Ever since the popular smartphone-based game Pokémon GO became a worldwide phenomenon, much has been said about its benefits, from encouraging people to be more active to even helping with learning.
One U.S. university took this a step further and is actually incorporating the game into a class, in a bid to get more students out and about.
According to a statement released by the University of Idaho, this Fall, students can sign up for a new module, called “Pop Culture Games”, which will teach them about “leading active lifestyles, building teamwork and exploring their communities through games”.
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Pokémon GO is one of many games that will be included in the class syllabus.
Course instructor Steven Bird said: “This app does more than let you shoot a Pokéball. You get to adventure around, seeing different things, being active, seeing the sun. It allows you to move in large groups and a team. You get not only physical activity, but you also get team-building and leadership.”
Bird said he had been preparing the course for some time, even before the launch of the global Pokéhit, but seeing the game become an overnight sensation convinced him to include it in the course.
“The game’s clever technology and nostalgic content encourages people who might normally shy away from organized exercise to get outside, get moving and meet other players,” he said.
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Besides catching Pokémon, students taking the class will also get involved in organizing the campus-wide Humans vs. Zombie club’s annual competition, which combines elements of tag, hide-and-seek, and other games for a massive, multiplayer event that lasts for days.
The university’s Department of Movement Sciences chair, Philip Scruggs, said the goal of introducing the course was to give students a fun, creative class that at the same time imparted skills such as leadership, ethics, safety, and respect.
“We are hoping to capture the interest in Pokémon GO and other active games and draw the link with a healthy, active lifestyle,” he added.
Hey – if you’re going to be playing games anyway, why not do it for some class credit?
Image via Associated Press