Build ‘beyond the game’ for max esports impact

When we started the Orange County High School Esports League as a pilot program in January 2018, there was a lot of skepticism about bringing esports into schools and into classrooms. Based on successes that included increased student engagement and positive classroom and social developments, we expanded to form NASEF, the nonprofit North America Scholastic Esports Federation. There are many school-based esports tournament programs or lesson plans out there, but we emphasize true scholastic esports: intentional learning intertwined with gameplay, whether in the classroom or in an out-of-school program.

NASEF now falls under the even larger umbrella of the World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation, underscoring a huge attitude shift as educators around the world embrace the concept. That is not to say that there aren’t a few that still need convincing, but most progressive educators are now eager to adopt programs like NASEF’s that are so engaging for students and build both social-emotional and career skills.

These positive outcomes have always been the goal. NASEF’s mission is “to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life.” Its vision is “to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals.”…Read More

6 tips to begin an elementary esports program in your school

The benefits of esports are well documented. A significant body of research has found that students who participate in scholastic esports programs benefit from increased emotional regulation, academic achievement, and graduation rates.

These benefits only scratch the surface of the positive consequences for students participating in scholastic esports. Thus far, conversations around esports have centered on collegiate and secondary levels, however, a recent change in the winds has shifted the conversation to elementary esports. 

My question: Why haven’t we started this conversation sooner?…Read More

MiEN Company Releases White Paper on Creating a Scholastic Esports Program

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – June 15, 2022 – An increasing number of schools are finding that scholastic esports – competitive online video gaming between schools – provide the same social and emotional learning (SEL) benefits as traditional athletics and can also be used to teach a variety of subjects. To help schools implement this new pedagogical support, MiEN Company has published a white paper titled “ Using Esports to Teach K–12 Academic and Social Emotional Skills: Design of Esports Environment Supports Skill Development Outcomes.”

The white paper informs readers about resources like the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which offers a free state-approved esports curriculum for class time instruction or after-school activities. Readers will also find information about the Middle School Esports League, the High School Esports League and the National Association of Collegiate Esports. The white paper outlines the benefits that each organization can provide for schools and students.

“Using Esports to Teach” also discusses how esports programs can help educators prepare students for STEM careers. In addition to describing the various career pathways, the white paper provides as a link to a NASEF infographic that shows how esports can prepare students for not only STEM careers but also for occupations such as event planner, business consultant, writer, financial advisor and more.…Read More

How scholastic esports helps students’ academic achievement

According to Newzoo, the live-streaming audience for games will hit 728.8 million viewers in 2021 globally. For reference, the NFL is projected to hit 141 million viewers.  Clearly, esports’ popularity is growing exponentially. However, many people are still unfamiliar with esports, especially the emergence of scholastic esports in education.

The utility of game-based learning in education has been known for a long time, but what is beginning to emerge is an understanding of how esports are having an impact in education. Due to the affordances of video games, esports promotes important qualities, forcing students to develop new skills and problem solve in novel situations bounded only by their imaginations.

Teachers who are pioneering esports programs can attest to this. Tyler Hahn, Director of the Cherokee Public Library in northwestern Iowa, has seen that “esports empowers learners to use the convergence [of] games and their own interests as a platform to acquire communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in all aspects of life”. His program is focused on developing college and career awareness services for middle school youth through esports and community engagement.…Read More

How to establish international collaboration with esports

As the high school esports club advisor for the William Penn Cybercats, I have had the opportunity to work with my students on some pretty awesome projects. From building our club infrastructure to coordinating a beyond the games challenge, to organizing our first esports teams in Rocket League and Madden 21, and participating in North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) Minecraft builds. But as a 2020-2021 NASEF Fellow, I was encouraged to go beyond my building walls in a way that enhances cultural understanding and international collaboration.

In our tight urban community, I have seen students enjoy cultural experiences that built on their understanding of the world around them, but I have never helped coordinate them. For my NASEF Fellow Capstone project, I and another fellow, Ashley Sheehan from Windsor, United Kingdom, coordinated to have an international Minecraft Build. The task was simple: have a team from each town build a part of their world in this cross Atlantic server, and then discuss those buildings with each other in a live chat.

