Having an Esports Team is No Longer Cutting Edge
We are coming up on the start of the 2018–2019 school year, and my Google news alert for “esports” has been flooded with stories about “cutting edge” schools, both high schools and universities, who have launched esports teams. And while I do applaud their efforts to bring a positive esports experience to their students, it is no longer “cutting edge” to have an esports team at your school. What is cutting edge is what you propose to do with this opportunity throughesports.
Many new schools trumpet their excursion into esports announcements like “the world’s largest amount of student esports space.” What is horribly lacking in stories such as these are what impacts they hope to see from their students’ esports experience. The games should provide an experience to something beyond the games. To focus solely on gaming is missing why esports is so important in school culture.
It is my hope schools see an opportunity to embrace the concept of the “Scholar Gamer.” A Scholar Gamer is more than just an esports athlete. A Scholar Gamer may play the games, but they may also perform data analysis, shoutcast, coach, responsibily manage social media, organizes tournaments, be health conscious, and be a more tolerant, inclusive, and well-connected global citizen. Depending on the games played by the esports team at the school, those roles may vary season to season, and game to game.
The world is watching how schools respond to, invest in, and help guide children through the hyper-connected world of esports. It is import schools not lose this opportunity, and take this moment to really go beyond the lowest hanging fruit.