This year, Ormiston College rolled out a ground-breaking program that is helping students improve their digital literacy.
The e-Sports program enables students in Years 9-11 to connect with each other around a common passion in a competitive, but supportive school-based team environment.
The growth of e-Sports over the past few years has been staggering. By 2020, the industry is estimated to be worth US$1.4bn. Viewership has already surpassed that of traditional sports broadcasting which represents a significant market opportunity for broadcasting companies.
Traditional sporting clubs have also been investing into the e- Sports market which now includes major league soccer, NFL and the Australian Football League.
Universities are also seizing this opportunity, with major universities offering courses for video gamers to move from amateurs to professional players and creating industry opportunities for students who want to move into the business of e- Sports.
Tamara Sullivan, the College's head of academics and innovation, said that by bringing e-Sports into her school’s environment, the initiative has provided a unique opportunity to develop its own digital literacy component to the program.
“In order for students to engage positively with the online gaming community, we believe that we need to provide structured programs to explicitly develop these online skills by modelling what appropriate behaviour looks like and monitoring the space,” Sullivan told The Educator.
“By bringing e-Sports into the school environment, it has provided the College with a unique opportunity to develop our own digital literacy component to the program.”
This includes compulsory targeted lessons each week which focus on team work, peer to peer learning, resilience and good sporting play behaviours in online environments.
“By helping students to shape behaviour and cultivate a more inclusive and healthy experience in online games, we believe that we are providing them with a positive and supportive environment in which they can develop the skillset and mindset to become emotionally intelligent digital citizens,” Sullivan said.
Year 11 Ormiston College Student Isabelle, said the initiative has allowed her to represent the College in a variety of ways, including athletics, music and art.
“This opportunity with E-Sports not only allows me to represent my school but also build relationships with my classmates and improve my teamwork skills,” she told The Educator.
Isabelle added that many people don’t realise that E-Sports is very much like a physical team sport.
“We communicate during the whole game, talk each other about strategies and support each other, just like we do in Football, Rugby or Touch,” she said.
“It is an opportunity to build the same skills, even if you don’t consider yourself to be an athletic person.”