Playing video games used to be the antithesis of studious behavior. Now, the very same virtual worlds that once might have distracted kids from academics are used to supplement them.
As schools continue to legitimize video games, K–12 teachers are realizing it is better to ride this wave rather than fight it, and reframe games as educational tools. For example, esports are even considered on par with traditional competitive sports in some schools.
Educational Games Capitalize on Interest-Based Learning
One of the biggest boons of incorporating video games as educational tools is that it’s an easy sell to students.
By acknowledging this, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation built high-school-level STEM curricula. In one NASEF class, English 9 and Game Design, participating students develop English-language skills by writing about topics covering the history of esports to comparing mythological heroes from literature to those in video games.
Games like these can also help “develop social and emotional skills while teaching traditional components like English, physics and math,” Gerald Solomon, executive director of the Samueli Foundation, a key partner in developing the NASEF classes, tells SportTechie.
Virtual Teamwork Can Set Students Up for College
Like in football and baseball, students participating in esports can develop the lifelong skills that come from competitive team activities.
Strategic thinking, teamwork, collaboration, goal setting, preparation and managing success and failure are a few of the skills associated with traditional sports that esport athletes can pick up, according to ViewSonic.
Skills aren’t the only rewards for virtual athletes. As higher education institutions start to pick up on this trend, some universities have created scholarship opportunities for talented students to represent their schools on the digital battleground.
Eighty-one colleges currently participate in the National Association of Collegiate eSports, and all but two offer money to esport athletes.
The trend will continue, and we, as technologists, would do well to keep an eye on it in K–12 education.
This article is part of the "Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology" series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.