Friday 5: How esports engages students


Key points:

Academic esports programs aren’t simply a group of students sitting in a classroom playing video games. Rather, teams and tournaments promote collaboration, critical thinking, communication skills, and offer inclusive environments that welcome students from all backgrounds and with all abilities.

How can schools create esports programs and teams?

Conversations around the benefits of esports have centered on collegiate and secondary levels, but recently, the conversation has expanded to include elementary esports, too. Like any new venture, this is something that takes time to fully understand. The beauty is that there is a room full of experts to journey alongside their teacher. It is incredibly powerful when the classroom is flipped and students have an opportunity to share their passions and expertise with their teacher. Here are 6 tips to start an elementary program.

Where are esports tournaments held?

Esports tournaments can be held in any number of places, including online platforms, sponsor locations, community centers, or in schools. There are many resources out there from educators who have been working to build academic programs globally. One of these resources, the North American Scholastic Esports Federation, focuses specifically on the scholastic implementation of esports, with free curriculum modules created by educators through their scholastic fellows program. Learn more about the basics of esports program creation and tournaments.

Is esports a good career?

Esports is a solid move in an academic career–and, if you put in the work, in a professional career as well. Programs instill important leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills that students will carry with them throughout their education. As we look at examples in schools and the real world, we realize just how much potential these programs have for students. When schools invest in esports teams, they’re investing in high-level hardware that also integrates into STEM and STEAM programs, which means students wind up having more opportunities to get hands-on experience and learn in-demand skills for careers. Many of the skills that students develop by participating in esports also translate to STEAM and STEM career tracks, according to UC Irvine research. Here’s how esports careers help students thrive.

How do I participate in esports tournaments?

You can participate in esports tournaments by finding leagues in your school district and jumping in. Often, program directors will offer tips and best practices when it comes to creating your own program in your school or district. An elementary program that meets young learners’ needs should include considerations for learning space design and high-quality furnishings. Here’s how to get started.

What do esports players do?

The benefits of esports are well documented. A significant body of research has found that students who participate in these organizations benefit from increased emotional regulation, academic achievement, and graduation rates. Competitions have made their way into the hearts and minds of students and youths across the country. An increasing number of schools are launching clubs and competition teams as extracurricular activities that appeal to a broad range of students and can excite fans and viewers all over the world. For institutions of learning, particularly schools that compete for student enrollment, having an established esports program or team can help them stand out the same way a good football or volleyball team can attract both student athletes and fans. Some colleges have even begun offering full scholarships to talented players. Here’s what players can do once they leave K-12 schools.

Laura Ascione
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