The role of esports within schools is growing, and one of the areas showing real potential is the use of esports in STEAM education. Competitive video game playing has the potential to help students become more familiar with technology, develop scientific thought patterns, and more.
Read on to learn more about the relationship between esports and STEAM education initiatives. Or explore ViewSonic ELITE’s range of professional gaming monitors.
The idea of using esports in STEAM education is gaining traction, but it relies on schools embracing both of those concepts. When they do, an esports club can help students take an interest in STEAM fields and develop the skills and abilities that are sought after within those areas as well.
In this article, we explore the idea of using esports in STEAM education in more detail and explain how the two concepts can combine to help prepare students for the careers of the future.
What is STEAM Education?
First, it is important to gain an understanding of precisely what STEAM education refers to. Essentially, it is an education model that prioritizes science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. This explains the STEAM acronym, and each of those subject areas may be described as a STEAM field.
The STEAM model was based on an existing educational model known as STEM, and the only difference between the two is that STEAM includes the arts alongside the original STEM fields. A major aim of STEAM initiatives is to provide students with the skills required to succeed in the workforce today and into the future.
Going further, STEAM initiatives are also intended to encourage greater integration between the different STEAM subjects so that the relevant skills are acquired collectively rather than individually.
Esports in STEAM Education: What is the Connection?
Before exploring how esports can be used within STEAM education, it is first important to look at the connection between the two concepts more broadly. One of the best ways of demonstrating this connection is by looking at the correlation between people in STEAM fields and people who participate in esports.
As an article from Sport Techie highlights, there is a strong correlation between schools that are known for STEAM initiatives and the size of those same schools’ esports clubs. The article also highlights over-representation, statistically, from STEAM majors in esports competitions.
When you take the time to think about it, this crossover appeal makes sense because video games rely on technology, use scientific and mathematical concepts, are an example of the arts, and are the product of software engineering and development. As a result, it stands to reason that esports can play a role in preparing students for STEAM fields.
How Esports Can Help Improve STEAM Education Initiatives?
In terms of how schools and other academic institutions can use esports to improve STEAM initiatives, it is worth breaking down the potential benefits, some of which are as follows:
Building STEAM Skills
Perhaps the most obvious way that esports can help to improve STEAM initiatives is by helping participants to develop skills that are relevant to STEAM fields. As a Forbes article indicates, the process of figuring out a video game can help to develop the kind of systematic problem-solving skills associated with scientific methods.
Meanwhile, a natural extension of playing games within esports clubs involves teaching students elements of video game design or how to make their own games. This can then help them to develop the kind of skills needed to successfully move into areas like programming, computer graphics, or other aspects of video game design.
Improving STEAM Awareness
Another key way in which esports can help to boost steam initiatives is through improving overall awareness of STEAM concepts. For instance, understanding of the technology component of STEAM can be improved through the use of gaming PCs or consoles and their associated accessories, including controllers, headsets, and gaming monitors.
The technology used is not just going to be related to gaming computers or video game consoles and their accessories. An esports club needs to familiarize itself with video recording, video and sound editing, live streaming, online communications, and even areas like data interpretation, photography, and graphics design.
Furthermore, esports has the potential to boost inclusion, and this can then ensure that a more diverse group of students are engaged with STEAM concepts. One of the ways this can be achieved is through helping to level the playing field when it comes to access to the technology used to play video games.
Not all students will have access to a gaming PC or a video games console at home, and an esports club can help to prevent these students from missing out. This is important because the video games industry offers a wide range of career options, while esports is also becoming a more viable career path to pursue.
The Challenges of Using Esports in STEAM Education
The two biggest challenges encountered by educators attempting to use esports in STEAM education are a lack of buy-in from school decision-makers and a lack of enthusiasm from parents who may have negative perceptions about esports.
Much of this skepticism comes because of media stories about video game addiction or because people fail to understand how playing video games can have academic value. In both cases, the best ways to challenge these views are to highlight success stories from other schools and explain the benefits of esports for developing STEAM skills.
The other major challenge you may encounter relates to funding. After all, a competitive esports club is going to need high-quality equipment, including gaming computers, gaming monitors, headsets, controllers, and more. When making a case for funding, it may be worth highlighting the fact that esports is increasingly viewed as a real sport and that funding for traditional sporting activities in schools is usually considered a priority.
How Esports Can Assist Non-Video Game Players Too
Despite claims that 91 percent of American children aged between 2 and 17 now play video games, the reality is that interest levels can vary significantly, and a lot of children are not interested enough that they would like to play competitively against other schools. Nevertheless, they may still have a role to play in an esports club.
The esports club within a school or other academic institution may need a wide range of people with different skills and interests. There could be a need for logo designers, uniform designers, and photographers, while the club’s social media accounts can also potentially be placed under student control.
This is significant because it means that the various benefits associated with the esports club with regards to STEAM education are not limited solely to those who are interested in playing video games competitively.
Although esports still face skepticism within academic settings, they can play a valuable role in helping students develop skills related to science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics. Crucially, knowledge and understanding of those STEAM fields are in high demand among employers, which will continue to be the case.
Aside from building key skills, esports in STEAM education can also help a broader range of students to become familiar with technology, techniques within the arts, and more. It is also important to stress that the benefits of a school esports club extend beyond those actively playing the video games, with demand for students to take on other roles too.
Setting up an esports club at school brings a whole host of benefits other than encouraging STEAM education, read about how competitive video gaming can help improve student performance. Or learn about ViewSonic ELITE’s professional series of gaming monitors for your esports club needs.