Insert a witty comment here about how long its been since the last time I updated my blog. But hey, I’m back to share something new that I made to support digital citizenship education in the classroom! Two years ago this month I created some Star Wars inspired digital citizenship posters, and here we are getting ready for another school year to begin… only this time around my inspiration is Pokémon.
No doubt you’ve heard about the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go, an augmented reality (AR) app game released in June that allows you to become a real life Pokémon trainer and capture Pokémon in the wild on your phone using GPS. So you’re sitting at your dining room table and suddenly a Pikachu appears and you can toss a virtual pokéball to catch it! There are over 150 different species of Pokémon and they all have their own unique traits & abilities and strengths & weaknesses. Once you acquire a variety of Pokémon you can power them up and then battle other trainers out there. Why, you ask? For fun and personal glory of course! Your trainer avatar levels up as you go, gaining experience with every Pokémon you catch. You’ll eventually run out of supplies to catch Pokémon with, though, so the game encourages you to go out and visit “pokéstops” – landmarks in the real world like parks and monuments and other points of interest – where you can pick up some free supplies just for stopping by. So if you’ve seen a bunch of people congregating at a local fountain or park, talking and sharing their screens… that’s probably why.
There are always pros and cons to every new “next big thing” and Pokémon Go is no different. As an educator I always invite students to think about and discuss the pros and cons of new technology and trends in Digital Learning and how they affect us now and potentially in the future. For example, Pokémon Go requires location services and the use of your device’s GPS signal, which can be a privacy concern especially with younger children. Parents definitely need to moderate and supervise the use of the game and students need to always be mindful of their surroundings. But there’s also the good – like how the game has encouraged people to get up and get moving, and how it has brought people together from all walks of life. Just this weekend at a park playground where my kids were playing I saw a boy who was probably in 5th grade run up to show his dad at a nearby bench a Pokémon he had just caught. I whipped out my phone and we started talking about strategies and sharing our favorite Pokémon catches with each other. I learned a thing or two from him and he learned a thing or two from me, and the boy’s dad commented on how cool it was that we were speaking the same “language.”
With the explosion of Pokémon Go this summer I knew it was going to be a hot topic in the classroom, too. ISTE and other sites have shared so many great ways to help integrate Pokémon Go and the AR gamification potential in the classroom to engage students, and I wanted to freshen up the classroom with some new digital citizenship posters, too. So… if Pokémon were digital citizenship concepts, what would they look like and what would their special abilities be? I modified some classic Pokémon characters to make 8 parody character posters that hopefully you (and your students!) will enjoy. They are:
To make these I started by sketching the modified characters on paper and taking a high resolution photo so that I could pull them into free editing software called Inkscape. In Inkscape I was able to turn the sketches into digital vector images. Then I pulled those vectors into an iOS app called Procreate to color them on my iPad. I used Chequered Ink’s free PocketMonk font as a finishing touch to give the posters a true Pokémon feel. It was a fun process! I really enjoyed the creativity of designing and coloring digitally, and trying some new software and apps out along the way. I’m also pretty pleased with the end result. It was fun imagining digital citizenship topics as Pokémon! (Want to see a time lapse video of me coloring these in Procreate? Too cool!)
I plan to hang these in the hallway around my classroom door to catch students’ attention and give them a feel for my Digital Learning class. And are you ready for the really cheesy part? (Wait, that wasn’t already the cheesiest part?) I plan to include a tagline like, “To be a good digital citizen you gotta catch ’em all!” or “To be the very best digital citizen, you gotta catch ’em all!”
Yup, nerd alert: I just went there.
You can grab the posters in one of two ways depending on your preference: If you’d like to download them as individual JPG image files, click HERE. If you’d rather download them as PDFs, click HERE. Regardless of download method, they are sized to be 8.5 x 11″ printed files. Please remember that the posters were created for fun and free personal classroom use only, and of course Pokémon is property of Pokémon/Nintendo.
DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP, I CHOOSE YOU! Enjoy, and I wish you and your students a great start to a new school year!