Skip to main content

Esports, or electronic sports, have experienced a rapid rise in popularity over the past decade. What was once considered a niche hobby has now become a global phenomenon, attracting millions of viewers and players. As a result, schools are starting to recognise the educational and developmental benefits that esports can offer their students. In this guide, we will explore the various aspects of setting up a successful esports program in schools, from choosing the right gaming equipment to measuring the program’s impact. By harnessing the power of esports, schools have the opportunity to engage students in a new and exciting way while fostering skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving.

Benefits of implementing an esports program in schools

Implementing an esports program in schools can provide a wide range of benefits for students. Firstly, it offers an avenue for students who may not excel in traditional sports to participate in a team-based activity that suits their interests and strengths. Esports can also promote inclusivity and diversity, creating an environment where students from different backgrounds can come together and collaborate. Moreover, esports can enhance students’ cognitive abilities by requiring quick decision-making, strategic thinking, and multitasking skills. Through competitive gameplay, students can develop resilience, perseverance, and the ability to manage their emotions in high-pressure situations. Additionally, esports can foster digital literacy and technological proficiency, preparing students for the increasingly digital world they will enter upon graduation.

Steps to setting up an esports program in schools

  1. Choosing the right gaming equipment and technology: The first step in setting up an esports program is selecting the appropriate gaming equipment and technology. This includes high-performance gaming PCs or consoles, gaming peripherals such as keyboards and mice, and a reliable internet connection. It is essential to invest in equipment that can handle the demands of modern games while providing a seamless gaming experience for students.
  2. Recruiting and training student gamers: Once the gaming infrastructure is in place, schools need to recruit and train student gamers. This can be done through tryouts or by creating an open gaming club where interested students can join. It is crucial to emphasise the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship, and fair play during the recruitment and training process. Additionally, schools should consider providing coaching and guidance to help students improve their skills and reach their full potential.
  3. Establishing rules and regulations for the esports program: To ensure a fair and structured esports program, it is essential to establish rules and regulations. This includes guidelines for player conduct, team formations, scheduling of matches, and consequences for rule violations. By having clear and transparent rules, schools can create a positive and inclusive environment for all participants.

Promoting inclusivity and diversity in esports

One of the key aspects of a successful esports program is promoting inclusivity and diversity. Esports should be accessible to students of all genders, races, and backgrounds. Schools can achieve this by actively encouraging and supporting the participation of underrepresented groups in esports. This can be done through targeted outreach, awareness campaigns, and providing resources and training for students who may not have prior gaming experience. By fostering an inclusive esports community, schools can ensure that every student has the opportunity to benefit from the program’s educational and developmental aspects.

Partnering with local businesses and organisations

To enhance the esports programme, schools can consider partnering with local businesses and organisations. These partnerships can provide opportunities for mentorship, sponsorship, and resources. Local gaming stores or technology companies may be interested in supporting the program by providing discounts on equipment or sponsoring tournaments. Additionally, partnering with esports organisations or professional teams can give students exposure to the wider esports community and potential career pathways. Collaborating with local businesses and organisations can not only strengthen the program but also create valuable networking opportunities for students.

Funding and budgeting for an esports programme

Setting up and maintaining an esports program requires financial resources. Schools can explore various funding options to support their esports program. This can include seeking grants from educational or gaming-related foundations, reaching out to local businesses for sponsorship opportunities, or allocating a portion of the school’s budget towards the program. It is crucial to have a well-defined budget that covers equipment, coaching staff, competition fees, and any other expenses associated with running the esports program. By securing adequate funding, schools can ensure the long-term sustainability and success of their esports program.

Measuring success and evaluating the impact of the esports programme

To gauge the success and evaluate the impact of an esports program, schools should establish clear metrics and evaluation methods. These can include tracking student academic performance, monitoring participation rates, conducting surveys to gather feedback from students and parents, and assessing the development of skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. Regular evaluation and analysis of these metrics will help schools identify areas of improvement and measure the program’s overall effectiveness. By collecting data and feedback, schools can make informed decisions to enhance the esports program and maximise its impact on student learning and development.

Challenges and potential obstacles in implementing an esports programme in schools

While there are many benefits to implementing an esports program in schools, there are also challenges and potential obstacles to consider. One of the primary challenges is the initial investment in gaming equipment and technology, which can be costly. Schools also need to navigate potential concerns around screen time and the addictive nature of gaming. It is important to strike a balance between esports and other educational activities to ensure a well-rounded student experience. Additionally, schools may face resistance from traditional sports programs or skepticism from parents and educators who are unfamiliar with the educational value of esports. By addressing these challenges proactively and educating stakeholders about the benefits of esports, schools can overcome these obstacles and build a successful program.

Case studies of successful esports programs in schools

Several schools have already successfully implemented esports programs and achieved positive outcomes for their students. For example, Exeter College (UK) introduced an esports program that saw an increase in student engagement, improved teamwork skills, and greater collaboration among students. Barnsley College (UK) partnered with SHI UK to provide a sector-leading esports facility for their student gamers. They now have 120 students invovled in esports in the college. These case studies highlight the potential impact of esports programs on student development and the benefits of collaboration with external partners.

Final Thoughts

As the popularity of esports continues to grow, schools have a unique opportunity to harness its power and create a successful program that benefits students in numerous ways. By setting up an esports program, schools can provide an inclusive and engaging activity for students, foster essential skills such as teamwork and critical thinking, and prepare them for the digital world. However, implementing an esports program requires careful planning, investment, and collaboration with stakeholders. By following the steps outlined in this guide, schools can navigate the challenges and establish a thriving esports program that enriches the educational experience for their students. So, take the leap and embrace the world of esports in schools today!

It's Your Turn.

Sign up to the monthly EdTechist Newsletter. No spam. All ham.

Sign me up!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.