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DSH study proves there’s a place for esports in education

Author: Laura.Martin

We’re proud to be adding another report - and the first-of-its-kind - to our growing portfolio of Digital Schoolhouse-Ukie research. ‘Esports: Engaging Education’ proves that there’s a valuable place for esports in education; paving the way for the adoption of esports in UK schools and further afield.

  • 82% of players said they were more likely to participate in other team sports as a result of taking part in the DSH esports tournament.
  • 94% said that taking part in the tournament made them more interested in computers/computing.
  • 88% of students said that taking part in the tournament made them more interested in a career in the video games industry.

Download our Esports: Engaging Education report here

Besides functioning as an exciting and creative form of interactive entertainment in schools by its very nature, it’s important to note that DSH’s esports tournament - as detailed by the report - effectively encourages pupils to realise the breadth of career opportunities available to them, for example 88% of students said that taking part in the tournament made them more interested in a career in the video games industry.

Esports is continuing to grow rapidly and with the latest figure putting worldwide viewers for tournaments at over 142m (more than the population of Russia!) this is not only careers education with a difference, but careers education that is entirely relevant for the next generation and the present.

Sign up for tournament here

As an immersive careers education experience, the 2018 tournament saw 2,222 students from 20 schools across the UK, take part as either players or as part of the school’s event management team. Students aged 12-18 were provided with practical and relevant industry skills by fulfilling roles such as: event management, production, tournament administration, community management and on-screen talent.

The study, conducted by Staffordshire University, examined data from our esports tournament 2018, with a focus on its potential impact on the participants and specifically, the following key research questions:

  1. Does participating in esports create positive behavioural change in young players that will translate into behaviour modification in other aspects of their lives?
  2. Does participating in esports influence the career path and STEM interests of young players?

Key findings of the study include:

  • An increase in transferable skills, with Communication (74%) and Team Working (80%) coming top.
  • Positive effects of bonds of friendship amongst participants, with 67% of respondents stating that friendship bonds grew over the course of the tournament (and 94% of friendships were maintained or grew during the competition).
  • Qualitative evidence from teachers and schools involved in the tournament further reinforced these findings, particularly regarding the effects on behaviour and engagement amongst harder to reach students.
  • 94% said that taking part in the tournament made them more interested in computers/computing.

The value of the skills that students developed whilst participating in the tournament were recognised by the Duke of York’s Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award (iDEA). Regarding wider impact, the tournament also upskilled teachers’ knowledge of industry practice and careers advice, thereby improving careers guidance in schools for a much larger population of students both present and future.

Watch the offical dsh esports tournament trailer here

Shahneila Saeed, programme director, said: “The report [Esports: Engaging Education] is a landmark publication, the first of its kind that formally looks at the positive impact of the esports industry on students and education. Using rigorous academic research, it has found that the DSH approach to careers education not just raises students interest in the field, but also goes a long way to improving their confidence and self-esteem. In turn. this helps students to consider opportunities that they never thought were possible before. This isn't just the industry saying it, we've had two academic institutions involved in this and have willingly put themselves forward to assign their names to it.”

Mark Ward at St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy said: “Getting involved in the tournament has been amazing.  I can bring the pupils’ world into my lessons – I can use role models that they have heard of (some I hadn’t until very recently!) and talk about careers that they are interested in and passionate about – all whilst ‘playing games’. The most amazing thing, this is a world that is open to everybody.”

Watch last year's Grand Final in action here

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