If you haven’t heard about the new MASSIVE app hit from Niantic you may be living under a rock. Pokémon GO has been downloaded an estimated 5 gazillion times since launching on the iOS and Android app stores just earlier this month. It is on track to quickly outnumber Twitter in terms of daily users and is changing how folks interact with their world.
If you aren’t familiar with the app, it uses augmented reality to provide the game player with the the ability to “catch” Pokémon in the wild, and train them. You can read more about the actual app HERE. And if you’re not sure what augmented reality is, read more about that HERE.
Pokémon Go, which involves trying to “catch” Pikachu or Squirtle or other creatures with your smartphone, is an inherently social experience. You need to be walking around—on the streets, in public places—to catch the Pokémon. – The New Yorker
My initial thought when I downloaded the app and started to use it, was “How can I leverage this in my school?” And I’m sure that many other educators out there are already thinking about the same thing. For those who aren’t in education, even though it’s summertime, we are constantly honing our craft and embracing current trends in technology for our classrooms. And this is not just a trend in technology. Pokémon GO is a cultural phenomenon!
So I have played with the app a bit and learned how it works. I have hunted some Pokémon in the real world and even captured a bunch. I haven’t yet made it to a gym to train my Pokémon (hopefully soon, because I need to be at level 5 before I am allowed to). While doing this, I was constantly thinking about the use of this in the classroom and school.
Here are some ideas I have come up with:
- Organize a Pokémon Hunt Evening: How about organizing an evening at the school, during the summer, where parents and students can come in and hunt for Pokémon? We can teach parents about the app for those who are unfamiliar with it, provide devices for students and parents who don’t have their own to use, and at the same time, provide maps so parents and students can explore and become familiar with the school prior to the opening in September.
- Use lures to bring in Pokémon during school events: There are things that you can do (purchase) in the app to “lure” Pokémon to a particular place. Lures and incense draw certain Pokémon in. If we do this during open house nights, concerts, and other school events, we can encourage students and parents to attend who might not otherwise.
- Become a sponsored location: I was reading about this today. Niantic has plans to allow businesses to become sponsored locations. I’m not really sure what exactly that means, but it is likely being able to make your location a gym or Pokestop. You want to do these things because it forces users to actually come to your location. You want to do this with your school buildings. Period.
- Use Social Media to share: Once you have events planned out, or want to let others know that you’re supporting the Pokémon GO craze, it will be important to create images to share on social media that show that. I plan on taking some screenshots of the game showing the Pokémon at my actual school (or maybe creating them with Pixlr). This will be especially important before events like concerts and open houses. Let everyone know ahead of time where the Pokémon will be so that they can plan on being there to catch them!
What do you think? How else can we use this tool in the classroom and school? Comment below and share with everyone!