RIALTO, Calif. - Teachers will tell you that silence is a sign students are enjoying a lesson. On the day we visited Oscar Barrera’s Esports class, it was so quiet we could hear the tapping of keyboards.
"I know for a fact it makes them more excited about school," said Mr. Barrera, who teaches at Kucera Middle School in Rialto.
He says when kids learn video gaming they are more engaged and the tone is different than the other classes he teaches.
His 7th-grade students are the first class of Esports learners at the middle school, but now that some universities are offering Esports or gaming scholarships, many high schools are also offering the elective or starting teams
"I would love to play games for a grade or maybe a career," said Max Gonzalez-Rosas, who is in Mr. Barrera’s class.
According to Forbes, global gaming is a $180 billion industry (and growing). Top gamers are millionaires many times over and rack of billions of views from fans who want to watch them play.
"One of their favorite things to do is watch other people play video games," Barrera said. "It’s not different than football."
But it can be more lucrative. That’s why San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre says the county has started a league. He believes adding ESports teams and electives can spur students’ interest in education and keep them engaged in school.
"For the county to organize and facilitate a program like Esports, then many districts become involved," Alejandre said. " Then you can leverage those resources and interest to make it a powerful learning experience.
Barrera says there are other pluses. He tells us his students are learning broadcasting and communication skills so they can narrate their games like their favorite gamers do. He says they are also learning graphic and web design, entrepreneurship, advertising, video editing and more. All of it is under close supervision and on school servers to avoid the cyberbullying that plagues the gaming world.
"It’s monitored so I can see everything they are ding," Barrera tells us.
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