Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gotta Catch 'EM All: Pokémon Go and History

Hunting for Pokémons
photo by Lance Mosier
Pokémon Go has definitely swept the country this summer like nothing I've seen in awhile. Everywhere you turn you hear people talking about it. I have two children who love Pokémon. They have collected the cards and played the Nintendo DS Pokémon Games. Although I was reluctant at first to download this on my phone, I was curious to see what my children would think about the game and I thought it might be fun bonding opportunity for us. I definitely see the fun in the game and know next fall I will have students in my classroom who have played or are playing this game.

The best analogy to Pokémon Go is that of a massive interactive treasure hunt. What is very cool about this game is the augmented reality component that allows you to both interact with the real world and the virtual world.

Like many cutting edge and new technology, Pokémon Go definitely has some "concerns" that have come up the last few days.  Some of these concerns I have linked in the articles I have posted at the bottom of this blog post. I really like the idea of this fun interactive app and it has gotten me thinking on how I could leverage this  into helping student's learn about history and geography. These are at least my early thoughts and still are a work in progress.

Interactive Google Maps:

I wrote about Historical Timelines using Google Maps in an earlier post as a way for students to create an interactive Google Map. I wonder if I could have students create a Google Map of Pokéstops of historical places around the country and improve the descriptions of these places to help others learn the history of these places.

Some Tools That Might Help With This:  

Clio is a Historical Interactive Map that uses guides users to thousands of historical and cultural sites throughout the United States. They do have a website you can use to navigate or they also have an app available for both Apple and Google Play.

History HERE is another similar app that helps you find historic locations near you.

***NEW 7/18/16***
The Historical Marker Database to find historical markers from around the country.

Dr. Eric Langhorst also has some great resources on his blog Getting Geeky With Google Maps that have lots of helpful videos and resources to learn more on how to create interactive maps.

Ethical Norms,  Behaviors, and Legal Stuff:

What has also been fascinating is different places that have become Pokéstops and gyms have very actively courting Pokémon players. For public historians, museums, and libraries this is helping pull people into these locations.

Because these places were created with an algorithm other places have asked not to have players play due to the respect needed at such places.  I think this is rightly so and makes for a great teachable moment with students and my own children as we play about expectations of decorum. 

United States Holocaust Museum:

Arlington National Cemetery:

US National Archives Twitter Account 7/23/16

US National Archives Tumblr Account 7/23/16

Hunting for Pokémons
Photo by Lance Mosier
Although Pokémon Go is a hit, there are also a lot of privacy concerns as well which might make for some good discussions with students.

  • How much information are you willing to share to a private company? 
  • Are there good and/or bad consequences of this? 
  • Could the government force the company of Pokémon Go to give up data on users? Would they need a warrant? 

All of these questions would make for some good debates. USA Today's article  While You Track Pokémon, Pokemon Go Tracks You might be a good place to have students read before we debate these questions. 

Also I saw this article on twitter Tuesday night Is Pokémon Illegal? via Associate's Mind that raises interesting questions about trespassing and legal concerns involving virtual reality and "attractive nuisances." This also might make for some interesting debate and research topics for students. 

I am wondering if I could have students generate ground rules for playing Pokémon Go, respecting public property, safety needs and concerns when playing, and why certain places should not be places to play Pokémon GO. Might make for an interesting discussion to have with students about why some places like Battlefield National Parks or certain museums should or should not have active Pokémon Go players playing there.

Pokémon GO Articles:

Hunting for Pokémons
Photo by Lance Mosier
Here are some articles I've collected the past few days as the Pokémon Go craze has really taken off. I will try and keep updating these articles as I come across them. 

PokémonGO is indirectly An Excellent Mobile App for History Lovers via The Bowery Boys New York City History

Ten Thinks I Wish I Knew When I Started PokémonGO via Forbes

If US Presidents Were Pokémon via Dorkly (What If Students design their own Pokemon based on a Historical Figure or creating a Super Hero. I have a Blog Post Up In The Sky where I talk about having student's create SuperHeroes)

Memorial Stadium To Open for Pokemon Go Gamers via

***New 7/14/16***

Pokémon Go Game Guide via Android Central has a nice explanation on how to play the game.

PokéMapper: Crowdsource Map of Pokemon Sightings From Around The World

***New 7/15/16***

Ways to Use Pokémon Go in the Classroom via Teaching Ideas

7-Year-Old's Glowing Idea To Keep Pokémon Safe via

GooseChase APP(IOS, GooglePlay):  allows you to organize and create scavenger hunts. Curious to see if you could make a Pokémon type Game for students.

Girl hit by car while playing 'Pokémon Go,' blames the game via

***New 7/16/16***
Sick of Pokémon Go? Here are 12 other Augmented Reality Apps To Try via Pocket Lint

Educators see gold in Pokémeon Go via USA Today

14 Reasons Why Pokémeon Go Is The Future Of Education via IDEAFM

***New 7/18/16***
Pokémeon Go...where the markers, monuments, and battlefields are! via Craig Swain is an interesting take on The National Parks embrace on Pokémon Go and possible uses to help expose players to history.

PokéVision - This interactive map lets you see in real time where the Pokémon are located.

In Closing:

As I said these are my early thoughts about using Pokémon Go in my classroom. I have some things to "flesh out" before I implement any of these ideas  with my students.  I will be curios to talk with my students in the fall to see if there is any student interest and what they think about all of this.

What are your thoughts about Pokémon Go? Do you have any ideas on how you could use Pokémon Go in your classroom? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below. 

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