Should eSports Be a Part of School Activities?

Last Updated on November 2, 2018 by Michael Brockbank

As games develop and attract audiences of all ages, eSports is becoming more of a mainstream reality. As such, some believe it may have a role in the future or school-based sports. But is the world ready for the digital realm to be a part of daily education?

In reality, it all depends on how you go about teaching gaming to students.[template id=”145″]While it’s true that most teenagers could probably school an average teacher during gaming mechanics, there is more to success than simply knowing how to play the game.

In fact, there are a myriad of things that go into the online experience of PvP play that a lot of people don’t realize.

Is there a difference between parents paying Fortnite tutors as they would for baseball or football coaching and clinics?[note]Variety – https://variety.com/2018/gaming/news/fortnite-tutors-1202892064/[/note]

Beyond the Stigma of “Video Games”

Video games have collected a plethora of bad press since the first titles were released in the mid-late 1900s. If it’s not melting your brain, it’s inducing violence in children.

Even though there really isn’t strong solid evidence to support either claim, millions of people believe it.

The truth is, certain games promote a variety of mental development. And including the prospect of eSports in schools gives teachers an incredible opportunity to shape how online gaming is viewed.

6 Valid Reasons to Include eSports in School

Although I am a bit biased when it comes to gaming, I do have a lot of points backed by actual studies and information. And while many adults simply don’t see the value of eSports in school, I am on the contrary.

I would have no problem if my daughter joined a digital team of some kind. I would go so far as to donate to the school to promote such.

Why should eSports be included in curricular activities at school?

Teaching Sportsmanship

One of my biggest complaints regarding PvP play is the severe lack of sportsmanship. Because there isn’t a real influence to monitor this behavior, kids are essentially responsible for themselves.

The end result is 12-year olds with mouths like drunken sailors screaming because someone better put them down in mere seconds.

What many players online don’t realize is griefing teammates as well as others doesn’t serve a positive purpose. The more a teammate feels belittled, the worse he or she will play.

Instead of helping players do better, too many will fall into a trap of being a bad coach. This often leads to a team that goes nowhere, which adds more to stress and making it difficult to keep one’s head in the game. [note]Competitive Edge – https://www.competitivedge.com/you-are-not-good-coach-when-you[/note]

Adding eSports to school gives good coaches a chance to teach sportsmanship, grace under fire, graciously winning and avoiding the mess that comes from griefing.

This has potential to bleed into everyday life for the active gaming student.

Engaging Students

Not all kids have the capacity to be a football jock. Whether it’s a lack of interest or an incompatible physique, many children don’t consider physical sports.

However, many of them will gladly jump on a computer, Xbox or PS4 to lay down some skill in first-person-shooters.

Once you get their attention, it’s much easier to engage the mind of a student. This opens many doors as it makes learning easier while reducing the likelihood of students becoming frustrated. [note]Carleton University – https://carleton.ca/tasupport/2016/blog-metacognition-classroom-engaging-mind-engaging-student/[/note]

It gives the coach as well as other teachers a chance to keep kids interested in learning. And this goes beyond simply learning how to play a video game.

Promoting Brain Development

Various games have great potential to contribute to the developing brain of a student. Of course games with mindless violence are not as productive. However, many problem-solving, puzzle and survival games are.

According to some studies, gaming improves perception, attention and cognition within players. These areas of the brain are in full swing as students strive to accomplish a goal or meet an objective. It also inspires creativity to figure out new ways to win. [note]IFL Science – http://www.iflscience.com/brain/playing-video-games-good-your-brain-here-s-how/[/note]

Another element to consider is how some video games are actually able to help boost memory. According to a few smaller studies, 3D games were able to promote creating memories of players including the minds of older adults. [note]Medical News Today – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318345.php[/note]

This is aside from how gaming is also useful to treat depression and improve moods – something many teens obviously need.[template id=”505″]

Less Expensive than Physical Sports

Roughly 21% of parents spend around $1000 per year just in sports for their children. On average, many will spend more than $650 annually. This covers a variety of things from equipment to entry fees and training costs. [note]USA Football – https://blogs.usafootball.com/blog/1034/how-much-does-it-really-cost-to-play-football[/note]

When you consider how many kids already have the equipment needed to play eSports, there really isn’t a cost comparison. For instance, what if my son’s high school promoted a League of Legends eSport team?

We already have computers to run the game and LoL is free to play. The only real cost to a school is the time for the coach. Most schools nowadays have computer systems that will easily run games like this.

And if not, they are super easy to build – barely an inconvenience.

In this situation, the cost to me is negligible if anything at all. Even if the school buys gaming equipment for students, it doesn’t need to be fancy.

I built a computer complete with monitor, keyboard and mouse for around $1000…and it plays everything I like smooth as silk. It will continue to do so for several years.

My point is cost isn’t a factor for eSports in school.

Physical and Mental Training

One of the biggest elements I promote on this blog is how physical training is effective for those who are into eSports. And this is backed by a ton of scientific evidence to support how exercise and diet impact cognitive abilities and reflexes.

What better way to get kids to exercise than making it part of the eSports training process?

For instance, about 20 minutes of aerobic exercise improves memory and how the brain processes information. Does that sound like something that would benefit the school dynamic? [note]Brain HG – https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/everyday-brain-fitness/physical-exercise[/note]

Instead of keeping students tethered to a computer or gaming console for eSports, they can learn how physical fitness also contributes to winning.

And this is on top of how exercise is used as an anti-depressant and stress reliever; two elements that are ideal in school.

Draws an Audience

Whether it’s on television or not, sporting events are fueled by audience participation. Thanks to the abilities of the Internet, eSports are widely available and incredibly popular.

In 2017, peak concurrent viewership reached as many as 14.7 million people during the League of Legends finals. During the broadcast, the showing had 43 million unique viewers. [note]The Next Level – http://tnl.media/esportsnews/2017/11/18/how-many-viewers-watched-the-league-of-legends-2017-finals-not-60m[/note]

In fact, I spent quite a bit of time with my teenage sons watching the League of Legends championships a few years ago.

Now, I know a high school match won’t draw as many viewers as something as vast as LoL. However, I would bet there would be more of an audience online watching as opposed to a hundred or so parents watching a basketball game.

If schools could monetize that experience, even with ad revenue from things like AdSense, it could draw a lot of money to support education.

Greater Levels of Competition

Currently, most schools promote sports depending on availability of competition. For example, if no other school supports basketball in the area, there is no real basketball team. The same is said about interest from students.

What I would give for my daughter’s school to have a golf team.

In the realm of eSports, however, competition is but an Internet connection away. And this means no travel expense for things like buses or even planes.

A team from northeastern Colorado can play a high school in southern Texas without spending hours on the road or a flight. In mere minutes, the game is on.

This opens the doors to a wide range of competitive play nationwide as well as facing the best in the world.

It’s Gaining Traction

The truth is, eSports is a growing industry with ever-expanding possibility. As long as it’s promoted in a healthy way, it has potential as being just as engaging and beneficial as suiting up to take the football field.

Why should the super jocks be the only ones in a high school with a Letterman’s jacket?[template id=”543″]

Michael Brockbank
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Michael Brockbank

Michael developed ColoradoPlays to help various charities through his favorite pastime. Since then, the blog and Twitch channels have donated several hundred dollars to Extra Life, Geeks of Grandeur and Operation Supply Drop to name a few.