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New classroom approach uses Pokemon Go to teach communication skills

12/05/2017 Joanna

The popular mobile game Pokemon Go could be used as a tool to help school students to improve their communication skills, according to new research.

A US study led by Iowa State University has demonstrated how the game can be used to teach children multimodal communication skills and put complex ideas into words by setting writing assignments based on how to use the app.

The paper, published in the journal The Reading Teacher, indicated that Pokemon Go is a good fit as a teaching tool due to the range of different modes of communication it incorporates. In addition to text, it utilises gestures, visual cues and navigation tasks in its map-based gameplay, while limiting the information it provides in other areas in order to encourage players to learn.

As such, the report indicated that teachers can have students identify questions about Pokemon Go, find the answers in the game and present their findings in different formats via online platforms, where their work can be shared with family and friends.

This kind of task would encourage students to develop the skills they need to share knowledge and communicate complex ideas to different audiences, leveraging their preexisting interest in and enthusiasm for the game.

Study leader Emily Howell, an assistant professor at Iowa State University's school of education, said: "It is important to give students authentic choices that really have meaning in their lives. We need to encourage them to develop questions, research the answers and then share that information in writing."

She added that this underlines the importance of teachers observing habits and interests that students already have, before considering how that enthusiasm can be harnessed in a learning environment.

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