Murray, UT – Over the past week, the iOS and Android app “Pokémon-Go” has captured the attention of teens and unambitious adults around the world, quickly surpassing both Tinder and Snapchat in popularity. The American International School of Utah, which is also in the business of capturing teenage attention, is hoping to use the popular app to encourage students to “finally at least show up” to the school once classes start in mid-August.
“Whenever we hear of something succeeding with the teen demographic, our first thought is, ‘How can we use this to get students to go to class?’” said an anonymous AISU staff member named Mike Stumph. “To borrow a phrase, we intend to ‘catch them all.’”
The school has released a full augmented-reality floor plan of its new Pokémon-Go setup, which includes Pokéstops in every classroom except for the performing arts classrooms, which are reserved for Pokémon recreation and breeding. As part of the plan, the P.E. classes have been renamed “Advanced Pokémon Egg Hatching,” and part-timers from K2 have been hired to nurture innovative “Pokémon wildlife centers” in the atrium.
The Pokémon-Go setup floor plan for AISU’s main floor. Picture anonymously provided by Bill Glad.
“If this doesn’t get students to come to school, I don’t know what will.” Stated Stumph.
As a result of these implementations, the school has already begun to attract many teenagers and middle-aged single men who live in the apartments behind the school but apparently do not yet have adult responsibilities. The problem, however, is that classes don’t start for another month. But while school officials were initially opposed to strangers wandering around the school in the middle of the summer, they say they’ve now taken advantage of the opportunity.
“At first we threatened to enroll them in Beginning Orchestra or a GCE integrated course, but that didn’t scare them away, so we turned it into a sort of impromptu summer school program,” said Mr. Justis, who asked to remain anonymous. “We’ve brought teachers on who are trained to locate Pokémon and Pokéstops and shove useless information at hopeful Pokémon catchers while they’re violently swiping their smartphones. Once a week, we’ll give each ‘trainer’ a true-or-false test to assess learning, using the ‘blink once for true, twice for false’ approach.”
“If it works well, we might even use it as the school’s base curriculum once it’s not cool anymore,” Justis added.
Enrolled AISU students have noted that, while they would be more encouraged to attend school if it were full of augmented reality Pokémon and Pokéstops, they are worried that by mid-August, Pokémon-Go just might not be popular anymore. In fact, some experts say that even augmented reality itself will be obsolete by next month, predicting that the trend by that time will be new “pure-reality” games, consisting of actual physical interaction without interference from devices. AISU hasn’t yet made a statement on these predictions, but most observers believe there is little chance the school will change its position, given its history of holding on to policies even after they are proven ineffective, along with the fact that many faculty members “love Pokémon.”