Sorry no this is not a post about how to use the current fad of the week in relation to teaching and learning!
If you have even a passing interest in tech news, or are on the Twitter, you will no doubt have seen the explosion of articles on the new AR game, Pokemon Go. I am surprised no one has gone and written an article entitled “Ten ways to use Pokemon Go for Learning” as often happens with new tools and technologies.
I am not alone in this, just after I started writing this article, Martin Weller posted this on the Twitter.
Has "Pokemon Go for education" been hyped, had a backlash and then quietly disappeared yet?
— Martin Weller (@mweller) July 13, 2016
There will be lots of people posting on Twitter and in blog posts and discussing over coffee the impact and importance of Pokemon Go and some will even say how this will transform learning.
I do wonder sometimes why the edtech community gets so excited about consumer technologies and thinks that this will have a real impact on teaching and learning. However we have been here before many times with the iPad, Facebook even Twitter. However often the edtech interest isn’t what drives use in education, it’s more the use by the general public. It often takes consumer interest in a digital technology or tool to kickstart the use in education.
The tablet device, in the Dynabook was envisaged in 1973, there was lots of research on mobile learning in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but it wasn’t until the consumer success of the iPad from 2010 that really saw the potential of tablets (and mobile devices in general) to enhance and support teaching and learning.
The Gutenberg project in 1973 started a huge library of ebooks, but serious widespread educational interest in the potential of ebooks didn’t really happen until consumers got their hands on the Kindle (and the iPad).
I also see it going the other way, there was no real consumer demand for virtual worlds such as Second Life, as a result it never really hit the educational mainstream, and was ignored by virtually everyone including most of the edtech community.
I see Pokemon Go along the lines of Flappy Birds, a fad that will come and go, like a lot of games. It will probably (like both Flappy Birds and Angry Birds before) inspire developers to create a range of similar and copycat games. I am expecting to see a zombie style Pokemon Go game in the next few months (or even weeks).
However I also think that what Pokemon Go could do is make Augmented Reality more of a realistic proposition for others, including those in the education sector and (probably more likely) the museum sector. I also suspect that we will see an increase in the use of AR across other sectors, notably retail and entertainment. There is a chance that Pokemon Go could move augmented reality from the fringe into the consumer mainstream and there into education.
So what do you think, is Pokemon Go just a passing fad, or is it the first step to mainstream adoption of augmented reality?