Much-needed skills like leadership, ethics, safety, and respect can all be acquired by playing the app as part of a new class.
Pokémon Go has all but taken over the world, and now one university has announced its students will play the megahit smartphone app on campus to earn course credits.
Starting in the new academic year, the University of Idaho in the US says students will wander the institution’s grounds gathering Poké Balls and searching for Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Snorlax as part of a new physical activity class called Pop Culture Games.
The module will teach students about leading active lifestyles, building teamwork, and exploring their communities, all through Pokémon Go.
Course instructor, Steven Bird, described how he wants the game to be more about catching a Pikachu, and explained: “This app does more than let you shoot a Poké Ball. You get to adventure around, seeing different things, being active, seeing the sun. It allows you to move in large groups and a team. You get, not only physical activity, but you also get team-building and leadership.”
The instructor said he already had the course in mind for some time, but had to incorporate Pokémon Go when it became an overnight, global sensation. The game’s technology and nostalgic content encourages people who might normally shy away from organised exercise to get outside, get moving and meet other players, said the university.
The goal is to give students a fun and creative class that teaches them skills to take with them far beyond an afternoon searching for colourful characters, said chair of the Department of Movement Sciences, Philip Scruggs. Much-needed skills like leadership, ethics, safety, and respect can all be acquired through the class too.
Scruggs said in a statement: “We are hoping to capture the interest in Pokémon Go and other active games and draw the link with a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s a great way to engage youth through adults, and a great way to engage families in active games together. Our interest is to turn folks onto an active lifestyle, and that can be achieved in endless ways.”
As well as Pokémon Go, students taking the class will also play the live-action game Humans vs. Zombies, which combines elements of tag, hide-and-seek, and other games for group players as they make their way around the campus as humans trying to survive a zombie invasion.