Professor Uses ‘Pokemon GO’ to Teach Geography

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There’s always a lot of talk regarding the educational potential of video games, and ASU professor, Karen Guerrero, has decided to use the popular Pokemon GO (Free) to improve elementary school students’ geography, math, and language skills. According to Guerrero, teachers always look for a hook – a way to capture the students’ attention – that makes teaching the subject matter easier. Pokemon GO is a no-brainer in that sense since it already has a huge fan base and even if a student hasn’t played it already, she at least knows about it. The lesson aims to teach students map-reading skills and how to use geospatial technologies and communicate geographic information.

The students get to search for Pokemon or examine a map that displays what kinds of Pokemon have been captured in their area, and then use those Pokemon to analyze data regarding the types of Pokemon and their locations, which Pokemon are harder to find than others, and so on. It’s always fun to see how video games can be of use in education (Minecraft has been in schools for years), and I’m glad to see Pokemon GO finding a classroom application. It’s also interesting seeing how mobile games can be an easy education tool because the vast majority of students already have a phone in their hand.

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