If you are the parent of a school-aged student you may have heard of this amazing trending sport, esports. But what is it? Esports (or electronic sports) is competitive, organized video gaming. These competitions can take place with teams or one-on-one face-offs. Competitors battle using games that range from “Call of Duty” to “Madden NFL”. Esports is a huge entertainment industry and professional competitions are live streamed around the world.
Esports combine everything we love about sports: teamwork, playing in real time, spectators and community. While esports are trending right now, they have been around for quite some time. The first events were held in the 1970s and throughout the 1980s featuring a classic favorite among gamers, Space Invaders.
Esports are growing in popularity at an incredible rate–not just among adults, students are fans too.
Many opportunities are developing around communities for students who are in grades K-12 to participate in esports. A wonderful place to begin researching if esports is something you would like to have your child involved in is www.esports4kids.org. A quick google search will help you to see the resources that are in your community for you to use. If there is not something close by, there are many online options for kids to begin their esports journey in. If your community is lacking esports resources, this would be an excellent space for a group, PTA and volunteer to lead for students to have the opportunity to try.
Benefits of Esports
Esports are a wonderful platform that allow students to grow in a wide variety of skills. Through participating in esports, students develop team working skills, empathy towards others, good sportsmanship and even enhance their memory capacity. Esports can bridge communication between students and teachers and allow for different avenues of learning to occur. Students who participate in esports have the opportunity for recognition in something other than athletics or academics and get support to build their confidence.
Ways to start
If in your research you did not find specific places to begin getting involved in esports, the best place to begin is at your child’s school. Start Conversations with like-minded families and look for possible meeting spaces and resources. In my experience as an educator, most schools are thrilled to have parents volunteer to lead clubs and organizations for students. An after or before school club that meets monthly or bi-monthly is a wonderful way to learn more about esports, spread information and begin an esports team in your area.
As with any extracurricular, make sure to learn the most you can on your end. Look to experts in the field and reach out to learn more. There are many university-level sports teams that are happy to engage with younger students to promote sports. Happy gaming!
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Make sure to watch our video series Everything Esports! where Lenovo’s Jeff Palumbo answers questions from parents, students and educators.
Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina Coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.