No longer just video games, ESports offers serious team competition for students in San Diego County. Tapping into the popularity of gaming and computer science, the Innovation Division and Educational Technology Department Teams working on SDCOE's ESports Initiative aim to provide students safe, fun, and competitive opportunities while introducing them to career pathways in the field of computer science and gaming, and even the potential for college scholarships.
"It's a great opportunity to try something new," said Alex, a 16-year-old at Monarch School in San Diego, where a team started in January. "I learn how to play as a team and communicate."
At Monarch School, a team of six students practice every day and compete once a week. They meet to train on the game and discuss strategy before each match, similar to traditional sports. They also need to meet the same academic and disciplinary requirements as students who participate in other sports. The experience has brought the students together as a team. They're even getting their own jerseys.
"It's all about team work," said Mark Rounds, the ESports coach and teacher at Monarch School. "There were things that I saw from some of the students that I hadn't seen before."
"Attendance, grades, and behavioral expectations are spelled out in school or district policies; E-Athletes will be no exception for these rules. In some cases, ESports are a reason why students make good decisions, like coming to school and obtaining good grades."
-Rothwell, G., & Shaffer, M. (2019). eSports in K-12 and Post-Secondary Schools. Education Sciences, 9(2), 105. doi:10.3390/educsci9020105
Competitive video gaming, more commonly being referred to as ESports (electronic sports), is undeniably growing in popularity with players and spectators around the world. According to Keiper, Manning, Jenny, Olrich, and Croft (2017) in their article for the Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletics in Education, ESports has "grown into a multi-million dollar industry." This is because ESports are increasingly being added to many intercollegiate althletic departments and these colleges are offering serious athletic scholarships to their ESports Athletes.
In addition to supporting ESports Management with county schools, districts, and community organizations. We are currently looking to partner with educators and business partners to promote the following ESports topics:
1. ESports Curriculum Standards for San Diego County
2. Standards and Policies for Coaching: Creating Safe Spaces
3. Increasing Opportunities for Females ESports Athletes
4. Encouraging Culturally Diversity in ESports Teams
5. Inclusive Practices for Game Development
6. Changing the Dialogue Around Students and Gaming
7. Understanding the Science of Gaming - Research Opportunities
8. Engaging Community Support of ESports and E-Athletes
Angelique Gianas is an English Teacher at Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, California. She created Helix’s ESports and gaming club in early 2018 and has quickly grown it to be one of the biggest clubs on campus. Angelique is fascinated with the ESports in education movement because she is an avid gamer herself and believes that gaming opens doors for students who previously did not have a place in after school and/or sports activities. She is passionate about welcoming and breaking down barriers for female students into the ESports industry.
Angelique was recently was chosen to be a part of NASEF’s first Scholastic Fellow Program and couldn’t be more excited to expand what she has created at Helix Charter High School. She will be collaborating with NASEF’s curriculum specialists to bring esports career curriculum into her classroom and after school program. NASEF’s ELA ESports curriculum was designed by a team of professors and researchers from the University of California, Irvine, curriculum development experts from the Orange County Department of Education, and English teachers from several high schools in Orange County, California. The curriculum is A-G approved, creating a CTE pathway for students in esports industry-related studies such as game design, entrepreneurship, marketing, and event organization.