5 Benefits of Esports Spaces in Educational Design
If you’re not sure what esports are, you aren’t alone. But for educators, parents, and designers of educational environments, it’s time to learn. This competitive video gaming is quickly gaining popularity as a form of extracurricular activity for intermediate and higher learning institutions. As the popularity of esports continues to rise, it may become even more significant following the pandemic. There are many benefits to esports in educational environments and this will be particularly important as students begin to reintegrate to in-person learning after a year in partial isolation. So how can esports benefit your school or student? Here are just benefits for your consideration.
1. Helps Students Prepare for the Workforce
Emerging research shows that playing video games may translate to a skill set that’s ideal for tech jobs. With jobs in the tech field on the rise throughout the nation and globally, it’s important to nurture these skills in youth. While excessive screen time is problematic, gaming for students may be a healthy way to learn and prepare for the future. The challenge is balancing the activities online with rest and movement, for optimal health
Provides a Source of Revenue
Michael Aguilar is the Director of Esports at the University of Oklahoma. He gave a Ted Talk about the value of esports from a financial and educational perspective. In his Ted Talk, he draws a comparison between revenue generated by the NBA and esports competitions in the same year. In 2018, esports revenue exceeded $865 million. Growth has continued to rise since that time. Today the esports market is valued at over 1.08 billion dollars. This growth means job creation, as well as a potential source of revenue for educational institutions. In the same way that football games create revenue for higher learning institutions, esports may do the same thing, if programs are invested in and supported by faculty and staff.
Creates Entertainment and a Sense of Community
Aguilar compares the rise in popularity in esports to the creation of football. In 1879, college students improvised on the game of rugby to create what is now known as American football. Today, football games provide a sense of entertainment, community, and competition at collegiate and professional levels, all the way down to pee-wee leagues for small children. Aguilar says there’s no reason to doubt that esports can have a similar effect on school communities, providing one more sense of togetherness and a chance to compete for glory in the name of school spirit.
Introduces Technology to Diverse Learners
While some students are naturally drawn toward the sciences and technology, some shy away from these subjects. In fact, some are even discouraged from participating. Esports create buzz and fun around gaming and technology, creating a sense of competition and school spirit the same way a football game might. This will encourage students from diverse backgrounds to be interested in computer science and tech, preparing them to succeed in the workforce and in life.
Promotes a Sense of Belonging
Dr. Chris Fagundes is Associate Professor of Psychology at Rice University. He spoke at MooreCo’s Thrive Forward webinar about teens and psychological development. He said that there’s a “loner myth” about adolescents that suggests that teens who spend too much time on their own may be unhappy. He says this is not always true. Many students thrive working alone, as we’ve come to discover throughout this pandemic. For gamers who appreciate interacting in an online environment, activities creates a sense of virtual community. For those competing in real time, it creates community the same way track meets or school dances might. Bringing like-minded people together to share their passions can lead to increased self-esteem in students and lasting friendships.
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