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Create standards-aligned activities with Pokemon Go

By Kathy Schrock
August 3, 2016
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Pokemon Go is a mobile, augmented reality game that requires users to get out and walk around with their smartphones. Users find Pokeballs at Pokestops, use them to capture Pokemon, add them to their Pokedex and “battle” on a team for control of a gym. On the surface it may not seem like a tool to promote deep learning, but it can be.

Even if you don’t want to play, one interesting aspect of the game is all the data collected from gathering objects and capturing Pokemon. Imagine how excited students would be if you created classroom activities and projects using data they have personally collected on their phones!

I recently posted an in-depth post on my Discovery Education blog, Kathy’s Katch, outlining samples of these activities and including resources to help you implement them in the classroom.

Next, I started thinking about the new 2016 ISTE Standards for Students, recently released at ISTE 2016 in June, and I wanted to map some of these activities to the standards to help us ensure students attain mastery of them.

Consider how activities and projects using Pokemon Go data might address two of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students, Computational Thinker and Creative Communicator.

Meeting the Computational Thinking standard

Computational Thinker is one of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students.

Students have to decide how to organize their treasure trove of data in order to process it, manipulate it, present it and analyze it. What is the purpose of their end result? Who decides that — the teacher or student?

Does the teacher provide problem-based questions such as, “On which date did you collect the most Pokeballs? Graph the results and reflect on why you had access to more Pokestops on that date?”

Or does the student create a question such as, “If the Stardust rating of each Pokemon was equal to dollars (i.e. a 3100 Stardust rating would equal $3,100), how could I buy a $200,000 house using the least number of Pokemon?” These problem-based learning questions may sound silly, but the data analysis and manipulation skills needed to answer them provide a deep dive into the data literacy skillset.

Meeting the Creative Communicator standard

Creative Communicator is one of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students.

It is easy for students to come up with ways to be a Creative Communicator using their Pokemon Go dataset. Here are just a few examples:

Infographics. Once students have manipulated and processed their data, they can create an infographic to showcase a certain aspect of their data, such as number of Pokespots visited or the power levels of all of the Pokemon in their Pokedex.

Digital stories. Students can use screenshots taken during the game to create a digital story. The creation of this digital story would include the preparation, processing and publication of the story using various technology tools for storyboarding, drawing, editing, compiling, narrating and hosting.

Students could pin their Pokespot locations on Google Earth and include screenshots of the spot. This would allow them to share local spots of interest with a global audience.

Sketchnotes. Students could write a reflection about their experience playing the game. When that was complete, they could then create a sketchnote that would visually represent the important points and process of their reflection. This is another way to repurpose the data and information gathered during the game.

Podcasts. Students could create a podcast from their written reflection to share with others who are new to the game. Having an identified authentic audience always provides additional engagement for students.

Using personally collected data, whether from Pokemon Go or a survey students create and administer using another tool, can help students become better data analyzers, creative project designers and communicators.

As stated in the overview of the ISTE Standards for Students, “Today’s students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape.” Whether they practice that using data from the real world or the virtual world of Pokemon Go, it is just important they attain these skills!

Kathy Schrock is an educational technologist and adjunct instructor at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Find more ideas on her blog Kathy’s Kaffeeklatsch and follow her on Twitter @kathyschrock.

Find more ideas for incorporating Pokemon Go in school on the EdTekHub.