Our adventurous minds are leading the way

Emily Howell

There are crazes that are impractical (Squinkies, anyone?). Then there are ones that have the potential to impact lives. Iowa State School of Education assistant professor Emily Howell happens to think the Pokémon GO craze is the latter. In fact, she believes digital tools like this one -- where players use smartphones and tablets to virtually interact with their surroundings -- can do more than just get students active. She thinks they can do wonders to help them learn by using similar technology to complete class projects.

But before students can benefit from this technology, they need access to it. That's why Howell is working with teachers across Iowa to develop new ways to incorporate these kinds of digital tools in the classroom. Howell says games like Pokémon GO are a good fit for the classroom because they include different modes of communication like gestures, visuals, and direction. All of which can be incorporated into learning assignments.

After all, it's one thing to have students read a textbook on a tablet -- it's another deeper kind of learning to have them create videos, design graphics, and even build maps to complete their coursework. Said Howell, "It's not just giving students the technology and letting them play, it's really guiding that interaction so they can express meaning."

Turning a craze into a classroom game changer is just one of the ways Iowa State professors and researchers are helping make the world a better, smarter place. So there's no doubt that your adventure at Iowa State will include learning from -- or even working with -- some very awe-inspiring, adventurous minds.

Learn about other Cyclones and their adventures and nominate a Cyclone whose adventure story needs to be shared.