Documented Benefits of Scholastic Esports: NASEF Publishes Insights and Interpretation from University of California Research Team

North America Scholastic Esports Federation’s Program Shown to be a Meaningful Tool for Social-Emotional Development, STEM Learning

(Orange County, CA – September 21, 2020) – Scholastic esports is repeatedly being proven to yield positive gains in social-emotional development and STEM learning for high schoolers participating in programs under the umbrella of the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, NASEF

Principal Investigator Dr. Constance Steinkuehler, expert in games and learning and former senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama, in collaboration with her team of doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows at UCI, are empirically examining the impacts of NASEF’s enriched esports model on students who participate.

Using mixed methods that range from qualitative field observations and interviews to quantitative surveys and experimental design, Steinkuehler and her lab help NASEF understand how students’ interest in esports can be a gateway to interest and affiliation with school, improved STEM learning and interest, positive relationships with peers and adults, and strengthened self-regulation.

NASEF is publishing the results from these studies by the Connected Learning Lab in a new Resource section of its website to help educators and parents better understand the benefits of the NASEF structured esports programs. See NASEF.org/resources/research/.

Two crucial areas are the initial focus: building community and social-emotional development, and infusing STEM into esports. For each topic covered on the website, the UCI team will outline the research and findings, illustrate the data with infographics, and provide interpretation through videos. The web resource will grow over time, with UCI continuing to provide expert insights into several areas of esports and learning.   

NASEF’s classroom curriculum is now being utilized in middle and high schools, and covers English Language Arts and more than a dozen Career Technical Education topics. Its afterschool programs incorporate hundreds of clubs and dozens of tournaments each year, and they are leveraged by schools and community organizations. STEM skills are woven throughout, along with social-emotional learning. 

UCI’s research evaluations and guidance help NASEF accomplish its mission of leveraging esports as a platform for meaningful education, whether in or out of the classroom. All resources for classes and clubs are provided completely free to enable all students to benefit from them. 

“NASEF’s scholastic esports program was created to positively impact student’s academic, social, and emotional wellness. This research shows that we’re doing just that, all while the kids are having the time of their lives in a fun environment with their peers,” said Tom Turner, chief education officer of NASEF. “We’re excited to share this research resource, so that more educators and parents will understand the documented benefits and embrace NASEF esports programs for youth.” 

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation 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. Learn more at NASEF.org. Most esports matches are streamed live on NASEF’s Twitch channel. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFedu, or on Facebook and Instagram.  

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Media Contact: Claire LaBeaux claire@nasef.org