I’ve learned to be careful what I scorn.
I may or may not have written these text messages:
“…(Pokémon Go) is so against all I believe about interacting with the real world.”
“…why use augmented reality to capture a fake thingie when you could learn to ID birds and trees or spot a REAL preying mantis?”
And then I may or may not have downloaded the Pokémon Go app as a matter of “professional curiosity” and walked out into a side street in the dark of night (accompanied by a sensible husband with a flashlight who insisted I wear shoes) to capture my first “fake thingie.”
Perhaps I did do a little research one morning before my bike ride to find out what exactly those blue towers are for (you swipe the picture of the place and charge up on Poké Balls) and perhaps I did stop a couple of times on my ride to capture Pokémon and gather ammo.
Okay, I admit it. I did all those things. And I will also admit that I am having fun fumbling around with a game...an app...a facet of popular culture that I previously either ignored or outright scorned.
I’ve made it to a whopping level 3, and I’m not going to do any (more) research online to figure out what exactly the point of all of this really is, or what else there is to do in this game besides open the app every time I’m in a new place to see what invisible towers and creatures might be lurking. I don’t even want to think about the battles that apparently happen at the Pokémon gyms after I’ve gotten to level 5.
The research I can’t wait to do will come from conversations with my students about this phenomenon. I’m as sure that they’ll be eager to teach me as I am that they will have been playing this game since it’s release.
It’s been a very long time since I’ve had an authentic “in” when it comes to popular culture. I know the books, but not the movies, music, celebrities, TV shows, or (usually) video games that make up the world of my students (or my young colleagues, for that matter). I’m looking forward to being able to being a bit of an insider, and it’s definitely worth remembering that scorn slams door shut, while dipping one’s toes in the strange waters of a differently augmented reality can open doors.
(UPDATE: Since writing this post a week ago, I am now on Level 5 (how do I join a team??), I know where to find my Pokédex, and I have hatched an egg by walking for 2km.)