When I first approached my administration back in August 2021 about implementing a scholastic esports program at school, I had imagined facing significant opposition to the idea, and, in preparation, had rehearsed my talking points and done my research in order to be persuasive. I was prepared to talk about the connections to STEM learning, the opportunity to engage otherwise disengaged students, the inclusive nature of gaming, the research behind gamification and game-based learning, and more.
None of that was necessary, however, as my school principal was extremely supportive in my effort to implement scholastic esports at the school and, more importantly, to use the program to teach students transferable skills while simultaneously encouraging them to explore related career pathways.
I began my esports program with a focus on social-emotional well-being using resources from NASEF to structure initial lessons. Before jumping into the competitive aspects of esports and gaming, we spent three weeks discussing the importance of positive mental health and the negative effects associated with some online gaming cultures. This included discussions of toxicity and online “trash talk” of opponents, as well as the impact on one’s emotional well-being and overall confidence as a result of being repeatedly subjected to such toxicity. …Read More