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Pokemon Go's Technology is Not Revolutionary, Educators have been using it for years

Pokemon Go was released this summer (2016) and the app has captivated the world. I have often heard from family, friends, and work colleagues how they have not seen anything quite like it before. However, having my educational technology background, this was nothing new to me.

Pokemon Go uses Augmented Reality to create an interactive experience in the real world. Using a mobile device's camera and GPS services, the device can show Pokemon and the user can interact with them (and other users).

What is Augmented Reality?

According to, Augmented Reality is "a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view."

Augmented reality apps have been prominent in education since the rise of popularity with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Educators use augmented reality apps to turn otherwise static learning experiences into interactive learning experiences. See this example below.

Augmented Reality Examples (2010 - 6 Years before Pokemon Go)

QR codes can offer a similar experience, although this does differ in some ways as QR codes stand out from real world objects.

Using QR Codes in the Classroom (February 2013) - 3 years before Pokemon Go

Even though this is not a new revolutionary technology, what Nintendo has done with this technology is quite revolutionary. This can also be seen in some of Nintendo's other projects, as the Nintendo Wii was not a technological powerhouse, but they added a revolutionary play style with the Wii Remote that got gamers off of the couch. As educators we should strive to be creative to find ways to use technology in an enjoyable and meaningful ways.


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