Gotta catch ’em all! This blog post is purely an opinion piece because I feel compelled to weigh in on the number of Pokemon Go education related articles that populated my inbox this morning. And I’m sure some of you will agree with me and some of you will not but that is the risk in having opinions on pop culture.
I, vicariously, experienced all the excitement of Pokemon Go through my son, one of the first generation Pokemon card owners when it was first introduced in North America. This makes his access to Pokemon Go very interesting. He owns and pays for his own Smart Phone and I no longer need to know his whereabouts and he is at the age when he can decide to stay out all night to chase Pokemon is he so chooses. In fact, he lives several miles away in another quadrant of the city. That makes a huge difference to my opinion. I can enjoy seeing him search and show me where Pokemon are but I no longer have to accompany him on the journey from gym to gym.
Having said that, he did 14 levels and 18,000 steps in 24 hours during which he also held down a full time job for 8 of those hours.
Please do not make Pokemon Go into an “educational tool!” It doesn’t need to be. Use other things to create great experiences in school like Geocaching or Nature Walk Journals but leave Pokemon Go for kids in the summer when they are off and can do (sometimes) what they want to do. Not every app or tech innovation needs to be an educational tool. Some need to be left to pop culture.
Now there is a public library in the States, dropping lures so that people chasing Pokemon will also enter their library and, perhaps, browse or become patrons but that is another story.
There were also Pokemon at church this weekend. In fact the church was a Pokemon gym.
So, teachers, leave it alone. While you are planning to work with it during the school year it is busy whooshing past you giving way to the next cool app. Leave it for kids to enjoy and those who loved Pokemon the first time around.
As one 20-something mentioned in a news interview, “All of us 10 year old boys were thinking: if this game could be real life…” I agree, we are all having fun with it so, teachers, don’t touch.