Esports is a form of competition that is facilitated through computer gaming. Most commonly, esports takes the form of organized, multiplayer online video game competitions. Through school-sponsored clubs, esports teaches leadership, teamwork, sportsmanship, and communication skills.

In addition, students learn to persevere, think strategically, and to set goals. Games played include Super Smash Bothers and League of Legends. Both games require planning, foresight, and strategic thought. Games played follow the guidelines of standard video game content rating systems and fall into the categories that are suitable for audiences in secondary schools.

For Desert Sands, we find esports as a way to engage and connect students who may not have been previously. In addition, while schools promote equally both male and female students to participate, males currently make up the majority of this group. Data has shown that in recent years there has been a growing academic achievement gap between the two genders with boys falling further behind. Esports is providing a way for more boys to connect to school which we feel will translate into greater academic success.

In Desert Sands, our clubs are teaming up with NASEF (North America Scholastic Esports Federation), an organization that supports esports clubs in high schools and soon for middle schools.Their mission is to “provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life”. NASEF provides useful resources for clubs such as a “code of conduct”, workshop opportunities, and curriculum.

Michael Luguillow III, Indio Middle School esports coach explained, “esports provides an opportunity for students who do not fall under the standard definition of athletics yet still look for that competitive drive that comes from competitions. It allows students the opportunity to develop strategies and work together as a team to accomplish numerous obstacles. More importantly, it allows students to create bonds and memories that they can carry with them.” For more information on NASEE, click here or check out this article from the March 28, 2019 edition of CNN Business by clicking here. The article explains that the growth of esports is creating new college programs and career opportunities.

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Indio Middle School Team Photo: Aaron Martinez (7th Grade), Jonathan Marin (7th Grade), Yahir Murillo (8th Grade) & Enrique Mendieta (8th Grade)

This past December, five of our 13 secondary middle and high schools participated in the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) esports tournament. We hosted a district competition and sent the top two top teams, Shadow Hills High School and Indio Middle School, to competition in the semifinals. RCOE will host a spring tournament this school year and we expect to have all our secondary schools participate. As Shadow Hills High School team member Francisco Mecardo noted, “Esports at lunch is the best part of the day.”

According to data from Newzoo, a gaming industry analytics firm, esports revenues are, once calculations are complete, to top $1 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $3 billion by 2022. Universities from across the country are engaging in this new market with competitive teams and scholarships for students. Esports scholarships for students are projected to reach $1 million by 2020.

 

Image Sources

  • Indio Middle School: DSUSD
  • Shhs-esports: DSUSD