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History and Social Studies LessonNiantic
When we open up Pokemon Go we are met with the Niantic logo. The company is named after a ship from the 1849 gold rush and which Silicon Valley was built on…Literally.

Not only does this provide us with a fantastic history lesson (Not to mention a lesson in workplace culture!) but, with all the discussion in Europe and the US about immigration, when we compare this story with articles like:

‘Pokemon Go’ is everything that is wrong with late capitalism

It proves a reminder that people paying large amounts of money to start a new life, no matter how risky or uncertain the future is, are not new concepts.

Perhaps students could compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the people in the 1840s who made the perilous journey in wagon trains to a risky and uncertain future. Or students could explore the reason John Hanke is obsessed with maps

Exclusive: Inside the Mind of Google’s Greatest Idea Man, John Hanke

So, last question, and I want to get a little more personal. Why are you so obsessed with maps and location? …I grew up in a really isolated town in West Texas, so I kind of grew up daydreaming about other places …And I think a lot of people who grow up in small towns share that feeling of ‘I can’t wait to go out and see the wider world.’

Then there is the fact that people are paying exuberant costs to human traffickers today and risk perilous journeys with an equally uncertain future to come Europe and the US. Given that many small businesses are benefiting from Pokemon Go this could also be a useful way to discuss human geography and economic migrants, the brain drain and importance of critical thinking when reading news articles, something we explore in the next section.

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