Caught myself a Jigglypuff today. Held a Gym for three hours and collected enough Stardust to take my evolved Zubat through the 600CP threshold. Boom. Now – if you got all that – I applaud you. You’ve either embraced your inner-child, been seduced by your inner-geek, or you just have kids. If you didn’t understand it; if it made you want to hit something; if you rolled your eyes or shouted abuse at your screen; then this is for you! My call to all teachers to get their Pokemon on. And it goes a little something…like this:

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😎 Because You Wanna Be ‘THAT’ Teacher

I’ve recently read loads about teachers not wanting to be ‘Liked’ by their pupils/students. This freaks me out! Teaching and learning is built on relationships. Research tells us that a pupil who doesn’t like their teacher, will not learn as well as his/her peers that do. If you play Pokemon Go, the children in your care won’t just like you, they’ll LOVE you. They’re talking about you at their dinner tables; they’re nailing extra homework for you in between chats about their evolved Eevie; they’re putty in your hands and they’re making more progress because you occasionally drop the word Pokestop into your lessons. You got cool. And for the purists who claim they don’t want to be ‘Liked’ just ‘Respected’, you just won their respect in a way that’s never been seen before.

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🌎 Be A Part Of Their World

It may only be a small percentage of your class that spend their free time collecting virtual creatures, but by investing a few of your ‘free’ minutes running around catching Pokemon each day, you’ll start to see the world through the eyes of a child. You might not want that – it’s a weird, sticky and unorderly place. But I’m a huge fan of the notion that outstanding teachers teach in the same make-believe world in which their pupils live. It’s pure theater; fantasy role-play. And what’s more fantastical than a Pidgey piloting an AT-AT?

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😇 Improved Behaviour Outcomes

Again, it boils down to relationships (who knew!?) but I guarantee that your more hard-to-reach pupils are playing Pokemon GO! I’ve taught in an Integrated Resource for children on the autistic spectrum and so became used to teaching to pupil interests. But Pokemon GO looks like a game-changer. The management of challenging behaviour can often leave us scratching our heads; it can reduce us to tears. Having Pokemon knowledge in your locker couldĀ  seriously help your cause. I recall one pupil with both an ASD and PDA profile; he was a huge fan of Lord of the Rings. I remember him really struggling one day – we’d tried everything. I entered into a bit of LOTR name-dropping and would you believe it, he began to calm down. He looked at me confused and asked ‘You know who Shelob is!?’ So get to know your Raticates from your Rattatas and you’ve just unlocked another behaviour management tool that could blow the rest out of the water.

👍 Practice What You Preach

We spend our days promoting a growth mind-set; championing the idea of being true to ourselves; telling our pupils to be a shepherd not a sheep. And then we go along with the scaremongering and negativity around gaming and games such as Pokemon Go. ‘It’s dangerous; useless; a waste of time!’ growled the teacher that had never played Pokemon Go. At least make an informed opinion. Take a leap-of-faith; support the kids; help educate staff and parents. Spread a bit of PokeLove!

🏆 The Best Free Resource On The Planet?

Ok. That might be an over-the-top heading. But it isn’t too far away from the truth. The possibilities for the useĀ of Pokemon Go in the classroom are limitless; how creative do you want to be? How far can you take it? Once you master the basics and get to grips with the concept for yourself, you’ll unearth a gold-mine of teaching and learning opportunities for every area of the curriculum. Teaching Ideas have compiled a list of many (http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/computing/ways-to-use-pokemon-go-in-the-classroom) but a simple Internet search for ‘Pokemon GO ideas for the classroom’ will set you safely on your journey.

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💻 Contextualised e-Safety

The Head of a school who isn’t on Facebook; who doesn’t use Twitter; who can’t turn a YouTube video from window to full-screen, isn’t in a position to give advice on the appropriate – and safe use – of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Best to leave that to the experts – or at least to someone who knows how to log on! Become familiar with Pokemon Go to help advise pupils and their families of the potential dangers and/or risks. There aren’t too many; more common sense to be honest. But it would be wrong of me to dismiss things like having electronic devices on show, falling into holes and searching by roads, cliff-tops or water. Your pupils will respect you more if your advice comes from your own Pokemon hunting and – who knows – they might actually listen!

🌈 Fun. Fun. Fun.

By now you’re either half-way to giving Pokemon a GO, or you’re no longer reading!? Those whose attention I couldn’t hold, I wish you well in your life WITHOUT cute and awesome little critters popping up to play. I wish you well in your attempts to unravel the jargon and mystery of the game; I wish you all the best in your attempts to channel all that pent-up Pokemon creative energy into positive learning outcomes. You’ll get there. Somehow!? For those considering giving it a GO…do it. It could – potentially – be the most important decision you make during this academic year. Now GO catch ’em all!

And if you come across a Mew, be sure to send it my way.