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NASEF and the Rise of Scholastic Esports

Filament Games | Educational Game Developer

Here’s a trivia question for you: what do Starcraft, Super Smash Brothers, League of Legends, Minecraft, Fortnite, and K-12 have to do with eachother?

High School GIF

via GIPHY

Answer: It’s Esports! Poised to reach a value of $5B by 2028, the global esports market is expanding rapidly, particularly as viewers increasingly looked to their screens for entertainment while under 2020’s more stringent quarantines and lockdowns. This phenomenon is not at all isolated to entertainment – schools everywhere are warming up to the idea of “scholastic esports,” a concept being popularized by the North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which just so happens to feature in every story below by virtue of their tireless evangelism for this vital and future-facing form of pedagogy. Check out what they’ve been up to in our round-up of the latest and greatest happenings in the world of scholastic esports, and let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!

NASEF becomes an Independent Non-profit

Every superhero needs an origin story. Founded originally by the Samueli Foundation, NASEF has spent the last 4 years supporting STEM learning and social-emotional development of students. NASEF helps design and implement scholastic esports programs that wrap mainstream esports tournaments with a holistic curriculum that has students acting not only as participants, but also as strategists, organizers, content creators, and entrepreneurs. Check out this article to learn more about Henry and Susan Samueli, their contributions to the field, and some of the learning outcomes that NASEF programs have already begun to realize. 

NASEF, ‘Minecraft Education’ Bring Rube Goldberg Machine Contest to Digital

Minecraft and Rube Goldberg machines? Sign me up! This super cool digital contest invited students from grades 3-12 submitting their own virtual Rube Goldberg machines designed in Minecraft Education Edition. The contest was designed to encourage teamwork and creative thinking on a level playing field, with winners from Junor, Senior, and @Home divisions being featured on the contest’s landing page. To get the full experience of these ingenious creations and commentary from the clever creators, check out the full stream of the contest awards:

Building Diversity Equity and Inclusion with Scholastic Esports

Building towards a better future requires creating equitable and inclusive spaces that allow for diverse voices to be heard and understood. Scholastic esports programs afford an incremental step in the right direction by providing extra-curricular learning opportunities that engage students who would not typically participate in traditional extra-curricular programs. These programs also give students critical opportunities to act as leaders, scientists, strategists, artists, and many other roles that can give them actionable insight into their own lifelong ambitions and career preferences. Learn more about how educators are using esports for DEI here.

Researchers Find SEL Gains for Students in Esports

Undertaken in partnership with the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine and overseen by Constance Steinkuehler, professor of informatics at UC Irvine’s School of Information & Computer Sciences, this NASEF study found that “students participating in esports showed ‘significant development’ of STEM and workforce skills and social-emotional characteristics.” Students were shown to realize substantial gains in science learning, math learning, communication skills, and social emotional skills like mentorship, teamwork, and leadership. Learn more here about the many SEL benefits of scholastic esports. 

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