There is an undeniable force that has been all over social media and even right in front of our faces in the “real” world. The app Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm as the most popular app in history. At this point you are probably saying to yourself, “wait a minute… is this guy really talking about Pokemon Go on a Higher Ed blog???”. Yes I am.
It can hardly be considered out of context to talk about gaming and education. A simple Google search of Pokemon and education will give you enough results to… well… write a Higher Ed blog post.
The lighter side of the Pokemon Go craze is that it offers ways for Universities and its employees to interact with students. If you walk into the USF St. Petersburg library you’ll see a way for students to vote for their favorite Pokemon. While this may seem silly, it offers students a way to engage and feel a part of USFSP. This sense of community can only be a positive factor when it comes to student retention and satisfaction. Read this Ed Tech Magazine article to see how other Universities are using Pokemon Go to interact with, and even recruit, students.
There is also a deeper possibility for Higher Ed and Pokemon Go. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a faculty fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University, explains in this Brookings.edu article that “Perhaps, this new fad is teaching us something that goes well beyond the capture of anime. It might just bear the seeds of a potential learning revolution.” There is no doubt that educational technology companies will be studying Pokemon Go in hopes of creating something that can bring this type of excitement and engagement to learning.
But how can professors use Pokemon Go to help them right now? In this article from Ed Tech Magazine, you can see how some already are. It is, of course, very possible that Pokemon Go will be a short lived phenomenon but the lessons for educators will remain. Find ways to engage students where they are, help them see the future possibilities of today’s fads, and find creative ways to incorporate things students love into your classroom.