It has happened. Pokemon Go has hit the app stores and people are going wild for it. This augmented reality game utilizes google maps, your camera, and Pokemon to turn you into the Pokemon master. You have the ability to explore your real world and catch and collect Pokemon many grew up with as a child. Even further, landmarks within your town and across the world serve as check points to refuel on Pokeballs and Gyms to battle and control your virtual city. The game currently has 3 different teams that players can join to work together.
Within a couple days of the launch, a group was made to cover my city, where members provide updates on where different Pokemon areWhat does this mean for those on a college campus?
For students, it is a very playful game where you are able to explore your campus, team up with friends and classmates, and battle each other for control of different buildings and landmarks. It means you get to be social, talk with people, get some physical exercise and have fun.
For faculty, sure, it creates a distraction. Add it to social media and texting as the list of reasons why you want cell phones banned in your class. At the same time, it creates a learning opportunity. Engineers and Software Development classes can talk about how augmented reality works. Psychology classes can talk about the social consequences of creating the different teams for people to join. There's opportunities to turn the distractions to your favor while engaging students in something that interests them.
For staff, it gives you another opportunity to engage with students. Student activities can create a Pokemon Go club, or each team can be an organization. You could develop lessons in leadership styles based on the teams. The health center can talk about the added benefits to physical and mental health while students are trying to catch that Squirtle in the cafeteria. Many offices and departments are either gyms, which you can join the fight to try and control, or are places for students to stock back up on supplies. Leave material about your office in the general area that students would need to walk towards to refuel in the game.
Pokemon Go isn't the first app and it won't be the last app that makes an impact on a college campus. The key is not to ignore it. There's a lot of things that colleges choose to ignore. Instead, acknowledge it, embrace it, and leverage it to continue to build the relationship between students and their campus.