E-Sports is a form of competitive video game that is streamed and played over the internet either individually or in teams. In the United States, the High School eSports League (HSEL) claims over 1,500 schools as members.
The educational effect and the economic traces of e-sport are undeniable because it is already a billion dollar business in the USA alone and the growth is similar in many other countries. eSports courses have already found their place in Asian or Scandinavian colleges and high schools. However, in French-speaking countries, enthusiasm for eSports is not as high as in English-speaking ones. eSport training for young people is mainly concentrated in specialized private schools and this article presents some advantages to integrating this more in public schools or universities and to democratizing the practice as a teaching method.
Esports competitions lead to greater academic success
Teenagers like to play. In 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that 97% of teenage boys and 83% of teenage girls played video games . Other studies have shown that students who participate in extracurricular activities, including eSports games, have more academic success.
eSports promote creativity, sociability and collaboration
Electronic sports games can allow young introverts to socialize more with the school community. The sense of acceptance gained by participating in extracurricular activities such as eSports preserves the physical and mental health of students.
When children feel included and good about themselves, they are less likely to seek attention through provocative and aggressive behavior. According to researchers from the American Psychological Association, social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy and sadness. It reduces performance during difficult intellectual tasks.
According to Garcia, a history teacher at Duncan High School in Fresno, esports tournaments help build a sense of belonging, especially for kids who feel left out,” he said . Some young people and students who never practiced sports or any extracurricular activity and went straight home, developed an interest in esports teams. They now belong to a social group, which they rub shoulders with even outside of school. After some games, some young people go out to eat a pizza or a dish of Koki together. This feeling of belonging and community is one of the strengths of eSports.
Students learn skills through games at school
Team sports can teach important lessons and life skills beyond the classroom. These skills include:
Manage successes and failures. Practicing eSport makes it possible to understand that life is not always fair. No matter how hard you try to prepare, you won’t always be on top. Learning to deal with the emotions of loss – and victory – helps students become more emotionally resilient.
eSports in schools promotes STEM learning
eSports promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning. High school or college students who are drawn to esports games are often just as drawn to the broader tech ecosystem. Students involved in electronic games do better in math [iii] , are more likely to pay attention in class, and also feel better about themselves and engage in fewer harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol.
eSport opens career horizons
Students who practice eSports are better prepared to start a career in STEM. Bob Venero, the founder and executive director of Future Tech Enterprise, Inc. , confides in this Forbes article that “his best employees and recent hires in his company are passionate eSports gamers”.
Additionally, esports teams need a range of support staff to operate. These may include managers, marketing personnel, technology and finance professionals, medical personnel, and recruiters. In the United States, it is even estimated that eSports could eclipse the NBA by 2021 .
Nearly 100 colleges and universities are members of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE) , the official governing body for college sports. More than 250 others have club programs. Nearly 200 US colleges collectively offer approximately $15 million annually in college athletic scholarships.
An emerging and interesting disciplinary field for certain universities
An entire industry has quickly built up around esports and the growth is continuing to the point of becoming a developing field of study in universities. For example, the University of Oregon School of Sports Marketing in Warsaw offers an introductory course “eSports 101” in partnership with Turner Sports. Syracuse University’s Newhouse School also offers one, in partnership with Twitch. Becker College even offers a bachelor ‘s degree in “eSports Management”