I banded a small group of students together, and gave them the task. They decided to build the school, William Penn Senior High School, and the park just outside of our main entrance, Penn Park. Both are iconic spaces in the community of York City, Pennsylvania. Ashley’s team of students were going to build their two schools, the Green Room School and the Green Room Sixth Form both in Windsor, UK. …Read More

How to build diversity, equity, and inclusion with scholastic esports

The inclusion of scholastic esports in academic programs is yielding strong and widespread results in the youth of today. Research demonstrates that strong communities are developing, with deep engagement from students who are involved in scholastic esports, particularly students that normally don’t become involved with school activities. Because of that draw, scholastic esports is in a pivotal position to help build diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at schools all around the country.

Organizations play an important role in fostering DEI among students. NASEF’s core values include diversity and respect, and its club members must adhere to the Code of Conduct to participate in tournaments and challenges. Likewise, HSEL competitors agree to abide by behavior standards in community events. 

From the beginning of NASEF’s curriculum in southern California to the 10 magnet schools in Miami-Dade Florida that piloted the curriculum with their students, we have seen a marked improvement among students with respect to DEI. NASEF is now seeing students all across the country and even the world are joining esports clubs and opening up new avenues for themselves.…Read More

Scholastic esports participation leads to substantial learning outcomes

According to Newzoo, the live-streaming audience for games will hit 728.8 million viewers in 2021 globally. For reference, the NFL is projected to hit 141 million viewers.  Clearly, esports’ popularity is growing exponentially. However, many people are still unfamiliar with esports, especially the emergence of scholastic esports in education.

The utility of game-based learning in education has been known for a long time, but what is beginning to emerge is an understanding of how esports are having an impact in education. Due to the affordances of video games, esports promotes important qualities, forcing students to develop new skills and problem solve in novel situations bounded only by their imaginations.

Teachers who are pioneering esports programs can attest to this. Tyler Hahn, Director of the Cherokee Public Library in northwestern Iowa, has seen that “esports empowers learners to use the convergence [of] games and their own interests as a platform to acquire communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in all aspects of life”. His program is focused on developing college and career awareness services for middle school youth through esports and community engagement.…Read More

How a teacher uses comics to teach social justice

As a social studies teacher who spends a lot of class time poring over comic books with students, it’s been gratifying to see the attitude about comics in education shifting over the last decade or so. Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to get a bit of side-eye when I talked about teaching with comics.

I’ve spent about a decade as the chair of the social studies department at Wissahickon High School, where I teach grades 9-12. I write teacher guides and curriculum for graphic novels for publishers like Macmillan and Scholastic, and I have a book about teaching with comics coming out this summer. I also deliver in-service learning for teachers, and these days I’m more likely to hear gratitude than skepticism from educators whose own teachers took their comic books away from them as students.

From a-ha to validation…Read More

Teacher & Principal School Report Findings

Scholastic, with YouGov, surveyed public school Pre-K–12 educators in winter 2020 to gather their thoughts on equity in education, literacy instruction, family engagement, professional development, and funding priorities. This summer (July 23–August 4), amid the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scholastic re-contacted 790 of these educators to see how their views shifted and ask new questions about their priorities and feelings heading into a new academic year.

The full summary of the research findings, here on the Scholastic EDU blog:

https://edublog.scholastic.com/post/teachers-and-principals-reflect-covid-19-and-academic-year-ahead…Read More

Scholastic brings civics education to the forefront with new 2020 U.S. election website

Drawing upon 100 years of experience covering news for kids, Scholastic is launching a new free website to help students in grades 3–12 learn about the 2020 United States Presidential Election. The website features age-appropriate resources developed by the editors of Scholastic Classroom Magazines, including videos about the democratic process, quizzes, and activities, in addition to rigorously fact-checked candidate profiles and articles focused on issues that are at the center of this year’s election: pandemic response, racial justice, the economy, health care, climate change, education, immigration, and national security.

To access the Scholastic Election 2020 website, visit: www.scholastic.com/election.

Through the site, students also have the opportunity to participate in the Scholastic Student Vote, a virtual mock-election that has been running since 1940 and has allowed kids across the country to cast their votes for President of the United States online. Results will be announced in October 2020 before the national election on November 3, 2020. Since 1940, the outcome of the Scholastic Student Vote has mirrored the results of every presidential election, except three: Thomas E. Dewey vs. Harry S. Truman in 1948; John F. Kennedy vs. Richard M. Nixon in 1960; and Donald Trump vs. Hilary Clinton in 2016.…Read More