What does Pokemon Go teach me about pedagogy

When I was in primary school, a Japanese animated series named “Pokemon”  caught everyone’s eyes. We wish someday we can have our own pokemon. Thanks to Pokemon go, our dream finally came true. It’s no wonder that Pokemon Go is the most hottest game in the world and millions of people (of course me included) crazy about it.

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Pokemon is not only about catch pikachu or other pokemons, it’s a good example of teaching environment.

Why is Pokemon Go so popular?

  • Explore. Actually, there is no guideline in Pokemon Go. No one teach you how to play this game, they only give you some hints. What you can do in Pokemon Go is involve and get your first hand experience and you will learn from your experience. Pokemon Go is all about adventure. You never know what will happen in the next corner, may be a pokemon you never caught, may be a pokemon with high combating power, maybe a pokemon you don’t like. If you want catch a new type pokemon, you may even need to explore to other places you never went to before. However, I love this adventure, I love the happiness when I encounter something new. I love the process when I explore.
  • Cooperation and Competition. In Pokemon Go, if you achieve level 5, you can choose a team to join, whether red, yellow or blue. There are several Gyms around you, you can combat with other teams to occupy the gym. If you succeed, you team color the your pokemon will appear in the gym and people will see it from a far distance. The combating process needs the cooperation of team members and you should be strategic in deciding which pokemon to use. In addition, even if you successfully occupy the gym, you can use your pokemon to help your own team build the combat power in this gym and lessen the possibility to be beaten by others. I think Pokemon Go provide a good mechanism full of incentives and risks, which makes us enjoy the cooperation and competition in this process.
  • Communication. In my own experience, you may not achieve great success without communicate with others. Since there’s no guideline in Pokemon Go, all you have is the experience from you and others. We all now, the sample size of one person is too limited, you won’t have the energy or time to explore all and identify all the possibilities. With the help of  others, you can enlarge the sample size and easily get the information. Based on the information, you can find some spots where rare pokemon may appear. You can also get strategies in the game. What’s more, in pokemon’s world, items may exhibit positive externalities (A jargon in economics, describes something one does that create a positive influence for others). For instance, if you use lure module in one spot, other nearby players will all benefit from it. With communication, you can know this information and share benefit with others.
  • Decide your own goal. There is no general “success” rule in Pokemon Go. Some people are fans of pikachu, so they may want catch as many pikachu as possible. Some people love combating, so they want conquer as many gyms as possible. Some people may enjoy collection, so they want collect as many types as possible. In this world, all the thing is your call and you can decide all by your personality and interest.
  • Effort based. Although luck may play some role in Pokemon Go, but generally, Pokemon Go is effort based. If you explore more, you have a highly chance to get more pokemons and you can see your progress day by day.
  • Interactive and technology. Technology make Pokemon Go possible and let pokemons enter our world. Pokemon is no longer something in imagination, it’s the cute babies live in your phone and may “interact” with you in the real life.


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What we can learn from Pokemon?

  • Education can be a journey with exploration. All the students have the creativity and have the learning experience, they just need some hints help them go through. As a teacher, we need find the way which can lead student’s passion and help them feel the beauty of the materials. We are not the people who teach them knowledge, we are the people who lead them explore the world.
  • We can design some interesting and helpful mechanism that contains both cooperation and completion. This mechanism stimulates students’ enthusiasm and make them feel accomplishment.
  • Help students communicate. Communication is always a good way of learning. Sometimes, you may feel lonely when you study alone. Study teams may help digest knowledge, and you may get a good friendship at end.
  • Don’t push students, let them decide what’s their interest and how can they achieve it. As a teacher, you just provide a healthy environment, but they are the owner of their life.
  • Incorporate technology. Nowadays, cool technology always catch people’s eyes. If we can incorporate cool and interactive technology-based teaching in our class, it would be more interesting.
  • Grow with students together. Like you grow with your Pokemon.

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