As teachers, we are trained to be on the lookout for the teachable moment which often occurs within the confines of our classrooms. Sometimes as the strong current of public mourning, celebration, outrage or national solidarity takes over our hearts and minds, we infuse those civic or global themes into our teaching. Summer 2016 was marked by a technology trend which included the general news coverage of persons of all ages on the go hunting out an augmented reality band of Pokémon virtual creatures in very real places, Very real indeed like commercial capitalizing restaurants, bookstores, libraries, fast food chains, movie theaters, graveyards (yes as in burial grounds and more). By the way this augmented reality game that takes its players out into the real world to capture virtual creatures so they get air and exercise as they play also sets them off on this quest in places like the 9/11 Memorial in NYC and Auschwitz Concentration camp!! As adults, we can see why those site administrators and many public visitors might not be overjoyed at being part of this international active foothold augmented reality phenomena. Even so, this all happened second week of July 2016 when at least 75 per cent of students and teachers are on break, why take time to write about it now for teachers to incorporate in their Social Studies, Language Arts ,and Technology Issues studies. It will be so last year’s news even by first week September 2016, or will it?
1.RESEARCH- READ A RANGE OF SECONDARY SOURCES- HEAR or VIEW PRIMARY SOURCES.
Chromebooks charge students up on current issues recently just occurred. They can look up the story and whether it happened during the school day or year or last year. Immediately together as Chromebook informed citizen group they can view selected story footage on You Tube and other video sources. They can listen to the newscasts and podcasts that reflected and reported this story together as a group. With this shared video and audio text experience- a range of texts as mandated by CCSS- Reading and Writing Multi-Content standards, they can now discuss as a community with a common knowledge base the issues raised by these immediately accessible video and audio texts.
Yes, we as literate adult citizens know that one week’s headline story and controversy can be the following weeks buried in middle pages and by the next year completely removed from general public consciousness, but certain stories are “classic” captures, teaching and student engaging inherently. The Pokémon Go controversy and its profusion of coverage in print, digital media, and on the airwaves, broadcast channels offers teachers a trove of positions with details arguing for or against: the popularity, safety efficacy, interaction potential, physical exercise use and engaged digital text critical thinking applications of this game.
Ironically this technology situated game that is literally sweeping participants off their physical rears, seats inside and getting them out into the fresh air!! What’s not to admire unless they get ambushed by malign non players and robbed in out of sight physical sites or distracted so they bump or hurt others or themselves or play this virtual creature capture at sacred sites showing disrespect as they collect their creatures.
Wait that’s the stiff of this summer’s hot controversial multi-question about Pokémon Controversy, but what has that to do with teaching in the next or school year thereafter? Where does use of Chromebooks an accessible classroom tool fit into citizenship response to first amendment and public safety issues raised by this summer 2016 technology game fad?
- SPEAK, DISCUSS, WRITE AND REACT TO DIGITAL BASED VIDEO AND AUDIO in a teacher monitored curated and invited guests only community.
Teachers in English Language Arts, Social Studies and Technology and in the Sciences are charged with teaching students how to argue in speech and in writing for or against a specific proposition or idea. Often this is rigorously taught through abstract online or print exercises with rubrics that help students understand the formal structure of their Reponses with supportive details. Students do attend to and master this skill set since they come to realize it is needed on most standardized tests, AP exams and of course SAT and even many job/scholarship applications. But how about making some of the issues of augmented reality intruding on their neighborhood sidewalks, racing haunts, graveyards haunted by real life criminals, and sacred memorials.
How about not only bringing in to class not just print newspapers, but actual pictures of persons on the pokemon go pursuit? Why not have students with relatives or friends involved in Pokémon interview them and upload the results or even better join them afoot? How about having students first articulate through a conversation about this reported everywhere- news, business, twitter, Facebook, Internet, broadcast, print and SEEN by the students, the issues raised by Pokémon Go in terms of questions.
