Sunday, August 7, 2016

Augmented Reality's Watershed Moment—Pokemon Go

On July 12th I sent the following email message to my librarian colleagues.

Subject: This is happening

"So when the NYTimes wrote about it yesterday, I was pretty convinced something was going on beyond my small circle of weird in Portland, OR. And then the Chronicle piece this morning convinced me that yeah, this is definitely happening (and maybe even college campuses should pay attention) least for now.
Will the frenzy still be happening by fall? Who knows (If I was to bet, I'd say no. For one, the servers can not handle it, and USA was just added along with only two other countries so far though they say more to come very soon). (Note: The email was written four weeks ago, server and bug issues have improved with regular updates by Niantic.)

So what am I talking about?!  Below are a few links with my brief commentary :)


Finally, here's an amusing old guy's take (age 37!):

So, maybe someday people will actually know what augmented reality (AR) is, and at that point maybe we can do something with it in education.
(Note: I've been following augmented reality in higher education for several years and explored and presented on the topic in 2010-11. However, AR never did mainstream or become widely used in higher education as predicted by the annual Horizon Report in 2010.)

Most in the US now know what a QR code is so anything is possible! Happy Tuesday!
And be sure to check out the Wheaton College President's IG post: "

 That night I went out and afterward I wrote and shared a few more thoughts with my colleagues...

"Oh my goodness, I went out walking throughout the main streets of Multnomah Village after arriving home from work. According to my stats I walked 2.89 miles. I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime, and I am old!
The weather was beautiful and the restaurants were packed with people eating at the outside tables as well as inside. People were walking up and down the four main blocks on SW Capitol Hwy and then down a block on the side streets and then walking down the four parallel blocks on Multnomah Blvd and then back all over again. There are many pokestops in the Village (and fabulous gyms!) and if you stop at one you can gather pokeballs and eggs and other paraphernalia and then 15min (turns out more like 5min) or so later, you can go back and do it all again. While you're walking Pokemon can appear from anywhere and you can capture them and level up. The streets were very busy, more like a Friday or Saturday night than a Tuesday, maybe because the weather was so nice, I'm not sure.
Pokemon in Multnomah Village, Portland, OR July 13, 2016
Multnomah Village is an interesting place because there are a lot of young couples with small children and the other primary demographic is older people like me. Not a lot of in-between ages like in the burbs but there are some teenagers as well. Anyway, I would honestly say that at least 90% of the people that I passed while walking were playing Pokemon Go (ALL ages from small children with their parents to many people older than me!). I passed young couples with small children, older couples walking in pairs and some with groups of friends, a couple of groups of teenagers, and older individuals like myself. All playing Pokemon Go! It was wild. Strangers were talking to each other, at least three times as I walked past people they looked over at me and said, Pokemon Go?! Everyone had their smartphones out and after a while it was easy to tell they were playing the game. A couple with small children just getting started asked me a few questions, an hour later I ran into them again and the two kids, age five and six were excited to tell me they had each captured a Pokemon. I asked a group of teens a power up question, they were super nice and glad to help. You could hear people talking about Pokemon Go everywhere. It was so strange and amazing. I eventually ran out of power and walked home."
Multnomah Arts Center Pokemon

The following day I read this piece Pokémon Go is an augmented-reality watershed and could not agree more. The fact that people are now fully aware of augmented reality is the most exciting part of the Pokemon Go phenomena. Now that AR has mainstreamed, it will be interesting to watch as AR and virtual reality technologies continue to develop in education.
The 2016 Higher Education Horizon Report has listed under the heading "Important Developments in Educational Technology for Higher Education" Augmented and Virtual Reality Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years. Thanks in part to Pokemon Go, this just might come to pass.