Many educators navigating the use of technology for learning have seen this scenario come to life in the classroom: you give your students an online assignment and a few minutes into it you start the exhausting routine of trying to guess who might be opening other tabs to play games or watch videos, while you figure out ways to redirect them towards their work.
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.
Our urban Title I district serves a population of 78 percent at-risk students and 84 percent low-income families. We were already managing low proficiency rates on math and ELA state assessments prior to the pandemic, and the move to remote learning made it even more difficult for teachers to engage with students who couldn’t be on campus.
A few months into the 2021-22 school year, teachers, parents, and students are once again confronted with the devastating reality of pandemic-prompted learning loss. The global health crisis forced students out of the physical classroom and into a new virtual world for nearly two grades, and their initial homework and test scores reveal a significant decrease in knowledge transfer, social skills, and core learning habits across a variety of subjects.