Pokemon GO as a learning tool

National 4 minutes, 10 seconds


FADS come and go. And though the Pokemon GO craze is already showing signs of fatigue as a game, it is just beginning to gather energy as a learning tool.

Despite the declining interest on the game and its augmented reality (AR), its technology would have much to offer especially as a form of inspiration to students wishing to take gaming development to a higher level.

“It could provide inspiration to students to build better games,” said a Programming and IT lecturer at the Cosmopolitan College of Business and Technology (CCCT). CCCT offered the first local gaming diploma course because of students who had approached the school expressing their interest in gaming development.

Fazal Hashim said that none of his students have approached him to express interest in developing games using AR — a technology that makes use of one’s real existing environment and overlays it with computer-generated sensory input — , however, the knowledge that such a game has been created would have endless possibilities should they decide to venture into or to have the technology used in classes.

“Pokémon GO can be a learning application in the future. It has not happen yet but it could be the next level of learning. Now it is more towards entertainment and maybe it could also be used for research,” said the lecturer. “They may have new ideas and it could evolve further as a learning app especially it being interactive,” he added.

He expressed optimism for the technology which was considered impossible a decade ago. “It is an evolution of 10 to 15 years of technology. According to the current technology, it is very new at this time,” said Fazal.

It could branch out into biology and geography, he added, however, any new features would help dictate the direction it could take.

“We would have to see what direction Niantic (the company that created Pokémon GO) takes in the future but we can obviously see it benefitting many parties now such as businesses,” he explained.

However, the game’s technology could only be fully utilised if it is used correctly, the lecturer said.


Extra features to our lives

For the technology responsible for Pokemon GO to soon turn into a helpful learning tool, Fazal said: “More awareness is needed. It is after all, just a game. It is not an essential part of live. You could say it is just an extra feature to our lives.”

And these extra features extend beyond entertainment.

Everyone knows that Pokemon GO is the latest fad worldwide which finally became available in Brunei last August. During the first few weeks, people were hooked and were walking with their eyes glued on their mobile phones trying to catch little monsters.

It has given birth to some household words such as Pokemon hunters, pokestops, pokeballs to name a few. A gym is no longer the gym we used to know.

Pokemon GO even became the topic of a recent Friday sermon. There were concerns over the way the game is played as Pokemon hunters have to take to the streets to not only catch the Pokémon but to replenish their virtual supplies at pokéstops which are basically popular places of interest.

The Tasek Lama Recreational Park has several pokéstops and its park wardens have noticed the sudden increase in their visitors.

Tasek Lama Park Warden Supervisor Hj Anuar Hj Mohd Taib expressed his concerns about the game and the safety of the visitors who frequent the park. “Do not reach the point where you enter the forests. If it is just walking around (the park then) we will not forbid that. If you do walk around, make sure you do not walk into the waterfall. We will not allow that. We will warn you, you cannot play there. It is an issue of your own safety,” he said.

“When playing, they should look ahead. If possible, sit down while playing. There are seats here, it is better like that,” said the park warden supervisor who was also worried about the upkeep of the government-run park with its increased visitors.

A father-son playing duo at the Damuan Recreational said that the game going live has made their relationship much better.

Mohammad Thaqif Sukirman said that he had learned of Pokémon GO when his father had informed him when the game went live in the sultanate.

“Actually, I asked my friend about the game. They had started to play it. It has its good and bad points,” said Sukirman Hj Jamil, Mohammad Thaqif’s father.

“We seldom come here but after he finished his mengaji (Quran classes), we decided to drop over here and try the game. It is quite an experience,” said the father.

On whether the game has affected the relationship in any way, Mohammad Thaqif said it has been good.

“We do know about each other a lot and there has always been a lot of sharing between us,” he said.

The Brunei Times