In his excellent post, Pokemon 101 for Teachers & Librarians, JP of answers the question, “What does Pokemon have to do with schools/libraries?”  I’d like to take that a bit further and, based on his points, articulate what it has to do with school libraries.

I believe that gaming is an excellent way for students to develop the skills, dispositions, responsibilities, and self-assessment strategies which will carry them into the future.  We can see exactly how this works for Pokemon by aligning it with AASL’s Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.  [Note: I have only played Pokemon Red and I never actually finished it; I have played the Pokemon Trading Card Game quite a bit.]

First, let’s address a couple of the foundational beliefs.

Reading is a window to the world.  If a student can’t read, she’ll have a hard time playing Pokemon, either the video game or the card game.  In both the video game and the card game, students are required to read descriptions of the individual Pokemon and their powers to determine which Pokemon to use as they battle their opponent.  In the video game, they also have to read as they engage in conversation with characters in the game.

Learning has a social context. In some versions of Pokemon, players can engage in multiplayer battles.  Players must trade Pokemon if they wish to complete their Pokedex, an in-game database which contains information about the individual Pokemon.  There is, to my knowledge, no solitaire version of the Pokemon card game; it must be played opposite an opponent.

Now, let’s move on to specific standards and indicators.

Learners use skills, resources, and & tools to:

1. Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. 2. Draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to knew situations, and create new knowledge. 3.  Share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society. 4. Pursue personal and aesthetic growth. There are many other ways in which Nintendo's vast Pokemon empire can be used to enhance students' learning.  How can you take advantage of this opportunity in your school library?