"...Can you just press the 'x' button please, I'm getting really tense!!..."
The Educated Bananas, Slumdog Mignolet & the Archbishops of Banterbury are just some of the teams competing in this year’s Digital Schoolhouse eSports tournament.
The countries first school-based eSports tournament has kicked off in four Digital Schoolhouses around the country. Over 400 secondary and sixth form students will be participating in teams of three to see who will become the winner of the first ever Digital Schoolhouse eSports Tournament.
Gilredge House School in Eastbourne, New College in Swindon, St John Fisher Voluntary Academy in Dewsbury and Shire Oak Academy in Walsall are the first participating schools. Thanks to 505 Games and PlayStation UK, students will be playing Rocket League on PlayStation 4 consoles.
But what is esports?
eSports is an evolution of multiplayer gaming. It is the practice of playing video games competitively. Players perform either solo or in teams (depending on the game) and winners are awarded prizes; which for the world’s best can reach into the millions. Professional arenas and live tournaments are organised, with thousands attending to watch live matches and millions following a live stream online.
Our own students will be able to get a flavour of the same experience. Winning teams from each of the regional Digital Schoolhouses will be invited for a final playoff event at the Gfinity London Arena during the London Games Festival.
What does this have to do with education?
The event is designed to engage and inspire students with computing technology and the creative digital sector using a medium and a platform that they are already very familiar with. By using the medium of games, students are introduced to and given insight into a new world of career opportunities developing in the UK. In addition, students are very much at the forefront of the entire tournament, with many taking on the responsibility of organising much of the regional heats.
The teamwork and collaboration required to play the game along with the strategic thinking required to win the game, provides creative links to help develop computational thinking skills. The game itself is a strong hook for further cross-curricular computing opportunities and ongoing work. We want the participants to think beyond the enjoyment of the game, to the people who have utilised their expertise in computing and creative technology to successfully build a game that is enjoyed by millions globally.
From encouraging students to engage with education to careers education, and cross-curricular creative computing lessons, to planting the seed of alternative career paths, eSports is a cutting edge and highly motivating educational experience for all those involved with it.