Pokémon GO - The right approach to using this game in class!

Pokémon GO was released on 14th July 2016 by the end of the day, I had already had tweets and messages asking about how I would use it in class.

If you have followed the blog you will know I am a massive fan of using video games as a stimulus in class through my Camouflage Learning approach. Pokémon GO is another engaging game that joins the list alongside Angry Birds, Temple Run, Minecraft and Kinectimals as games that can inspire some quality writing in class.

What this blog post isn't going to be is a list of ideas for using the game; people have already beat me to it. I have already seen some great blogs about the potential of the game as a stimulus in class. Here are some I have enjoyed reading:

There's your summer reading list! 😂 Obviously, come September when we are back in school, I am sure to do some work based on the game and will be blogging about it in the future. 

What this blog post is about is the approach to using this game in class. For me, it is a way in which it can make learning REAL for children. A popular technique a lot of teachers use is the 'mantle of the expert' approach. In fact, I have just ordered the book by Tim Taylor: A beginner's guide to Mantle of the Expert. It came highly recommended from @BrynGoodman so it will be my summer read. 

A similar technique, that was introduced to me on the first training session I ever had with @AlanPeat a few years ago is the 'Mantle of the Fool' approach. 

Whenever I ask teachers what is the most popular game or film that their class is into and follow it with how many teachers have let their class write about the game, every hand goes down. 

When I ask why? The answer is always "I don't play the game."

Let me into a little secret... Neither do I. Don't get me wrong, I love films but I have never been a massive gamer. I recognise how many of my students are and so constantly look at how I can use children's enjoyment and engagement with video games to inspire other areas of learning.

This is where the Mantle of the Fool approach comes in. It is ok for you, as the teacher, not to be an expert, you can play 'the fool.' The children can teach you! Your role is to facilitate and guide pupils so that they can demonstrate and prove to the audience that they are the experts!

Imagine the following scenario as you get back into school in September:

"Right Class, I have seen so much over the summer about this game, Pokemon GO, has anyone played it?"

Reaction from Class:

"Brilliant, I wondered if you could do me a favour, I want to learn how to play. My friend keeps teasing me as he has got all these Pokemon and is on level 15. Do you think you could write a set of instructions for how to play, so I can read it and know how to play?"

"OK, first thing we will need to do is look at a set of instructions to see what needs to be included,"
"For me to understand these instructions, we will need the following..."

This is where quality resources like "The Ultimate Guide to Non-Fiction" by Mat Sullivan and Alan Peat, which has a wealth of useful language features for every non-fiction text type.

Your class will want to write a great set of instructions, including all the text features because they will want to prove that they are the experts. It gives them a purpose and makes the task meaningful. The idea that SPAG would be contextualised through this approach. This is something we really promote through READWRITEPERFOM.COM 

This for me, makes the writing process real for the children. In real life, you write instructions on something you are knowledgable about. Generally, you write about topics you are interested in. 

To really enhance the writing, I would be then looking at how to bring the writing to life through technology to turn it into a more modern set of instructions. For an in depth explanation of how to do this, check out my book - 50 iPad lessons for Non-Fiction. 

So different crazes, video games, toys will come and go, teachers should be open to using what the children are interested in as a stimulus for writing. Be the fool, let the children teach you and make the writing experience real for your pupils!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post, I would love to hear about how you use Pokemon Go in the classroom so please get in touch:


If you are interested in working with Mr P, check out what CPD he offers here and his available dates here. Email Davyhulme.iPad@gmail.com to book.


  1. Hi Lee, I've just written an EYFS computing unit around making a version of the Pokemon Go game using Aurasma. You can access it here if you're interested http://www.jecomputing.co.uk/unit-5.html
    Cheers, Jamie


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