The Empowered Learner and Esports
It is important this is the first standard because the end result is all about learning. More specifically, student-driven learning. The standard is as follows:
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, informed by the learning sciences.
On the surface, it is difficult for most educators to equate esports and this learning standard. Looking at this standard through League of Legends creates even more a barrier if one is unfamiliar with the game. Without focusing too closely on the game specifics, the standard’s indicators provide opportunity to connect League of Legends to the Empowered Learner standard.
Indicator 1a says,
Articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
As a League of Legends competitor, personal learning goals are not solely personal. As a team, the personal growth of each teammate is vital to the success of the team. Game statistics and the ability to replay an entire match allows for each competitor to critically analyze their successes, failures and provide a pathway for valuable reflection. Because of this, the student and coach may make the training personal to achieve ever changing goals. An active participant on a well run team must be empowered.
Indicator 1b says,
Students build networks and customize their learning environments in ways that support the learning process.
The online resources are the greatest tools that supports the learning process around League of Legends. I am currently trying to gain a level of competency with the game. What I have discovered is not just support through strategy wikis, YouTube/Twitch videos, and blogs. There is a supportive community of gamers around the world willing to help newcomers learn and enjoy the game. That may partly explain the 100 million active users around the world. Uniquely important, the culture around the game breeds empowered learners.
And indicator 1c complements the first two indicators wonderfully:
Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
Students, again, may review all their matches online. They may receive/seek feedback from others in the match. In addition, feedback comes from those who may have watched a broadcast of the match (if it were to be broadcast on the Internet).
Finally, indicator 1d states,
Students understand the fundamental concepts of technology operations, demonstrate the ability to choose, use and troubleshoot current technologies and are able to transfer their knowledge to explore emerging technologies.
This does not just mean students can install the game onto the computer. Full optimization of the environment is important in a game measured on split second decisions and actions. Students can build the computer on which they install the game. They can optimize the network over which the game runs. They can research ways to gain an advantage over their opponents. Or they can develop and share their own ways and best practices at playing League of Legends.
An empowered learner all from playing what some only see as a video game.
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