Pokemon Go: How Can We Use It and What Can We Learn?

There is a very decent chance that the Pokemon Go craze has either impacted your life or the life of someone you know over the last two weeks. It is beyond viral…it is a cultural phenomenon of epic proportions.

3x06jZjk.jpg-largeYou may be completely annoyed by it or you may already be addicted to it. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that school is starting soon and there is a 100% chance that many of your students are involved. For that reason alone, it is worth learning more about it.

My wife, Shelley, spoke with a neighborhood friend and pediatrician this weekend. He started playing it because he knew it would be something he could talk to his young patients about that would help put them at ease and build stronger relationships (He may or may not now be addicted). This is absolutely a Teach Like a Pirate type of rapport-building mindset applied in another field. Kudos to him…and to educators who will step out of their comfort zone to explore something that is likely a big deal for the students who will be walking through their doors very soon.

But why is it so popular? One of the most critical philosophies in Teach Like a Pirate is to always look at the world around you and find what is engaging people and then ask, “How can we use that?”

What are the underlying principles behind it that make it so addicting and how can we embed them into education?

It’s worth noting that Michael Matera wrote an entire book, Explore Like a Pirate, on gamification and how it can be used to create powerful learning experiences for students. If you are intrigued by the success of Pokemon Go, reading Michaels’s book is an absolute no-brainer. We are incredibly proud to publish it as part of the PIRATE series and I wrote more about it in my post, The Attention Span Myth.

I am including several links below to blogs, articles, and podcasts that have been written about the educational lessons that can be learned from Pokemon Go. I will update the blog as more posts are written and discovered…but this is a great start.

Happy exploring!!

My first link is to the fantastic blog of #piratewife, Shelley Burgess. She makes wonderful points about the opportunities for connections that exist via the game.

Why Every Parent (and Educator) Should Play Pokemon Go 

This 2nd link is to the blog of the amazing David Theriault. He was fast onto the battlefield and took some arrows for being early. Yet another reason I love him…you should explore his entire blog and read additional posts!

14 Reasons Why Pokemon Go is the Future of Learning

Link 3 is from the co-author of Launch (an AMAZING book on design thinking), John Spencer:

Nine Things Schools Can Learn from Pokemon Go

Link 4 is from Daniel Williamson and has many thought-provoking ideas on the implications for the #edtech world:

Five Things Educational Technology Could Learn from Pokemon Go

Link 5 is to a Techlandia podcast by Jon Samuelson with guest, David Theriault. (I love Jon’s podcasts…check out more of them!)

Techlandia: Pokemon Go Edition

Link 6 is a Pokemon Go post from David Theriault that has several tips for playing. I enjoyed reading it so I thought you may enjoy it, too.

Pokemon Go Bag: Tips and Resources for Playing the Game

Link 7 (New as of 7/26/16) is from Brian McCann, the 2011 Massachusetts High School Principal of the Year:

Why Can’t Schools Be More Like Pokemon Go

Link 8 (New on 7/26/16) is from Ryan Reed and centers on using Pokemon Go to teach Digital Citizenship:

Digital Citizenship With Pokemon Go

Link 9 (New on 7/26/16) is an article in EdTech Focus on K-12 written by Meg Conlan:

3 Ways Pokemon Go Can Create Meaningful Learning Opportunities

Remember! It’s not about whether you like it…it’s about exploring why it is so popular and what we can learn from it to MAKE SCHOOL AMAZING for kids!







Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

10 thoughts on “Pokemon Go: How Can We Use It and What Can We Learn?

  1. I’m so excited! My campus is 100%TLAP, and I’m reading Learn like a Pirate. I also purchased Play like a Pirate this summer. I started playing Pokémon Go with my kids, and knew somehow this can be an exciting part of my classroom. Thank you for sharing these sites,and I look forward to sharing ideas.

    • Thanks, Jamie!! I’m excited that your campus in on board the #tlap ship and you are going to love Learn Like a Pirate and Play Like a Pirate…thanks for your support!!

  2. So true. As a middle school principal, I began playing the game so as Dave says, when school starts I will be able to discuss it with our students. I have to say I totally enjoy it! At Bible School tonight some kids started talking about it and I chimed in. They immediately said, “You play?”. I told them I loved the game and they gave me some pointers. Instant rapport!

  3. I wrote a post about using Pokemon Go in the classroom today as well! I think it’s a fantastic tool to bring math concepts to life for our students. When they ask “why does this matter?” we can show them how it actually affects them!

  4. I wrote a post about using Pokemon Go in the classroom today as well! I think it’s a fantastic tool to bring math concepts to life for our students. When they ask “why does this matter?” we can show them how it actually affects them!

    For some reason, my website accidentally has an added space so it doesn’t work from my first comment! Here’s the correct link:

  5. I actually began playing Pokemon Go, and one great thing it does is it gets the kids up an exploring outside! This game encourages outside activity. It also encourages them to explore different parts of their city. The game attaches special game interactions to certain city structures, such as monuments, and historical structures and sites located around their city that kids may not even know about. Exploration is good, even if it takes catching Pokemon to make it happen. As a parent and a teacher I love it!

  6. Pokémon Go is just as interesting now as Pokémon trading cards were when they came out in the 90’s. There was such a sweeping craze about it then and there still is one now. Whether we like or dislike Pokémon, think it is worth the time or a waste of time, one thing is for sure: Pokémon is a discourse of our students and technological world and we need to learn any new discourse in order to better connect with our students and each other. We are taught to respect other diverse languages, ELL classrooms and instruction, and teach our students about having cultural sensitivity. While there are discourses within languages, Pokémon Go is no different. It is a discourse of a modern day language that is worth learning about so we can move closer to having deeper discussions with our students.

  7. I agree with being up-to-date on the newest trends so I have been asking my teenaged children about this craze. But the Pirate Teacher in me wants to figure out a way to do something similar without using the actual app. (Like using pictures around the room as QR codes, collecting points by doing something with their device, etc.) Unfortunately, I am struggling to figure some creative ways to incorporate this. Anyone have ideas or other apps that would help me?

  8. I have developed a marking rubric that uses the Pokémon evolving characters to motivate students to ‘level-up’ through the curriculum. I’m happy to show you via email. Thanks for your ideas here. I am currently researching gamification and how to apply these in my teaching practice. Exciting times! Thanks again

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