Not the traditional classroom - Education Matters Magazine

Not the traditional classroom

In the modern-day classroom, esports and gamification are emerging as the next big things to watch. Acer discusses why educators are now embracing these technologies to boost student motivation and engagement.

From developing critical strategy skills to working in teams, esports is proving to be an alternative, yet effective solution to maintaining and developing greater engagement with students and learning.

esports refers to competitive multi-player gaming tournaments, often played with a huge spectatorship. Its appeal has grown rapidly in the past decade, with the rise of video streaming services, such as YouTube and Twitch, allowing gamers around the world to come together and compete – all on a digital playing field.

The rising legitimacy of esports as a team sport has captured the attention of teachers and schools, who are noticing the gaming passion of their students in their classrooms. But teachers are not the only ones recognising this, with brands like Acer tackling this head on and partnering with high schools to integrate esports and gamification into their curriculum.

What does the esports phenomenon look like in the classroom?
Within the typical classroom, the slight mention of video games in the classroom would sound like a strange concept – video games traditionally have been associated as a distraction or something that takes time away from study. Yet some studies have shown that competitive gaming, or esports, have surprising benefits on students’ performances outside of the gaming arena.

Most recently, high schools in Australia have begun to shift their thinking towards esports as a legitimate sport. Just like basketball or netball, multi-player games like League of Legends focus on the concepts of teamwork and communication. This concept, collective responsibility, encourages players to coordinate their efforts to not let the team down. These skills can be translated into everyday life, promoting team spirit and friendship, as well as allowing natural leaders to emerge.

A recent initiative that has integrated esports and education is META High School esports League. Developed by Adelaide Football Club and Riot Games and sponsored by Acer and Intel, this initiative provides all schools across Australia and New Zealand the opportunity to have access to local and national leagues, training, development and esports arenas. The idea is to allow students to hone their craft, but also facilitate social and academic progress that in turn can improve student engagement and school attendance.

The power of gamification for learning
The growing interest of esports in education taps into the larger trend of introducing gamification in the classroom. Gamification is viewed as a disruptive solution to the current education system, with its ability to bring out the best of traditional classroom teaching through the digital learning
tools available.

While it is unconventional, gaming does present itself as an alternative way to help build skills necessary for personal and educational development. The application of gamification can unlock formative life skills such as self-discipline and the ability to deal with adversity. By engaging with students who may not be as responsive to traditional teaching methods, such technology mitigates the otherwise subsequent decline in their motivation and engagement.
Growing accessibility of immersive technology, such as Acer’s Mixed Reality Headset, is also making it easier for educators everywhere to explore the endless possibilities to create new and innovative ways, improving life skills and academic outcomes for students involved.

esports and gamification are becoming more prevalent in learning and education in Australia. Through emerging initiatives such as META and advancing technology devices, it provides a layer of fun and enjoyment for students, transforming their attitudes and perspectives towards learning. Ultimately, new technology provides teachers the confidence to embrace new methods of teaching, providing support to all students – regardless of the different learning styles.

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