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 Jim Flanagan “We are just baby steps into exploring the educational benefits of virtual and  augmented realities.  In these early stages of change, phenomena often emerge as in  the case of Pokemon Go. My advice to educators is to reference the 2016 ISTE  Standards for Students – and explore if the Pokemon Go craze can provide an engaging learning  opportunity.  For example, challenge the students as Empowered Learners to co-  develop a project-based learning program.  The students can be Knowledge Constructors by exploring this real world product from multiple perspectives.  They can be Digital Citizens and create user guides for safe, positive and ethical use.  Perhaps the greatest opportunity is having them be Innovative Designers by using design processes to create AR products that might actually benefit learning based on learning science.” Jim Flanagan | Chief Learning Services Officer | ISTE

Mike Ribble “The updated version of the popular game Pokemon Go using the power of Augmented Reality (AR) has become an overnight sensation for children and adults alike.  I can remember when my son used to play the game using the cards with his friends, it created a world for him and his friends to collect, trade and interact with one another.  These are all skills that we want our children to have both in the Real Life (RL) and this new Immersive Reality (IR).  Digital Citizenship is made up of many aspects that encompass our lives; from Communication to Etiquette and Literacy to Access.  When looking at any program or device that delves into the IR many of these elements or skills quickly surface.

Our hope as educators and as parents are to find ways to help our children to learn these skills both in RL as well as IR.  Our goal is to balance these two worlds together and AR programs like Pokemon Go begin to shade those lines between the two.  The way that many are now looking at the world – often through the lens of a digital device can sometimes show us something new and possibly wonderful.  If we are to share this new world through this lens with our children we need to make sure they understand where these boundaries are and how we treat each other both in the RL and IR.  Make sure that when you have to “Catch them All” you are also teaching them all the skills too.” Dr. Mike Ribble | Director of Technology | Manhattan-Ogden School District | Author of Digital Citizenship in Schools

 Amy Storer “I remember an article or post that came out, I believe in 2014, with a picture of a  group of students sitting next to a Rembrandt, all completely immersed in their  phones.  One of the captions, read “Teens Ignoring Rembrandt”.  When did we start  not trusting our kids to explore and seek out information?  These kids could have  very well been researching and digging deeper into the beauty that is a Rembrandt.   But many jumped to the conclusion that this was not the case, and they were  shamed on many social media outlets.  

Numerous museums around the world now use Augmented Reality during their tours, and students can even tour the Smithsonian with Google Cardboard.  Tours are now becoming more interactive because of emerging technologies. We should be encouraging our kids to explore and connect.  Learning should not just be taking place within the four walls of our classrooms or even museums.  Tear those walls down!” Amy Storer | Instructional Coach in Montgomery ISD in Montgomery TX | EdChange Global Organizer

 Nancy Watson“Anytime pop culture captures the imagination of multiple generations, educators should sit up and take note. Pokemon Go gets kids (and often, their parents and grandparents) off the couch, outside, moving, and interacting.  Because libraries are often Pokestops, that means more traffic for those libraries – something we should all celebrate – as well as new programming opportunities. I encourage you to play the game yourself and let your imagination (and your students’ imaginations!) allow you to explore the ways Pokemon could provide new avenues to learning. Some educational examples to get you going are listed on this TCEA blog post.” Nancy Watson | Instructional Technology Specialist | Plano ISD

Comments from other ISTE PLN Leads

Cori“What educators need to realize, is that being open to PokemonGo isn’t just about  playing the game in school. The Pokemon franchise has maintained a worldwide  fan base for a couple of decades, and sooner or later,  the hype of PokemonGo will  eventually go back to the steadfast patronage of loyal fans. Current mainstream  popularity has presented the education world with a marvelous opportunity. Good educators can recognize their students’  interests, and great educators find a way to integrate those interests into life-relevant learning experiences. In today’s global marketplace, we are demanding that schools produce creative problem solvers . Effective teachers will not ask students to be more than they are willing to demonstrate themselves. Thankfully we have a diverse PLN to curate, share and give feedback on how to take this great opportunity and make it awesome.” 
Cori Coburn-Shiflett, M.Ed. | Digital Learning Coach in Georgetown ISD (Texas) | 2017 BYOD ISTE Conference Chair

Torrey Trust “I knew nothing about Pokemon when I first logged in to Pokemon Go to find  Squirtle (the adorable turtle). Since then, I have walked more than 100 kilometers,  caught more than 1,500 Pokemon, and visited 1,353 Pokestops. The game is  captivating and intriguing. It gave me a first-hand experience of how learning can  be interest-driven, peer-supported, and active. The learning process for me  included a lot of trial and error, exploration of blog posts and discussion forums,  asking friends for advice, and sharing acquired knowledge with others. However, while now I might know the difference between a Pikachu and a Jolteon, there is still a lot to learn about the game. And, there are a lot of important questions to ask (e.g., “What is Niantic doing with my location data?”).

