Jun 29 2019

Rocket Mortgage Classic: Esports Meets Traditional Athletics in STEAM Learning

Visiting students experience competitive video game play and the learning lessons it offers.

Students visiting the Rocket Mortgage Classic were able to get some relief from the heat and get a taste of the competition happening on the green with esports portals set up in the STEAM Learning Lab, a learning engagement center set up by CDW and Acer.

Esports has grown rapidly in the K–12 sphere, with many schools starting up student-run clubs which they then expand into fully fledged esports programs. 

“Gaming and esports are providing a new way to motivate students academically and provide opportunities that were previously unavailable to them,” said Mardi Teyler, DMR channel manager at Acer at the event in Detroit on Friday.

MORE FROM EDTECH: Read about why more than 1,000 schools have added esports clubs. 

Esports Centers Build Kids’ Essential STEAM and Soft Skills

Inside the STEAM Learning Lab, students were able to sit down and play head-to-head in Rocket League, a popular esports game where players play soccer using souped-up cars. 

Gaming consoles and laptops were provided by Acer, which brought in the latest versions of their Predator line of esports desktops paired with some of Acer’s premier monitors, both of which have become popular orders for customers interested in expanding their esports teams. 

The improved quality of modern consoles has become one of the catalysts for esports’ fast rise in popularity, according to Buildup STEAM President and CEO John McInerney.

“I think it’s cool to see how far you can take this technology as you continue to go down this field,” said McInerney. “These are some of the most advanced computers I’ve ever seen, and the technology is only going to get better.”

Along with building competitive spirit and teamwork skills, McInerney says he thinks esports will help students build fundamental skills, from creative problem-solving to typing, which will give them an edge further down the road. 

“Nailing those kids down and building on those skills later really helps you grow as a person,” said McInerney. “I think that fundamentally, teaching these things to kids when they are young, you are setting them up for success.” 

Above all, McInerney says activities like esports help give kids the spark they need to go from simply memorizing formulas to truly engaging in their studies. 

“Having a creative outlet is so important no matter what you do. Creative problem-solving and creative solutions are so key,” said McInerney. “Creativity is really the basis for all of this technology here today.”

Eli Zimmerman

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