The video game industry has experienced massive expansion since online play became widely available. Today, it's estimated that around 97% of teen boys and 83% of teen girls play video games. Now esports have created a professional space for highly skilled gamers.
What exactly are esports? esports are video game tournaments typically focused on player versus player competitive games. The biggest esports games that you may hear your students talking about are two team-based games: League of Legends, often referred to simply as ‘League’, and Defense of the Ancients, which is almost always called ‘Dota’.
What is the difference between esports and gaming? The most basic difference between esports and gaming is skill. While gaming is done as a fun hobby, the players in an esports tournament are performing at a professional level. They train for hours per day, have coaches and managers, meet to strategize game plans before tournaments, and even participate in post-game interviews.
The other important distinction between gaming and esports is the fan element. Spectators from around the globe have favorite players and teams they love to watch. It’s likely that your own students feel inspired by esports professionals, and they may even want to be a part of that industry someday. That’s not as unrealistic a dream as it sounds, especially with STEM education in the classroom. Video games present an opportunity to see STEM concepts applied to projects that change the lives of others. Forming a school esports club can take that opportunity and use it to encourage your students to hone their own STEM skills.
Video Games Offer Accessibility and Celebrate Individuality
Almost anyone can participate in an esports club. There’s something for everyone with multiple genres and dozens of playstyles to choose from, most of which students with dyslexia have no problem with. PC gaming tables are usually wider, taller and feature more leg room, so accessibility is never an issue for students with physical disabilities. Gaming chairs are similarly designed slightly larger than normal office chairs and often have extra cushioning to help support good posture through gaming sessions. Brightly lit keyboards present the opportunity to practice basic programming skills and let students add their own flair to their setup while playing. Additionally, having a team made up of many different perspectives is always appreciated by players, as this helps solve puzzles faster and lets them come up with unique battle strategies together.
The Esports Industry is Growing...and Recruiting
As of 2021, the esports market is valued at over $1 billion. While your esports club may not have any pro-gamers, the skills they use and learn are definitely valuable and could help them in the future. Many parents and teachers may be wondering whether esports is a worthwhile endeavor.
Are there any scholarships for esports? Yes, scholarships for esports exist and in the 2018-2019 school year $16 million was awarded to students by 200 colleges. Can esports be a good career? The esports market is expected to continue its annual 15% growth for the foreseeable future, meaning that not only professional players but managers, presenters, analysts, tech engineers and more will be needed to support the industry.
Video Games Are a Tangible Result of Hours of STEM Work
The challenge of cultivating student interest in math and science is one that schools constantly look to overcome. Showing students the cool outcomes of STEM based work is a great way to motivate them. Video games are often seen as toys, but they are much more than that. As players, students experiment with games to figure them out, testing theories and trying to guess outcomes using math and physics knowledge. On the technical end, it’s easy to talk to students about how many hours of calculations and engineering go into designing a fully fleshed out virtual world. Students aren’t just learning STEM skills for a good grade, they’re preparing to create new and exciting experiences for the world to use and enjoy. To many students, esports are living proof of this!
Esports Teams and Events Provide Endless Collaboration Opportunities
Your esports club may be focused on competing most of the time, but esports are meant to be viewed in person and online. Teaming up with other clubs is a great way to showcase everyone’s hard work. Holding a tournament can be a fun event and raise money for your school. Large projection screens let you show the game to crowds and powerful speakers make sure everyone hears the moment-to-moment action. Broadcasting clubs can use their own STEM education to help set the stage and then live-stream the game online. Even writing and art clubs can join in on the fun to create flyers for the event and conduct interviews with the players after matches.
Playing Video Games Teaches Real Life Skills
While STEM education is certainly important, so too are real life skills. Participating in esports has many benefits for students that will translate to their lives after graduation. Analyzing hard data on speed, weight and other statistics about the options in their game is something many students already do before choosing a character or playstyle. Strategizing and hand-eye coordination are highly valued on any esports team. Once they start playing, teamwork is critical. Being nice is not enough, they must understand each other and play to support their teammates’ strengths. Headsets make it easy to hone key communication skills without missing essential game audio. One of the most important things players learn is how to focus on growth rather than results. When they win that’s great, but they know they need to continue to practice and perhaps even evaluate what they could have done better. When they lose, it wasn’t simply because they’re bad players, they just need to learn from their mistakes and work to improve their skills. This growth mindset improves self-esteem while teaching students how to deal with both success and failure.
Forming an Esports club reinforces STEM lessons after school and setup can be easy. Your school and students likely already have the hardware to get started. You can create a space for gamers and esports enthusiasts alike with lounge seating perfect for watching games and cheering on players in a laid-back environment. School Outfitters can help you complete the picture with our esports room designs that showcase realistic layouts using specific furniture like gaming tables and chairs. Promote STEM education and encourage your students to apply what they’ve learned with esports by forming a school club or program today.
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