Go for the Pokémon - a game to explore your new school
September 15, 2016
Scan the image using Aurasma after following my channel: mballabriga
There are no pupils in class now who do not know about the new craze which came out last July: Pokémon GO. A lot has been written about the benefits that playing this game can bring to students. However, understanding and applying augmented reality, which is the technology behind this game consisting in capturing (catching) pokémons, has helped me develop my own version (more educational if possible) of this frenzy game.
Last year I started experimenting with Aurasma, an app which allows you to create images containing virtual information. This is known as Augmented Reality. In this way, you can choose any image you want and add further visual information which is unveil when the trigger image is scanned with the app. The first "auras" I created were like magic for my students. You can read and see my first activity using Aurasma HERE.
My interest in Pokémon GO was to use it as an inspiration to create a similar game but with a different purpose. On the basis that pokémons are hidden somewhere around town and need to be found, I knew that "my" pokémons would be used to show places in order to get to know them. That is how my idea of creating a game to explore school first came to my mind. And who could the game be addressed to if a real communicative purpose was meant to be achieved? That's it! New students coming from Primary school to Secondary school.
As a teacher of a foreign language I also knew "my" pokémons had to be able to talk in English and that what each pokémon said would be used by students as a listening comprehension exercise. So, students must listen carefully, not only because it will be easier for them to find and catch the pokémon, but also because they must fill in a file containing some basic information about it, which they will keep in their pokédex (a folded piece of paper simulating the electronic device designed to catalogue and provide information regarding the various species of Pokémon featured in the Pokémon video game).
As a result of that, we get students to listen to and understand some information which will lead them to find the hidden pokémons while getting to know a new building and its different specific classrooms (computer room, music classroom) and spaces (playground, canteen, theatre). A speaking session is carried out at the end of the game, in which students are invited to reflect on what they can or can't do in the different places around school. This is a good way to introduce school rules, too.