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Esports in Education

Despite the historically tenuous relationship between education and gaming, the popularity of esports has grown exponentially. This is largely thanks to studies linking it to cognitive development. When the global pandemic caused a widespread lockdown and social distancing measures, esports exploded onto the scene as a way for students to develop their STEM and technical skills while maintaining interpersonal relationships and communication.

Schools Prepare Students for STEM Future

Participation in esports is directly or indirectly linked to numerous occupations across many fields. The competitions themselves create significant revenue and can employ coaches, analysts, announcers (known in the esports world as shoutcasters). And of course, the players! Larger operations require everything from software development and on-site tech specialists to event organizers and marketing support. The skills gained from participation don’t just benefit those looking to stay in the field. They are also highly transferable into a traditional job market starving for STEM talent.

Research on Cognitive Benefits from Gaming

It may seem like all fun and games, but esports growth has been aided by growing research showing benefits to cognitive development for students. Even beyond gaming, these studies are crucial to providing parents more information on how to effectively allocate screen time. In the study linked above, when comparing three types of screen time—watching TV or online videos, socializing over social media, text, or video chat, and gaming—it was found that “gaming positively impacted the amount of change in intelligence so that children who played more video games at 9–10 years showed the most gains in intelligence two years later.”

Dr. Constance Steinkuehler, Professor of Informatics at UC-Irvine, describes it as “turning screen time into activity time.”

Esports Career Paths & Opportunities

The general cognitive benefits of gaming in education are impressive, but perhaps more so is the variety of career opportunities connected to the esports industry. This can include career paths within the industry, which can be anything from player to analyst to coach. And don’t forget shoutcasters! In addition, esports in education opens numerous pathways resulting from skills developed by event participants. Dr. Steinkuehler points out that gaming is a cerebral, smart activity that includes high-end theory crafting and data science. It’s an application of advanced STEM concepts that requires discipline, teamwork, and leadership.

Thanks to a growing professional presence, the esports industry has blossomed into a billion-dollar industry with a projected market revenue of $1.8 billion by 2025. This has resulted in many career paths within esports.

Versatility of an Esports Lab

This has given schools much to consider when developing new learning environments. Administrators are well aware that funding needs strong justification. There may not be enough research yet to convince parents and influential community members that a gaming learning environment has a place in education. That’s where the utility of an esports lab can be highlighted. Dr. Sue Ann Highland advises that this can be a learning space full of unique opportunities.

When building an esports lab, consider extending usage to include programs like architecture, design, animation, video production, or even virtual biology labs.

Dr. Sue Ann Highland, Expert in Learning Environments and National Education Strategist for School Specialty

Getting a competitive program started in such an environment can be difficult. But those in the esports world say the key, quite simply, is to start. Find a space and make it accessible. Solutions from School Specialty and OMNIA Partners allow you to create an engaging esports lab, while saving time and money that can be used to support your program! Once you have a dedicated esports space, you’ll quickly find that interested students and community members will create ways to level up your lab!

E2_06997-1200x624Esports Lab Design

School Specialty continues its commitment to Transform More Than Classrooms through a longstanding relationship with the College Football Playoff Foundation (CFPF). As Georgia and TCU prepare for the College Football Playoff National Championship at Sofi Stadium in Los Angeles, CFPF and School Specialty were at Morningside High School in Inglewood unveiling a brand new state-of-the-art esports lab to benefit students in the area. This lab features Classroom Select gaming furniture provided by School Specialty, along with all the best in gaming and esports technology.

To learn more about how to get started creating your own esports lab for your students, connect with School Specialty today!

To read the original blog from School Specialty, please click here

School Specialty & OMNIA Partners

Through OMNIA Partners, School Specialty provides a wide range of essential materials, from furniture and teaching aids to cleaning supplies and school safety equipment. With such a wide range of products available from School Specialty through cooperative purchasing, schools can satisfy virtually all of their needs with a single order. In addition to receiving competitive discounts by taking advantage of cooperative purchasing through School Specialty, OMNIA Partners participating agencies also have access to other special benefits as well — such as professional development for many products and services and additional discounts on high-volume purchases. Click the button below to learn more or simply fill out the form below to get connected today!

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