Washington: Playing Pokemon Go can now help students earn course credits, thanks to a university in the US that has introduced a new class which will incorporate the widely popular augmented reality game.
This fall, students at the University of Idaho (UI) in the US who opt for the "Pop Culture Games" class will wander around the campus gathering Pokeballs and searching for Pikachu, Jigglypuff and Snorlax - while earning course credits.
The physical activity class will also teach students about leading active lifestyles, building teamwork and exploring their communities through games like the megahit smartphone app Pokemon Go and the live-action game Humans versus Zombies.
Students will help organise the campus Humans versus Zombie club's annual competition, which combines elements of tag, hide-and-seek and other games for a massive, multiplayer event that lasts for days.
"I want it to be more than people going, 'I am going to go catch a Pikachu,'" said course instructor Steven Bird from UI.
"This app does more than let you shoot a Pokeball. You get to adventure around, seeing different things, being active, seeing the sun. It allows you to move in large groups and a team. You get not only physical activity, but you also get team-building and leadership," said Bird.
According to him, the game's clever technology and nostalgic content encourages people who might normally shy away from organised exercise to get outside, get moving and meet other players.
"The goal is to give students a fun, creative class that teaches them skills to take with them far beyond an afternoon searching for Charmander or throwing Nerf balls at "zombies" on the administration building lawn - skills like leadership, ethics, safety and respect," said Philip Scruggs from IU.
"We are hoping to capture the interest in Pokemon Go and other active games and draw the link with a healthy, active lifestyle," said Scruggs.
"It is a great way to engage youth through adults, and a great way to engage families in active games together. Our interest is to turn folks onto an active lifestyle, and that can be achieved in endless ways," he added.