Esports Fun and Learning Through NASEF (Bored by shelter-in-place orders? We’ve got you covered!)

Thousands of students (and educators!) across North America participate in NASEF’s scholastic esports programs. Teens love being in an esports club with their friends, and they learn life and career skills at the same time.

As COVID-19 has physically separated students from their friends, the social component of the esports environment is even more important. Dr. Constance Steinkuehler, Professor of Informatics at University of California, Irvine, is leading research into the connections between games and learning. She said, “During this trying time of social distancing, it's more important than ever that kids have opportunities to socialize with one another online, not just through talk but also through joint activities that allow us to feel in some way that we’re in this together, working toward a goal, sharing experiences.

“Online games are perfect for just this sort of shared experience - they are joint activity in a shared context with a shared goal, whether competitive or collaborative. And NASEF offers a safe and educational environment for it — it’s not just some policed space sanctioned by educators but a play space with vetted and trained coaches that can improve player’s performance while also building pro-social, positive teamsmanship. Activities are goal-driven and professionally mentored, but student-fueled through and through.”

NASEF offers many opportunities for students to engage with each other and teachers to collaborate and learn from each other, and we’ve added even more as youth are not in their traditional school settings. As always, all programs and tournaments are completely free to enable wide levels of participation.

Community Club

NASEF is offering moderated sessions for students and educators Monday – Saturday with our Community Club sessions on Twitch and Discord. The content changes every day! For students, there are lots of opportunities to learn about new games and hang out with NASEF’s esports coaches and ambassadors: college students and/or recent graduates who are as passionate about gaming as they are about their classes. They’ll be available for conversations about esports, gaming, college applications, studying for school, college life and more.

Thinking of working as a professional in the esports world? Another aspect of Community Club will give insight into the esports career scene, providing valuable resources for earning esports scholarships, a chance to interview professional content creators, and more.

Educators should check out the Community Club professional development sessions. Some will feature unique stories about how scholastic fellows are leading scholastic esports in their schools, after school programs and libraries. Other sessions will feature insights into game-based learning, including overviews, how-to’s, and guides for a variety of games and platforms. During the online “office hours,” NASEF leaders will share best practices in developing esports clubs, integrating scholastic esports into classes or programs, plus tournament preparation suggestions, info on Beyond the Game Challenges and more.

Of course, all sessions are open to all ages, but Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are geared to gameplay and community, while Tuesday and Thursday are focused on educational aspects and development.

Scrim Finder

Practice, practice, practice! That applies to all competitive sports, including esports. Scrims (short for scrimmages) provide an alternative to playing or practicing individually. They create a low-stakes, focused environment for competitive games, helping all players improve skills and teamwork.

With NASEF's brand new Scrim Finder database, teams can easily register and find teams near the same level to practice with. Teams don’t have to be members of NASEF, they just need to agree to abide by our Code of Conduct.

Extra Credit Tournaments

NASEF hosts mini-tournaments throughout the season, and we’ve added even more. These are exclusive to Clubs who are activated through NASEF. Upcoming tournament titles include Overwatch, Rocket League, and Smash Ultimate.

Season Finals!

After a brief pause, we’re heading through Playoffs for NASEF’s winter season in League of Legends and Finals are coming soon! Check out the brackets here and catch the streams on Twitch to cheer on your favorite team.

Minecraft Challenges

We know, you’ve always loved Minecraft! While you’re at home, use those skills – we’re looking for students in grades 3rd-12th who want to learn about and respond to issues related to the current global COVID-19 issues by creating solutions in Minecraft. Good luck and have fun!

You might choose to design an awesome house to be stuck in (sound familiar?!), build or code a model of the COVID-19 virus, or design a future medical facility capable of handling challenges like this one. First, build the creation for the challenge you choose. Then, submit a 3 min video of your informative museum and share your link on Twitter with the hashtag #MinecraftCOVID19.

Beyond the Game Challenges

Students, earn scholarship money by demonstrating talents in all kinds of interests and careers related to esports. Tap into your talent apart from competitive teams and use your creativity, curiosity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills to take on one or more of the challenges. From fan art to cosplay, developing game patches to implementing a bot – there’s something for every interest.

When you’re looking for fun and community that includes a deeper look at the world of esports, NASEF has you covered. As Dr. Steinkuehler says, “We all need to feel that there is something to look forward to now — not just in the weeks and months ahead of us, but today, tomorrow, next week, next month. And we need that most in the areas where we can find joy, personal progress and friends.” For many of us, that means esports and NASEF.