This Pokemon Go report is a must read for all educators. Not only did I find the answer to the question I have been pondering since day 1 (“How did Niantic select the Pokestops?”), but also the report is filled with detailed information that can help you determine how you might use the game as an educational tool. You don’t even need to ask students to play the game – they can examine the name of the company (see the History and Social Studies Lesson on page 12), debate privacy rights and issues related to apps/AR, or develop a plan for getting Pokemon Go players to go inside and visit Museums rather than just collect Poke items and move on. Trying to find ways to engage students in learning is a lifelong challenge for educators. Fortunately, this report offers a wealth of ideas to help you address this challenge.” Torrey Trust, PhD, | Assistant Professor | Learning Technology | University of Massachusetts, Amherst | ISTE Teacher Education Network President 2016-2017


“I’m aware of and have Pokemon Go on my phone – my personal belief is that it’s important to stay informed about such innovative developments. Having seen where minecraft amongst others has gone as a  product in relation to education it’s clear there’s a lot of potential.” Stephen Gilby | Associate Principal | Central Academy

Rachelle Poth

 I believe that as with any new form of technology or tool you always have to  start with doing some research, making sure that security and safety are in  place for the students and all users. We have to make sure that digital citizenship  is a priority and that students are protected and also aware of etiquette and  netiquette involved. While maintaining student privacy using something like this  we have to make sure we respect the privacy of others as well.

This report provides a lot of beneficial information that shines light on both the pros and cons using Pokemon go in the educational setting. It provides good examples of how it could be used in the different content areas but it also reminds one to be on guard when trying any new form of Technology, especially something of this nature which is not simply being used by one person interacting with one tool.

The use of something like this expands the “learning environment”, if it’s being used in education, then it also involves public location and interactions with many other people. So it is quite important to make sure that lessons on digital citizenship, safety, reminders of privacy, and all other guidelines are set in place. And it’s also important to remember as with any form of new technology, to do the research and try it out, make sure that it is of an educational value and will add to the learning potential, but more importantly, make sure that you start small and take steps forward.

Give yourself time to evaluate what it is that you are doing, how it is going and the impact it is having before advancing to the next step. Taking on something like this too much too soon can also have negative effects. So taking one’s time, will help to ensure that you have really been able to evaluate the use and effectiveness of a tool such as this. Rachelle Poth | Spanish Teacher | Riverview Junior Senior High School | ISTE 2016 Presenter

 Academic Experts

Pokemon GO has united players of all ages and reignited interest in mobile gaming. Whilst there are many benefits, such as increased physical activity and educational opportunities, there are also risks that need to be managed. Extra consideration will be needed for the younger players in order to understand their experiences of the game, such as for example how participation in the game may lead them to interact with older players of different developmental stages. Nevertheless, there is great potential to harness the passion that many young people have for gaming to explore new ways of engaging with them. It must be acknowledged though that no single
game such as Pokemon Go will appeal to all young people, and so it is important to consider the full range of possibilities afforded by Augmented Reality (AR) games of this type. We should also appreciate that young people may not necessarily wish every game they engage with for personal enjoyment to become conflated by adults for educational purposes. 

Whilst Pokemon Go may not maintain its initial level of popularity it is possibly the first example of what will be a trend of AR games becoming integrated into education and everyday life. To explore the evolving role of these games we should engage young people as stakeholders – after all aside from possibly the game developers themselves younger players are likely to be the group who have the best understanding of these games. They will also be the group who will provide the next generation of game developers, which gives us the opportunity to work with them to ensure future games are developed in a socially responsible way.

Cyber psychology Cluster, Department of Psychology, Bournemouth University

  • Sarah Hodge, PhD | Researcher | Psychology and Gaming
  • Dr Jacqui Taylor | Associate Professor | Psychology
  • Dr John McAlaney | Senior Lecturer | Psychology


Scott GarriganThe Pokemon Go in education discussion should be to admit that location-based mobile games can be a LOT of fun for kids. Our challenge as educators is to build upon their enthusiasm to teach them to create mobile locative games as class projects to teach socials studies and science concepts. With creativity, math, English, and foreign languages can be taught. We should be bringing the IDEAS and ENGAGEMENT of Pokemon Go into the classroom, not the game itself.  This is a great opportunity for teachers and administrators to learn about how they and their students can create their own augmented reality games!  Dr. Scott Garrigan | Professor of Practice of Teaching, Learning & Technology | Lehigh University College of Education

Julia Lynn ParraI will definitely use this report in my Critical Digital Literacy class this semester! I have only ever played three app games by choice-Pocket Frogs, Words with Friends, and Monument Valley and now I will play Pokemon Go, not so much for entertainment but to learn with my graduate students.

I LOVE how a project like this report brings together a community of educators and provides a springboard for those interested in participating, like my students. My only suggestion is to keep building and networking around this project… count me in! Dr. Julia Lynn Parra | Learning Design & Technology | College of Education | New Mexico State University

This app builds historical context, tie backs to the curriculum, builds community awareness and enables students to be as independent as possible. Courtney Pepe | Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor | A Harry Moore of NJCU

Charlotte Bosworth “This report really highlights to me the importance of educators keeping abreast of the latest games, apps and technologies that  are engaging children and evaluating how games such as Pokémon Go can be used to continue that engagement in a learning environment. 

Evaluating your performance, communicating , working with others and sharing experiences as well as digital literacy are very often the main themes that employers feel are lacking from so many young people.  By highlighting the skills that are being developed through such tools must be a step in the right direction”. Charlotte Bosworth | Director Skills and Employment | Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations

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