Sunday, August 7, 2016

Ten Ways to Use Pokemon Go in your Classroom this year

You may or may not be a Pokemon player. Either way as Pokemon Go fever sweeps the world it can serve us well to understand it and find ways to make it useful in our classrooms. And, NO, I do not mean use it as a reward. We have been here before with Minecraft so you can definitely take some of the ideas and use with other games as well.

1. Make them write fan fiction about Pokeomn Go adventures.
When it is appropriate let and even encourage students to write about Pokemon Go. Students often lack detail in their writing, Pokemon Go can be a great catalyst to adding details to a story. The complexity and richness of the Pokemon world can also encourage students to write fan fiction stories that spean multiple chapters. The advantage of supporting longer more complex writing is conducive to writing development, new and rich vocabulary and reading comprehension.
2. Make them write tips or steps.
Expository writing is often hard for students. One expository task is writing directions. I have seen many students struggle to write out directions for making a sandwich. Instead, we could challenge our students to write out the steps to achieving a goal on Pokemon Go. Imagine the direction to hatching a Pokemon egg, or getting your squirtle to evolve. If you know nothing about Pokemon, that's OK, your students can generate these ideas very readily.
3. Make a directions video.
This is very similar to the previous point but this time the composition is multi modal. Students can use still frames or video of a partner playing to create those. They can even narrate and edit the video teaching 21st century composing skills.
DO NOT FORGET TO LET THEM PUBLISH ELECTRONICALLY
This will create a sense of audience and provide examples of products

4. Learn about cultural or art sites.
POkemon Go relies on public sites. Ask your students to report on the sites available in the community. Students can write down the sites and then research the site, artist and significance.
DO NOT FORGET TO HAVE EQUIVALENT ACTIVITIES FOR THE NON-PLAYERS
You can use non- gaming apps like Google Maps or paper alternatives.

5. Work on the metric system and conversions.
Poekemon Go is metric. This is a great opportunity to discuss metric measurement and their conversion. This is great because I hear that metric is important for science.
6. Discuss the value of effort and learning from experience.
When we develop Grit in students we emphasize the role of persistence and coping with failure. Make students relate their efforts on Pokemon Go. Every one of them will have a story of persevernce that you can then turn into a story about academics.
7. Gamify your classroom with Pokemon Go like idea.
This is definitely for those ready to use game mechanics in their classroom. You will need to get at least a rudimnetary sense of the game before you start. I can easily see a classroom in which workstations are poke stops generating tokens for completed works. The tokens can be converted to Pokemon eggs. Hatching eggs can be related to number of pages read, homework completion- you name it. Leaderboards would also be helpful.
8. Create a Pokemon Go diary.
Have students write a daily diary about Pokemon or other daily activities. The richness of their experiences can help support their notion of strategic thinking and problem solving- if you help them occasionally to think in those terms.
9. Use Pokemon go ideas to teach about observation in nature (bird watching, animal watching etc.
10 Teach self-regulation with devices using activity journaling.
Maybe the hardest challenge in teaching 21st century kids is the difficulty in teaching self monitoring of device use. A way to negotiate this difficulty is to ask students to log in their device use as a way to start thinking about how much and for what ourpose they use the phone. Manuaaly logging the information in is crucial because it makes them actively think about their use.

In short I belive we can use popular games to support learning of skills and as a way to update our classrooms and make them more engaging!

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