Staaby thinks that Pokémon Go, which combines GPS positioning with 3D graphics to allow users to hunt little virtual monsters in the real world, could be a natural learning tool in Norwegian classrooms.
Staaby specializes in using games to educate and said there are a number of ways Pokémon Go could help students learn in a fun way.
“For me, the appeal of the game lies much in the database the game uses to place PokéStops and PokéGyms,” he told The Local.
“Say I am teaching a unit on local history, which is a part of the history curriculum in Norwegian schools. Since many of the PokéStops are linked to real world memorials, statues and other places of historical significance, I could easily imagine asking my students to write a short article on the PokéStops close to where they live or where they normally hang out with their friends,” he explained.
Staaby said that the game could use be used in math class.
“Students could be given a task that asks them to find the most effective PokéStop route through a geographical area, or to measure the statistical chances of getting more than three items when spinning a PokéStop, of hatching a rare Pokémon in an egg, and so on,” he said.
With Pokémon Go a massive phenomenon in Norway and around the world, Staaby said educators could use it to reach students in a way that traditional methods cannot.
“I would never use a game as the only teaching tool in any given unit, but if used correctly, it can become a very valuable addition,” he said.
The educator is no stranger to using pop culture in the classroom. In 2014, he received international attention for using the zombie video game The Walking Dead to teach his students about ethics.
Staaby told The Local that he didn’t have any concrete plans to use Pokémon Go when school starts up “but that could easily change over the weeks to come.”
He first shared his thoughts on the game’s classroom opportunities with national broadcaster NRK and other educators were warm to the idea.
“Pokémon Go or other commercial games can have many positive educational aspects,” Eirik Jåtten, the rector at Revheim School in Stavanger, told NRK. “Games aren’t for all teachers but games can be a part of a larger method selection that can used to create positive learning for individual students.”
Pokémon Go has become such a sensation in Norway that newspaper VG has launched a dedicated feature to bring real-time coverage of all Pokémon-related news worldwide. And just last month, two grown men in Sandefjord got into a fight over the game sending one to hospital with a head wound.
The game has sent players exploring in little visited areas all over the world, leading to the discovery of corpses in Denmark and the US.
But the roaming has also led to a spate of injuries, with around two people daily coming to the emergency ward with Pokémon-related injuries in Oslo alone.
In Denmark, a 21-year-old Pokémon hunter was killed last month when he was run over by a delivery vehicle while the app was running on his phone.
Also in Denmark, an IT company has tried to lure employees to a vacant position by offering to pay their salary in Pokémon Go coins and Powerballs.