The world of esports has grown massively over the last several years – both as a professional entertainment industry and, more importantly, as a scholastic initiative for building character and career skills.
For those unfamiliar, scholastic esports (short for electronic sports) are extracurricular gaming programs open to all students regardless of ability level. Typically, esports teams from different schools are organized into leagues, gathering for head-to-head gaming events in which individuals and/or teams compete playing popular game titles that emphasize dexterity, strategy, problem-solving, and cooperation. Educators are recognizing the developmental benefits of esports participation and are supporting participants accordingly, with millions in collegiate esports scholarships awarded annually.
While the fame and fortune of superstar competitors may get all the attention, esports programs for K-12 and higher education are delivering real and lasting benefits for a far greater number of participants, in the form of equality and inclusion, teamwork, career enablement and professional development, and social interaction.
One tip for establishing a successful scholastic esports program is to seek out reliable guidance for how to create your own structure and “rule book”— a search that might initially seem daunting, given that esports is a nascent field. But without an independent resource that can offer strong guiding principles, your esports development runs the risk of being co-opted by profit-minded business interests.
With so many influences in the mix and so many variables to consider – hardware, facilities, platforms, software, and more – it’s easy to lose sight of the ultimate mission of scholastic esports: helping students rise to their greatest potential.
SHI understands the promise of scholastic esports as a positive influence in the lives of young learners. Our focus has been on identifying what makes a superior, smooth-operating, and well-rounded scholastic esports program, what its goals and metrics should be, and how to sustain a vibrant, evolving program that earns community-wide support.