Pokémon Go took the world by storm last summer as millions upon millions of players signed up to a game that saw them catching fictional characters in a real world setting. The game’s popularity has cooled considerably since then but there are still plenty of people, kids and adults, around the world trying to catch them all and an assistant professor at Iowa State University is looking into a novel new use for last summer’s big hit.
Emily Howell, from Iowa State, has always believed that education and technology go hand in hand. She has been working with teachers on ways to incorporate digital tools in the classroom and she believes that games like Pokémon Go can play an important role in a child’s educational development.
After playing Pokémon Go with her children, Howell began to see how the game could help students improve their writing and research skills. Rather than just engaging students by connecting their academic work to something many of them are already doing outside the classroom, Howell believes there can be other tangible benefits gained:
“It is important to give students authentic choices that really have meaning in their lives. We need to encourage them to develop questions, research the answers and then share that information in writing.”
Games like Pokémon Go require players to learn a wealth of information that helps them advance further and increase their level within the game. This thirst for knowledge can generate a huge amount of questions, which foster communication amongst players. Howell believes that researching questions based on their own needs within the game and writing essays about the skills they learnt whilst playing will require much more research and structure than writing, for example, about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
This method could give students an early insight into the academic rigors they’ll face later on in life. Giving young students the chance to develop and hone their research and written skills by reporting activities they’re doing in their free time seems like a no-brainer if it can be done well. Howell has been given a grant to look into these hypotheses and will be working with elementary teachers across Iowa to integrate technology into their writing lessons.
Good luck to her we say. We’ll be watching this one closely.
Via: Science Daily