NASEF Announces Preliminary Findings on Diversity, Inclusion, and STEAM Learning Achieved through High School Esports

press release Jun 18, 2019
Diversity & Inclusion Achieved through High School Esports

North America Scholastic Esports Federation Shares Findings Related to Social Impacts at the Games for Change Festival

(Orange County, CA – July 29, 2019) – Last month at the Games for Change Festival in New York City, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) shared preliminary information and plans for future research related to diversity, inclusion, and STEAM learning in its high school esports clubs and the esports world at large.

Working with Daniel Wehrenfennig, Ph.D., Vice-Chair of the Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion at UC Irvine, NASEF recently surveyed club members about their experiences in esports. This survey revealed some student perceptions and attitudes and also demonstrated that NASEF creates a safe and inclusive environment.

  • Overall, participants report low levels of racial tension in their Clubs.
  • Overall, participants report that the esports program works to make everyone feel included regardless of identity.
  • Overall, participants report that they know who they can talk to if they encounter/witness harassment or bullying and say they would report it if they experienced it.
  • Educators are seen as trusted leaders.
  • The NASEF Code of Conduct is a valuable tool for setting and maintaining behavior standards.

One response demonstrates the value of NASEF’s engaged General Managers (teacher advisor) to the teams and individual students: “When we were having our regular club time, our general manager [helped] us better to stop cursing, to stop being hateful. The individual often was disrespectful to other members of the club, forcing us to take further action and temporarily suspending him. Eventually, he started to act a bit better as an individual, not just around the esports room but at school too.”

This behavior change illustrates the importance of NASEF’s core values of Opportunity, with a safe and engaging space for all students to connect, play, learn, and grow, as well as Diversity, developing strong character and self-identity so that all participants celebrate individuality and differences. 

NASEF will continue to work with students to build a positive environment in their esports clubs. Simultaneously, NASEF is also working with UC Irvine's well-known games and learning expert Constance Steinkuehler, Ph.D., to conduct rigorous in-depth evaluations to determine best methods to utilize esports as a learning platform, analyzing and creating strong alignment of classroom standards to the NASEF program for educational gains – in addition to the fun of playing esports with friends!

“NASEF puts students first: their learning, their personal development, their future. That’s why we’re examining the educational and emotional aspects of high school esports and developing programs as a result of that research,” said Tom Turner, Chief Education Officer at NASEF. “Not content to only give lip-service to education, NASEF is working with researchers to examine actual conditions and determine best methods of creating a positive growth environment in NASEF clubs and beyond.”

In just a year of existence, NASEF is positively impacting students in clubs in 32 United States and two provinces in Canada, with many more preparing to join for the fall 2019 season. Students will reap social and educational benefits through participation in esports tournaments in a variety of popular titles, Beyond the Game challenges, state-approved English Language Arts and Career Technical Education, and structured coaching and mentoring, all offered FREE to all participants.

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation 

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Under the Samueli Foundation’s leadership, the Federation is led by partners from the Orange County Department of Education, OC STEM Initiative, Connected Camps, Connected Learning Lab, UCI Esports, UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering, and the UCI Bren School of Information & Computer Science. 

Learn more at the NASEF website. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFgg for esports updates and @NASEFedu for our education news, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel. 

Note: This press release was modified for clarity from the original content which was published in June; some of the findings and student comments about esports culture overall were being confused with the NASEF climate.


Media Contact:
Claire LaBeaux
[email protected]

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