20 mars 2018

The Esports in education journey

For the last three years I've been working with esport in education and how to implement esport courses into an existing vocational program. Therefore, from this very beginning, you should be aware of there's (at least) two different ways and mindsets when you bring esport to school and education. As Finland for about 750 years (!) belonged to Sweden, Finland still compete with Sweden and of course, everything that happens in Sweden sooner and later comes to Finland. Therefore, Finnish media nor the federation, could believe the fact we were at the same page with Sweden in the Fall of 2015.

I'm working as a remedial teacher at Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum, which is the only upper secondary vocational institution in the Greater Helsinki area where the language of instruction is Swedish and that offers initial vocational education for young people and adults.

Anyhow, the news of the (school) year 2015 was that you could study esport, just as any other sport, at Arlandagymnasiet in Sweden. No matter if you were a football- handball- or icehockey-player, now you could start learn to be an esport pro at this sports college. Later we understood they got 7 students this first year and in the Spring they had 4 left, they have later been struggling with the in gaming motivation. Also, one important thing to notice. First you have to have good grades, then an esport talent.

That Fall - 2015 - we had another situation: We had the third year's student who misunderstood the meaning of freely elective courses. It was never free-if-you-wanted-courses but courses-you-have-to-choose-freely. I started to wonder, do they have any knowledge or interest that we can make into knowledge and study points?

All said: esports!
What the heck is esports?
In school???

There my esport in education journey started.
I soon teamed up with the school's (traditional) sports coordinator (also national handball coach for youth players) as I soon come to realize students need physical exercise in order to be able to stay focus and handle stress in game.

That esport journey is well documented.
The course content was the worst part to make a sketch of as we had no idea. What we roughly sketched up in the Spring of 2016 and what we planned to do the schoolyear 2016-17 sure helped but what the Finnish esports federation (SEUL) really wanted was course contents like this (including scope, objective, content, method and assessment).

As the Finnish vocational curriculum changed 1.1.2018 we also had to change our course. Or actually and more exactly, we - despite Sweden - have a possibility to make an exam part of a vocational education local. Therefore we can offer 20 credits out of 180 about esports

The difference between Sweden and Finland is quite simple.
  • Sweden have former esports professional coaching students inside mainly two games: CSGO and LOL.
  • Finland have teachers, experts in different subjects, teaching life skills needed in esports.

With that said, our course content is suitable for all those who now and in the future plan to work in the field of esports, but it isn’t limited to just playing. Possible professions in the field of esports are for example
  • Professional / Semiprofessional player (there's a difference in Finland)
  • YouTuber
  • Streamer
  • Blogger / vlogger 

Even though we now will start to be online ingame, it's not to coach the students in their game - in fact, the choice of game is not important! - but focusing on the personal development of the player. Of course, individual training must be both goal-oriented and significantly more than 5 credits in time, but we think it is realistic to demand 5 credits from the school or the educator to promote the players of tomorrow.

This esport journey finally ended up in the Educator's handbook to esports, which you can find here. Please be aware that as any instruction manual, all three languages (Swedish, English and Finnish) is in the same book! As I assume you want to read the English version of the handbook, scroll down to page 37 something and you'll have the English version.

In the same way as it's a handbook, it's also a textbook to students who wants to learn languages!

Finally, esports as a learning environment. 
Each year we - Yrkesinstitutet Prakticum - host a CSGO tournament: Insomnolence

It's an esport event arranged by students who, of course, get supervision of teachers. We have "business clerks" make the event, "hotel receptionists" that welcome the guests, "business information technican" who handle the twitch and matches, "ICT assemblers" doing the network and power supplies and "media assistants" that makes the production that streams out in the world via national TV!

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