Pokemon GO: Keeping Up With the Student Geeks Before School Starts

Are you trying to figure out why swarms of students and adults are out in the community with phones looking for creatures that have wild names? Or have you jumped in and started collecting Pokemon for your PokeDex? Does this new craze haunt you with memories of this little creature?  Are you thinking that you better find out how to join in before school begins? 

Here is a crash course for educators that will allow you to at least start a PokeDex and collect some of the same language/creatures as your students before the school year launches.

Basic Pokemon Vocabulary

Pokemon: Creatures that you can collect in the virtual world.
Poke Dex: The log of Pokemon that a user has collected.
Poke Balls: This is a way to catch your Pokemon. By swiping the Poke Ball towards a Pokemon you can catch them for your Poke Dex.
Poke Stop:  These are locations that are noted in the game. They are denoted by a blue box that will turn into a spinning disk where you can collect items for your journey, learn about a place, and check in. They reset at different intervals, and can be logged into several times a day if desired.
Poke Eggs:  Eggs that you can collect and hatch using an incubator in the game. They are hatched by walking a certain distance.
Pokemon Gym: A location that looks like a tower on your screen, where you can battle other gym leaders and Pokemon trainers.

Join the Game

Step One: How do you access this game?

Using an Android or IPhone access the Pokemon GO app.

Step Two: Logging into the game

Log into the game using your Google Account or another way provided.

** Please note the references below from more information.

Step 3: Create your avatar

Select an avatar and choose what you want to look like.

Step 4: Step out in your world and look at your landscape

The Pokemon Go landscape looks a lot like your world - this is what augmented reality is supposed to look like in many senses. BUT... there are other features in the world as well which you will see such as PokeStops and PokeGyms. 

** Please note the safety and security information below.

Pokemon landscape- note the gym tower in the foreground, and the Poke Stops on the horizon capped by a blue block
Step 5: Walk up to a PokeStop and spin

On your landscape you should see a pole with a square on  the top of it. When you walk close enough to have it located in your "sphere," the top will transform and spin. Items will come out of the spinning disk. Pop the bubbles to collect them and add them to your collection. After you have been to that location, then the block turns a different color.

Poke Stop with circle sphere.

Image of the Poke Stop - Swipe to Spin

Collect items from the Poke Stop by popping bubbles.

Step 6: Catch a Pokemon using a Poke Ball

When your phone vibrates, or you see a Pokemon appear in your sphere, tap the Pokemon. They will appear on your screen and so will a Poke Ball. Swipe the Poke Ball towards our Pokemon to catch it. ( As you level up it may take more than one hit by a Poke Ball to catch the Pokemon ). Once the Pokemon is caught, the information on the Pokemon pops up and it is added to your Poke Dex. 

Poke Ball when it has caught a Pokemon
Collect Pokemon for your PokeDex

Step 7:  Level up and head to a gym and join a team

Once you have reached Level 5, you need to visit a gym to select one of three teams in the Pokemon Go game. Walk to a tower, and click on it. The game will walk you through the steps t join a team. The three teams are #Mystic #Instinct or #Valor.

A Pokemon gym is in the front of the image.

Step 8: Catch an egg, hatch an egg

When you are at the Poke Stops you may receive an egg. You can hatch these eggs by placing one in and incubator and walking a certain distance which will then hatch the egg. The eggs show up on your Pokemon button on your phone. Click it, select "eggs" at the top, and your eggs will show up. You can place one of our eggs in an incubator at this time. After you walk a certain distance, you can hatch the egg and start incubating the next one. 

Notice the egg incubator on the top left incubating an egg as a certain distance is walked.

How do we harness this for educational use?

People are already starting to use this application for an educational purpose, and are also working with the challenges surrounding it . The National Park Service has a great post they put out on the Pokemon Go use at the National Mall (and how they are now gong to be offering Pokemon Tours). 

Check Out this FB post: 

Many of the PokeStops are located at museums, historic landmarks, and memorials, so museums are using them for marketing.  

Youth are engaging in the study of PLACES with this application as well. Below you can see one example of how it is being used with youth preservationists in a summer contest from the Preserve America Youth Summit:

Security and Safety: 

As with any game, or anything that is a recent fad/interest/phenomenon, there is a concern about safety and security. One of the key things to consider is to be aware of your surroundings (The Pokemon Go application states this at launch) . We encourage students to explore in teams, at public locations where they are safe, and to be cautious of situations that could encourage crime as there have unfortunately been some instances of this in the last week. 

Privacy Concerns:

As a side note there have been some concerns about the security of the application, although it is important to recognize that many other applications such as FourSquare access the same type of information. There is an article in reference here:

Next up: What is all that stuff in my  collection ? How do I transfer Pokemon and transform them? 
( We have to confer with the teenagers in our house to get the lowdown—stay tuned… )

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