Schools embrace e-sport clubs
The hundreds of hours spent playing computer games could pay off for today’s teenagers, with Australian schools leaping into the rapidly growing arena of competitive online gaming known as “e-sports”.
Hale School has embraced the trend, offering students a computer gaming club alongside other options such as chess, debating or music.
This year, Hale entered teams in a national gaming competition and today the school will host the grand final of an inter-school championship organised by Flaktest Gaming.
Hale’s e-sports team coordinator Jon Lamotte said the school aimed to help students who were already involved in online gaming and give them a chance to compete within a supportive community.
He said the gaming industry had become bigger than any other form of entertainment and many youngsters spent hours playing computer games as a pastime.
“How things have changed recently is that these pastimes have actually started to move more into the professional world,” he said.
“We now have professional e-sports players and we have colleges in America taking it seriously to the extent they’re offering scholarships for students coming into their college to be a professional e-sports player.”
Mr Lamotte said bringing gaming into a school environment allowed teachers to impose guidelines, including banning online put-downs known as flaming, and to discuss ethical issues such as the use of violence. It also allowed teachers to model good online behaviour and it gave parents a chance to be involved in their children’s pursuits.
“It’s no longer just about a kid in front of a screen, it’s about a community getting involved in something that kids love,” he said.
More than 400 people are expected at Hale today to watch teams from schools in NSW and Victoria compete in the strategy game League of Legends. Flaktest Gaming founder Brett Sullivan said teams from more than 20 WA schools were involved in national gaming events.
Hale School students Joshua Purwien, 15, Ben Blake-Powell, 16, and Joel Willoughby, 16.