Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pokemon Research

Research. Something most students approach with dread.
My own children undertake their own research - for Pokemon - and I can say that the research process is alive and well, at least in my house.

My kids are avid Pokemon players. They have both finished the Black & White game but are still playing because they have goals they wish to obtain, such as capturing legendary creatures. (A new teacher friend in Simcoe County has switched his description of learning goals and success criteria to achievements and unlocking achievements, and it makes more sense ... but this post isn't about school.) Some of these challenges aren't intuitive or just a matter of completing a task a certain amount of times. To help them complete their missions and achieve their goals, they turn to different resources.

One favourite tool is their Pokemon Strategy Guide. The book (yes, it's a book) contains maps, tips, and other valuable written advice. I saw my daughter playing on her DS with the book opened beside her so she could refer to it when needed.

YouTube is useful for seeing exactly how it's done, and my son likes consulting videos when he's stuck on a certain section of his game.

When the kids can't find what they are looking for in the guide or on YouTube, they turn to their father to help them find the answers to their questions. I guess that makes him the "librarian" of the house. He will use search engines or reference his favourite game websites to discover the information the kids need. They will also talk with some of their friends about it, but they take their friends' advice with a huge chunk of salt. They critically evaluate the information they get from their school chums because one time, my daughter's friends told her that Rapidash, her favourite Pokemon, could evolve into Speedhorn - which turned out to be untrue.

Their research questions are clear and practical (e.g. "How do I catch Volcarona?"). They know what resources to access, and those resources are varied (e.g. books, websites, people experts). They process the information by trying it out on their game. Finally, if they are successful, they can transfer their information by sharing it with their sibling. Pokemon research, at its best!

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