Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Be Careful What You Scorn


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 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.)


  1. There is so much to love about this post. I love that you tried it despite your scorn. I love that you liked it. I love that you know it's good for your students to see you trying things like this. There is a real world out there and Pokemon Go gets kids out there. PS there's a gym my son dragged me to outside the historical museum in our town. A historical museum in my town? I had no idea! Get it?

  2. This is really fabulous. We can't underestimate the power of connecting with our students. And, I just love that you made it to level 5. Have fun sharing (and battling?).

  3. You are so hip and with it! This is on my list of things to try before school starts! Here's an article from ASCD on the classroom possibilities of Pokemon Go!

  4. i haven't tried it, but I love seeing parents and kids out in our community playing. What's not to like about that?

  5. This is Adorable. My son has JUST started playing.

  6. This makes me laugh. I was out today with Annie and our friend's daughters ages 7 and 11. I was asking a million questions as they taught me the finer points of Pokemon Go. Level 2 for me.

  7. I have the app and that's it. You're gong to educate me next week. After all teaching someone is the best teacher.

  8. I love this post, Mary Lee! Love that your "scorn" was cast aside when the casting was good, and that you wrote about it.

    I don't think I'll try it unless my old flip phone will help me find the goods -- haven't broken it out since the NCTE14 texting fiasco--but so glad that you are reporting from the field!

  9. I love this post and your story. My neighbor taught me about it and then I had The girls get it so I could have a little knowledge. Maybe I need to take the plunge myself. It's been fun having them more willing to walk with me and see them interact together and then with my husband.

  10. Anonymous1:41 AM

    I love the post and the reflective nature of it. How often have I fallen into the same trap (and still do): just last week I found out that the song I love listening to on the radio was by someone I have scorned before! Glad I am not the only one...

  11. So fun to see you having fun!

  12. You may have just convinced me to get the app. I talked with some kids at church last weekend to try to get my head around it, and a boy of about 12-13 said, "It's great! It gets kids outside!" He also told me it was free if you don't buy any of the extras. I was being so resistant, but maybe I need to embrace it.

  13. Oh Mary Lee you are the bomb (or whatever one's supposed to say when you are the best) ! I REALLY did not want to try this. Probably because I was too involved in my own world to poke my nose into something a little foreign. But you have pushed me. I'm going to look up the app and see what I can find!

    PS Your observational skills must serve you well in this alternate world. Thanks for the adventure.

  14. I love it! You are so awesome. I may still be in the scorning stage. Maybe I'll try it...I do think it's so important to keep up with pop culture in order to be relevant to our kids, and you're doing that! Kudos to Level 5!

  15. Pop culture integrated into literacy is such a phenomenon now and you grasped the bull by the horns. My digcit group has been talking up a storm about Pokemon Go and I listen with interest but you opened the door to exploration. Thanks for the introduction.


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