When it comes to P.E. class, there are hundreds if not thousands of students who’ve retained traumatic memories of wayward dodge balls and being picked last for a team sports. So, when those students eventually hit secondary education and discover colleges have P.E. requirements, a decent bit of damage is done. But, now, the Department of Movement Sciences at the University of Idaho is wanting to change all that - and they're planning to do so with Pokemon GO.
This fall, the university is providing a new P.E. course called Pop Culture Games for both aspiring trainers and fitness enthusiasts. The course promises to, “teach students about leading active lifestyles, building teamwork and exploring their communities through games like the megahit smartphone app Pokemon Go and the live-action game Humans vs. Zombies.”
Steven Bird, the course instructor, said that he’s had this class in development for some time now but knew that Pokemon GO needed to be added to the curriculum given its massive popularity. “I want it to be more than people going, ‘I’m going to go catch a Pikachu.’ This app does more than let you shoot a Pokeball,” he said. “ 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.”
Already, Pokemon GO has been praised by various organizations and leaders for promoting healthy habits since the app requires players to walk around. Dedicated trainers have already boasted about their new fitness routines online, celebrating weight loss milestones and their overall cardiac health. For many fans who’ve avoided exercise, Pokemon GO has given them a nostalgic excuse to take a walk around the neighborhood. After all, if a Pikachu were waiting for you at the end of a hard run, wouldn’t you be a bit more excited to lace up your sneakers?
Philip Scruggs, the chair of the Department of Movement Sciences, said he hopes the class will show students that exercise can be a fun, communal activity. “We are hoping to capture the interest in Pokemon Go and other active games and draw the link with a healthy, active lifestyle,” he explained. “It’s a great way to engage youth through adults, and a great way to engage families in active games together. Our interest is to turn folks onto an active lifestyle, and that can be achieved in endless ways.”
Now, let’s just hope these kids don’t start a faction war between the app’s three teams: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct. The rivalry could become very real, y’all - It could get ugly.