INNOVATION IN TEACHING
BILLION DOLLAR ESPORTS INDUSTRY MORE THAN JUST A GAME AT MARSDEN
Electronic Sports (Esports) is a growing billion-dollar industry taking off around the world and Marsden State High School is one of the first schools in Queensland to be introducing students to it.
Marsden State High School (MSHS) Business, IT and HPE teacher Cameron Lynch, who is also a sports coach, has been using his skills to introduce the ground-breaking industry at his school.
It’s just one of the reasons he is a finalist for this year’s Queensland College of Teachers TEACHX Innovation in Teaching Award.
“Kids problem-solve, they communicate, they collaborate – they do all of these things online with their gaming without even knowing that they’re doing it. Helping them to unlock those skills – that’s a life skill that can help them get a job somewhere else,” Mr Lynch says.
He has built links with local companies XP Sports and Federation of United School Esports (FUSE), which run Esports tournaments, as well as with The University of Queensland (UQ) and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). These partnerships give MSHS students links to real-world knowledge and provide pathways to further study or employment.
QUT also offers Esports students scholarship places, runs a player development academy with a high-performance coach and has purpose-built facilities. UQ graduates have gone on to set up their own companies.
While there are paid professional players in Esports, there is also an industry underneath involving many more employment opportunities including IT support, event and project management, marketing and sports commentary.
Mr Lynch said participation in Esports had also grown student confidence.
“When they speak, people listen and their opinion is valued and that has been a massive thing for the confidence of some of our kids,” he said.
Student-led developments have seen Esports grow at the school to include learning how to market, design and run tournaments. Online conduct, safety and time management has also been taught.
Mr Lynch has worked with the Queensland Department of Education and a teacher at Forest Lake State High School to pilot a Digital Technologies curriculum that contains Esports. He is also developing applications for Business and HPE subjects, and beyond.
“We’re really looking at, for kids who are disengaged at school, giving them something to come to school for, which is what traditional sports have always done,” Mr Lynch said.
Earlier this year, two MSHS students competed in the World Grand Final of the FUSE Esports FIFA 2020 Competition. Mr Lynch led two weeks of planning that saw the two students entering their school auditorium to the cheers of 100 fellow socially-distanced students.
“They absolutely loved it. That is one of the best things we’ve ever done,” he said.
The winners of the TEACHX Awards will be announced on 29 October, on the eve of World Teachers’ Day in Australia.