Finding Educational Inspiration with PokemonGo

Over a week ago, I attended a panel at #ISTE2016 about Augmented Reality in education. Having just realized the amazingness that is Google Cardboard, I felt that this panel would be an appropriate next step and the panel included a wide-range of experts, including Brad Waid, Katrina Keene, Drew Minock, Shannon Soger, and Kolsten Keene. But one quote stood out to the me the most:

"AR is already being used at consumer level so students need to be one the building these experiences"




Now if your understanding of Augmented Reality was very low over a week ago, this statement would be incredibly easy to brush off as false: Augmented Reality? Wasn't that in a really lame X-Files episode? This isn't something that students will actually do as jobs.


But then Augmented Reality hit center stage when PokemonGo went live:


In case you missed it, Pokémon Go mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, battle, train, and trade virtual Pokémon who appear throughout the real world with the use of their phones.


I am not ashamed to admit that I am an avid Pokemon Trainer with #TeamValor. I have wandered the Central Valley gathering Pokemon, looking like a lunatic that is addicted to her phone. But it is SO. MUCH. FUN.

I was in the middle of an intense battle at Reedley College. 
Not only have I gained an intense array of Pokemon, but I have also experienced some of its awesomeness:
  • In order to catch Pokemon, you have to walk around and find them. 
    Just an Eevee. Hanging out in a parking lot.
  • On top of that, you also have to find PokeStops to gain more resources like Pokeballs and Gyms to battle with other trainers. Interestingly enough, these locations are in totally random locations; many are artistic locations (statues, gardens, fountains, murals, etc.), religious locations (a little ironic since many religious institutions have deemed Pokemon Satanic), and just major landmarks. I have had more than one instance of "that's cool! I didn't know this was here!" Sometimes these locations even have a description explaining its significance.
    Who knew this was in Reedley??
  • Another awesome thing about PokemonGo, is that it forces you to go outside and move around, which this is saying a lot since its currently triple digits in Fresno and I'm still running out from my air conditioned room because there is an Ponyta nearby. I have also seen more people walking around outside in the last few days than ever before; in fact I just saw 10 people walking around Reedley College catching Pokemon with me.
Needless to say, PokemonGo is awesome, but this post isn't just about me nerding out Pokemon (ok, maybe a little bit). When I was battling other trainers last night, my boyfriend's mom brought up an interesting point: imagine how many people it took to make this game a reality. This took me back to the quote that was said at the Augmented Reality panel:

"AR is already being used at consumer level so students need to be one the building these experiences"


Now that we can all agree that Augmented Reality is being used at a consumer level, then how do we get students building these experiences? The Panel had some very interesting ideas, like creating AR points around campus so that visiting parents can get more information about the school and classes. I have no idea how students could go about doing this, but I'm sure with the popularity of PokemonGo students would be excited to create something similar for the school. Other ways include integrating AR into the classroom with Google Cardboard and getting them to create 360 pictures or other applications.

But even though AR is the hot new trend at the moment, what will it be in two years? Five years? Ten years? Even the panel brought up that 65% of students will be doing jobs that currently do not exist. Obviously, we need prepare our students so they are future ready and this can be done by exposing them to new technologies that will allow them to build and create something new. This will also help them improve their critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, which are undeniable skills that are needed for the future.

So with the power of augmented reality realized through PokemonGo, how will this affect you and your students in the classroom?

I'll be pondering this some more as I'm hunting Pokemon today...








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