Pokéstops are accidentally teaching people about hidden history, and that's a good thing
Okay, so by now, everybody is aware of Pokémon Go—the iPhone game that has sparked a fitness revolution, caused like-minded gamers to link up romantically, and even encouraged children with autism to venture out of their shell (phew!).
But there are some educational benefits to playing the game as well.
As players hunt for fictional creatures, they come across historical monuments and landmarks dotted along their GPS trail that they didn’t necessarily pay attention to before.
On the Pokémon Go map, these pinpoints are called Pokéstops, where players can stock up on virtual balls. They can either linger there for a few moments to take in their surroundings, or head on their way.
Jaiden Cruz from Providence, Rhode Island, 15, is one of the players who’s taking advantage of the Pokestops to learn a thing or two. “Before I was just going from Point A to Point B, but now I’m learning things,” he told the Associated Press. One of the Pokéstops he found was a plaque that marks where Abraham Lincoln spoke at a railroad hall in 186o.
Cheryl DiMarzio is another player who is keenly aware of the bonus educational aspect of Pokémon Go. “It gets you to learn about your surroundings,” she said, referring to “different landmarks, the statues, historical places.”
The fact that these historical places pop up on the Pokemon Go map is no coincidence, either. About five years ago, Google signed a licensing agreement to use The Historical Marker Database, a website which tracks geographical coordinates of historical markers from around the world.
Anthony Golding is a middle-school teacher in Mississippi, and he’s thinking of actually incorporating Pokestops into his classroom curriculum. “After the newness kind of wears off, we can start to have those conversations about the historical significance behind those Pokestops.”
Anything that gets people out and about and actively engaged in the world is a good thing, so three cheers to Pokémon Go!