat and diet.
- Capitalize on the fact that Pokémon Go uses the metric system and have students convert the kilometers they’ve logged playing the game into miles.
- Challenge your students’ creative side by having them construct a digital storybook detailing the places in which they have found Pokémon. Players simply enable their mobile device to show a live scene of where their camera is facing, and the Pokémon step into the picture. Take a screenshot to add to your digital storybook.
- Have students analyze the data recorded in the Pokédex or journal component of Pokémon Go. They’ll have access to the date and time of all events, height and weight of each Pokémon they’ve captured, and more.
- Encourage the writers in your classroom to create a work of fiction in which the main characters are Pokémon.
- Music enthusiasts can compose new pieces to be played while traveling to the next PokéStop.
- Direct students to map out surrounding PokéStops, plan a variety of different routes, and calculate the distance between each stop.
According to Sensor Tower data, Pokémon Go had a record-setting 7.2 million downloads during its first week of release,* providing a great deal of opportunity for teachers who are pro-Pokémon to include a dose of educational technology into their curriculum by gamifying their classroom.
If technology-based teaching strategies don’t come easy for you, there are some great programs available to help strengthen your skills. Walden University's online degree programs for educators allow you to earn your degree in a way that fits your life and schedule. An accredited online institution, Walden offers education degree programs which include bachelor’s, master’s and post-master’s, doctoral, certificate, and teacher licensure and endorsement programs.
*Fortune, Pokémon Go Shatters Apple App Store Record by Jonathan Vanian, on the Internet at http://fortune.com/2016/07/22/pokemon-go-apple-app-store/.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.