It may lack sweat equity, but it’s up there with even the most physically demanding of sports. Esports, the competitive side of video gaming, is exploding. And K-12 schools are buying in, because esports is not only fun, but also a viable educational tool!
A recent edWebinar, “Ready Player One: Esports in K-12,” highlights why esports has taken hold in schools. Research-based evidence affirms its highly positive impact on students’ academic achievement, soft skills, and social-emotional well-being.
Dr. Dennis Large, the director of educational technology for the Riverside County Office of Education, among the first county offices in California to facilitate an esports league, knows first-hand the power of gaming in schools.
The county jumped on the esports train to heighten student engagement. Schools with gaming clubs boast substantial benefits, chief among them bringing disenfranchised students—often not participating in school athletics—into the community to be accepted and celebrated.
“Those esports members and players,” said Large, “carry just as much swagger, just as much social credibility as do any track stars or football or water polo stars,” he emphasized.
County esports clubs keep growing. Those that started with six or seven players are now at 150 members. Recently, the county sponsored its first league tournament, where 50 school teams competed. Students who once couldn’t wait for the school day to end now rush to after-school esports clubs, where they have friends, socialize, and build community while strengthening gaming skills. Truancy and tardiness have declined.