Guest Post by Rhonda Wise – My name is Rhonda Wise and I am currently working as a Seasonal Interpretive Park Ranger at Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in Johnson City, TX. As an Interpretive Ranger, my job is not only to educate but to connect our visitors, on a personal level, to the cultural and natural resources associated to the Johnson Presidency. The National Park Service is embarking on its second century of service. I want to make sure that I am prepared to represent the agency while adapting to meet the needs of our future visitors in a way that is relevant to them.
Pok’ewhat?!? Social media is swamped with the reports and posts, both good and bad, about the new Pok’emon Go mobile app and game. The mobile app takes gamers to historical sites and markers in a quest to ‘catch’ the Pok’emon creatures. The National Park Service is embracing it, with our current director producing a video welcoming Trainers, as the gamers are called, to the parks. With his endorsement, I added his video to our facebook page and welcomed trainers to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historik Park (but inside I am cringing).
Is this how we get millennials into and experiencing the parks? I read an article today that made a statement that took my attention. ”Pok’emon Go managed to accomplish something that museums, historic sites and others have struggled with for years: Getting a generation of nerds into the world to discover it, and its stories, anew.”
The positive… Pok’mon Go Live article
And the negative… Holocaust Museum
I will be anxiously watching as this plays out. Will we find new connections with this Pok’emon generation or will parks be a nondescript backdrop for the game? Is this or can this be used as a digital educational tool? Thoughts?
(Stay tuned. Rhonda is working on a project for the Educational Technology course. When it’s complete, an update will be made here to direct traffic to more of her engaging posts like this.)