Hunter teachers harness pop culture power

The Pokemon Go game has been on the receiving end of some bad publicity recently, with reports of muggings and accidents befalling victims wandering the streets with their eyes glued to their smart phones.
Nanjing Night Net

But a Hunter school has harnessed the power ofthe wildly popular app to help students living with autism.

The app is based on the Pokemon cartoon and video games that started in Japan in the late 1990s and became a global phenomenon.Pokemon has had a cultural revival in recent monthsafter the launch of the new app.

The latest version of the game requires players to look at the world around them through the camera on their smart phone and find animated creatures –Pokemon –to catch, train and use to battle against other players.

Students at Aspect Hunter School, based at Thornton, have been using Pokemon Go to overcome their social anxieties and get outdoors –things that have been challenging for some of these children.

The school, which has satellite classes atCardiff, Belmont,Waratah West, Tarro, Abermain and Port Macquarie, has been recognised recently for its innovative use of the game.

The recognition came from The Educator Magazine, which named Aspect Hunter as one Australia’s most innovative schools for 2016.While this was broad acknowledgement of the great work the school has done for children with autism, the Pokemon Go program was a major innovation that made Aspect Hunter stand out.

Deputy principal Craig Smith, who developed the program, said he had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from students’ parents.

“They said the program is giving their kids the motivation to go out on social walks, something they never once had the confidence to do,” he said.

“This is achieving social and emotional goals through something they love.”

The staff at Aspect Hunter School deserve congratulations for being in touch with current popular culture trends enough to engage theirstudents and help them overcome difficulties in an enjoyable way.

The success of this program clearly shows the value of quality educators who are able to draw from the world around them –even in unlikely ways –sochildren can learn skills that will help them through the rest of their lives.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.


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