What is great about this way of introducing the skill of arguing and formulating a position is that the students after a conversation or a refreshing Google or Chrome search can generate their own authentic questions/issues posed by Pokémon Go. Among these would be:
- Is it positive that players of an augmented reality game have to get out in the real world and get some exercise? What are the negatives of having them outside playing this hunting game versus inside and isolated?
- Are there any civil liberty and privacy dangers in having a game with a personal GPS and potential access to a person’s Google accounts and other personal data? What safeguards might need to be put on this game so it is safe for the actual human hunting the virtual creatures?
- People have been robbed and ambushed because they are distracted by this game and even locked in graveyards where they have been directed to find their virtual creatures. Problem is the lockdowns were real scary sites like graveyards or facilities that close at certain hours? Silly human error or is this the fault of the Pokémon Go creators? What kind of a tech fix should they or could they put on it?
- Businesses such as pizza shops, fast food chains, sporting goods stores and even book stores and libraries are hooking up to be gym or other sites in this game. Is this a smart and meaningful take on pop culture or should these businesses and libraries be negatively critiqued for getting involved in something that is not a positive literacy or citizenship move?
- In particular, there are sacred religious contemplative sites such as the 9/11 memorial or Auschwitz where suddenly persons have emerged texting away on sacred crowd not about the event or persons being commemorated, but rather about the creatures found or no. Is this horrific or okay since nowadays people text everywhere even during religious services, funerals and graduations? Should Pokémon GO be officially banned from these sites and taken away in storage like cell phones before these players enter and should these sacred premises be removed as potential real world places for the hunt?
After students based on their own observation and analysis of searches that will abound with multiple evidence and viewpoints about these complex issues , come with issues (probably more than the 5 above), challenge them as citizens and critical thinking investigators (reporters) to come with sources they can interview or examine to help them formulate arguments or responses to these issues. All interviews –video or audio – can get shared as part of the Chromebook community files. Among sources might be: adult family members, Pokémon spokespersons, game developers, on air and on line commentators, psychologists, teachers, physical education specialists, business persons, head of cultural groups, librarians, and others.
- POKEMON CONTROVERSY as a platform for dealing with other CIVIL LIBERTY/DANGER AND DISTRACTION TECHNOLOGY ISSUES.
Allow and encourage students to connect Pokémon Go specific issues with general issues that are often connected to augmented game fascinations and fads. Again have them identify these issues. Among them might be: coach potato game players versus physically fit and socially interacting persons, exposure of person’s personal data to game company and hacker interception, physical dangers and accidents that happen because users are texting and playing instead of being alert as they move about in the world, commercial appropriation of an intellectually captivating game for entrepreneurial gains- is this right or wrong, and the extent to which augmented reality game play in sacred religious sites, ceremonies or cultural memorials is inappropriate and disrespectful. Of course as students indentify these emerging and valid over game play of many types and formats, they need to be facilitated to the fact that these authentic arguments are not easily reduced to single correct structural formats with irrefutable facts supporting them. Indeed the power and significance of the multiple forms of Pokémon Go argumentation and issues lies in their opaque complexity and the variegated perspectives different sectors of citizens and consumers and leaders bring to weighing the options in addressing them. While abstract arguments for test prep or language arts or science argument skills learning often can be tidily concluded with a definitive best exemplar, the arguments and issues raised by Pokémon Go are not ended with a definitively clear conclusion, yea or nay. The Chromebook can serve as the technology curated by teacher repository for varying perspective audio files, videos, recorded discussion and reported commentary on these issues. This can allow various peer student groups and outside adults to examine the conflicting evidentiary sources and begin to formulate citizen judgments about them. This is precisely why beyond a summer’s week wave of fad coverage, the issues of Pokémon Go and other fascinator global games are an ongoing citizen real argument forming “GO”!!!
Dr. Rose Reissman,
Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5
About Sector 5,
Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on http://www.twitter.com/sectorfiveinc and http://www.facebook.com/sect5 and find further information at http://www.sector-five.com. For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.