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7 Reasons Why Educators Should Embrace Pokemon GO

The premise of exploring your surroundings and flicking Poke Balls at made-up creatures seems simple enough. However, there are valuable educational skills embedded within Pokemon GO’s design. Here are seven reasons educators should be excited.

Jake Parmley, Blogger

July 20, 2016

3 Min Read

[Adapted from Level Up Village]

Pokemon GO has officially swept the world into a frenzy, earning over 21 million daily active users last week, topping app charts and adding billions to the market value of Nintendo. 

On the surface, the premise of exploring your surroundings and flicking Poke Balls at made-up creatures seems simple. Parents and teachers may be wondering whether they should be encouraging kids to catch ’em. However, there are valuable educational skills and life lessons embedded within Pokemon GO’s design. Here are seven reasons why you should support your children’s interest:

1. Problem Solving

Like many video games, Pokemon GO challenges players to solve problems in order to succeed. Here are a few in-game examples that encourage analytical thinking and sharpen problem solving:

  • Analyzing/comparing Combat Power (CP) and Hit Power (HP) of Pokemon

  • Applying math skills by transferfing Pokemon in exchange for items

  • Evaluating strengths and weaknesses of each Pokemon type

  • Managing in-game resources

  • Measuring Pokemon stats during evolution

2. History and Culture

Pokemon GO uses real-world landmarks called PokéStops to give players valuable items.These PokéStops are often located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers and monuments. Social media shows people posting about visiting local museums and libraries, often for the first time. Passing by or entering these landmarks may inspire interest in the history or culture of an area, especially for younger minds.

3. Leadership

Pokemon has been out almost two full weeks. In this time, players have uncovered new strategies and shared extensive knowledge. For younger players, sharing knowledge with friends can grow leadership skills. More experienced players will communicate tips, tricks and lead new Pokemon trainers to a healthy start within the game.

4. Decision Making

Good leaders have to be able to make good decisions. Presenting students the opportunity to make decisions for themselves is therefore very important for building leadership skills. Pokemon GO is ripe with decisions: Which starter Pokemon will you choose? Which gym team will you join? Which type do you evolve first? When do you use lures, incense or other items? Many of these choices have lasting effects on the game and instill an understanding of consequence and the importance of planning.

5. Imagination

Imagination, an essential element of problem solving – is difficult to teach, but it can be nurtured. Video games challenge players to use their imagination and invest in worlds beyond their own. Using augmented reality, Pokemon GO reveals Pokemon as part of our world, inviting players into new experiences and expanding their imaginations. (Check out this pic below and more here.)

6. Competition

Young minds can learn much from the spirit of competition. As Pokemon GO players compete over local gyms, they will take risks, set goals, build confidence and learn how to cope should things not go their way. Here are even more reasons competition is great for kids.

7. Exercise

Pokemon GO is responsible for something video games rarely achieve – physical activity and getting gamers outside. Regular exercise boosts brain function, reduces stress and improves memory. In a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise boosts the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved with learning.

Audiences and businesses around the world are embracing Pokemon GO. In all of the hype and success, parents and educators can take comfort in the fact that many important skills are being taught and reinforced during play. So don’t be afraid to support players during their journey to catch ‘em all.

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