After spending more than 27 years in education as a former district leader, principal, and teacher, I know firsthand the impact innovative ideas can have on students who do not feel connected to their school. After two years of teaching and learning during a pandemic, I can't imagine a better time in education to try something new.
For many schools, esports is the perfect tool that educators need to add to their toolbelts to not only engage students but also retain teachers. Many educators do not realize that there are many entry points for esports. For some schools, esports may be a completely new concept and they are in the discovery phase, other schools have a competitive esports team, other schools begin their esports journey by offering a for-credit elective course.
All schools are realizing that esports is coming and is here to stay in education. It's not a matter of if but when.
If you are just beginning your journey or have a well-established scholastic gaming program, you will often be asked, “What benefits do esports bring to a school?” Below is a list of 10 reasons esports should be embedded into every school as a for-credit course, club, and competitive team:
Mental Health Crisis in Education. In 2021, the surgeon general said adolescent female trips to the ER for suicidal thoughts increased 53%. Current evidence-based data proves that purposeful play (esports) helps students' self-efficacy, self-esteem, and life skills.
Post-Secondary Success. Esports is a billion-dollar industry. Whether earning an esports scholarship to college, enjoying a career in esports, or becoming a professional esports player, students have an abundance of opportunities in esports.
Improved Attendance and Grades. Since 2018, schools using Gaming Concepts curriculum have reported improved grade point averages for students and up to 10% attendance increases.
Increased Student Engagement. 82% of students who participated in Gaming Concepts Esports curriculum as an after-school activity stated it was the first time they have participated in ANY extracurricular activity.
Focused Diversity and Inclusion. Esports Gaming Concepts curriculum includes discussions and action items to increase diversity and inclusion in esports and school life.
Encourages Females to Pursue STEM Careers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce. STEM jobs are often high-paying and in demand. Esports can provide females a digital framework with an interesting, non-threatening entrypoint into STEM career research.
Pathways to Socialization. When students connect to school with esports, they find a peer group and have increased socialization and relationships.
Teaches Digital Citizenship. Using real-world, authentic lessons before, during, and after esports purposeful play can help students dissect the perils of social media, along with a toxic comparison to peers and self-loathing.
Reflection Leads to Learning. Gaming Concepts esports curriculum empowers students to reflect and learn to accept feedback from a safe staff member. When students reflect, the learning becomes embedded.
Exciting Entry into CTE Pathways. Esports Gaming Concepts curriculum follows the Web and Digital Communications CTE pathway in the Information Technology Cluster (IT). It is peer-edited and STEM.org accredited.
It can be intimidating to think about starting a scholastic gaming program in your school, but the excitement that esports brings to school culture is worth the hardship. Reaching out to an established esports provider such as Generation Esports, connecting with an established esports school in your area, and finding a staff member in your school to champion the program will help ensure a successful launch.