Unlocking Opportunities: Leveraging the power of Esports in a Big Education

The Big Education IT Team visited the BETT show in January which is an EdTech exhibition hosted yearly at the eXcel in London. All of the IT team attend every year in order to catch up with existing suppliers and discover new tech, trends and contacts. This year, we were taken aback by the popularity of Esports in Education and wanted to share the benefits of the sport.

From what used to be a niche sector, esports has grown into its own section of the BETT show with many large partners such as ASUS and Dell supporting the British Esport Federation who host esports leagues between schools.

What is Esports?

Esports in schools is an up and coming form of competition using video games instead of traditional athletic sports. But it's not just about gaming, it's about developing a unique set of skills that are highly relevant for the wider world. From strategic thinking and problem-solving to teamwork and communication, Esports offers a dynamic platform for students to cultivate skills that extend far beyond the classroom.

In a recent survey by the British esport league, they found that:

64% of educators say esports has a positive impact on pupil engagement

69% of parents say esports helps pupils gain skills they don’t get with traditional methods

94% of pupils say esports has improved their social skills

What are the benefits of Esports?

  1. Students who have accessibility barriers when taking part in competitive mainstream sports such as football or basketball now have the opportunity to take part in a competitive activity as long as they have access to the necessary equipment and an internet connection.
  2. Esports also breaks down geographical barriers, allowing students from diverse backgrounds to compete and engage with one another.
  3. Esports has a vibrant online community where players can connect, communicate, and collaborate with others who share their interests. This sense of belonging and camaraderie is particularly valuable for students who may feel marginalised or isolated in other social settings.
  4. The rapid growth of the esports industry has created numerous career opportunities beyond professional gaming, including roles in event management, marketing, broadcasting, coaching, game development, and content creation.
  5. Participating in esports can help develop a wide range of skills, including hand-eye coordination, strategic thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication.

How can Esports support a Big Education?

Real World Learning – As I touched on earlier, the relationship between the gaming industry and education can be brought together by esports. Global esports revenues have grown to $1.384 billion in 2022 and forecasts predict that figure will reach $1.86B in 2025. Potential esports job roles/career paths can range from Technical Producer, Creative Media Manager or Content creator with companies such as HP, Nintendo, BBC, Twitch or SEGA.

Challenging Mindsets – Esports has the potential to challenge traditional barriers to participation in sports and gaming. Unlike some traditional sports, which may have high barriers to entry based on factors like physical ability, gender, or socioeconomic status, esports can be more inclusive and accessible. Historically, gaming has sometimes been dismissed as a frivolous or unproductive activity. However, the rise of esports highlights the dedication, skill, and professionalism of competitive gamers as a serious pursuit worthy of respect and recognition.

Shaping Futures – Pearson has partnered with the British Esports Federation to offer a range of BTEC qualifications for KS4 and 16+ learners. The qualifications are skills-focused and are a major step forward in supporting the creation of long-term careers in the growing esports industry both in the UK and internationally.

Unlocking Opportunities

In conclusion, esports has the potential to break down barriers and challenge existing mindsets by challenging traditional notions of sports and competition, promoting inclusivity and diversity, encouraging collaboration and teamwork and embracing digital culture and technology.

Over the coming months, I will be thinking about how we can explore this with the pupils in our schools and embed this within ‘A Big Education’. Watch this space!

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