For a long time, educators have understood the importance of extracurricular activities in improving student success, whether this activity was the debate club or the basketball team.
Not all educators and stakeholders are on board with the idea that video games have any benefits, especially for young people. However, more schools are taking note of the importance of gaming.
In fact, so important has gaming become that some schools and colleges have embraced esports as part of the curriculum.
Today, many schools offer esports as part of the extracurricular activities that students can engage in.
Why is it important to have esports in education?
1. Esports in Education: Scholarship Opportunities
Esports have become mainstream, and are a great way for students to earn college scholarship opportunities as they would by playing traditional sports such as soccer or volleyball. Academic esports tournaments provide students with the opportunity to earn a scholarship to college. Scholarships include partial to full sponsorships for these players.
Due to this opportunity for students to earn scholarships, K-12 schools are building esports teams to encourage students to pursue professional esports gaming.
2. Esports in Education: Higher Academic and Social Engagement
Schools that create esports teams also require their students to maintain good grades, which encourages them to perform better.
Playing esports alone at home can be isolating. However, when this is part of a recognized extracurricular activity in school, students with the same interests can come together and feel like part of the school community.
The social aspect of esports also creates an environment for students to interact with each other, through their shared interest in gaming. They can develop lasting relationships with each other through participation in esports gaming.
When kids feel like a part of the community, they are less likely to engage in disruptive behaviors that include harming themselves or others.
3. Developing Valuable Skills through Esports in Education
Multi-player esports games require each team member to work together for a common goal. By learning to work together in developing gaming strategies and fighting the opponent, students can develop critical teamwork and collaboration skills. Such games also nurture leadership and communication skills.
Video games also require strategies to win. Students playing esports develop these strategies by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their opponents. They can then develop strategies that capitalize on these strengths.
Esports players also develop time management skills. Participating in school esports teams requires students to maintain their academic performance. This incentivizes them to manage their activities better so they can keep being part of the team.
4. Improved Cognitive Function
Playing esports may provide several benefits for the brain, including enhanced focus, better memory, and better visual perception. Studies also show that video games can enhance spatial orientation, fine motor skills, memory formation, and strategic planning.
These benefits are important for a student’s education and well-being. Studies have shown that those who play video games for long have larger right hippocampus, cerebellum, and right prefrontal cortex. The increase in the size of these regions can result in higher intelligence, better hand-eye coordination, and improved decision-making skills.
Esports can be beneficial to students in many ways. They can provide a sense of belonging for avid players. Additionally, they can also open up opportunities for students to pursue college education on scholarships and pursue a career as professional esports players. These games also instill critical life skills in students including strategic thinking, planning, time management, and collaboration. Incorporating these games into schools can help reduce the sense of isolation that gamers have previously felt.