Whats the story?
Garnes Vidaregaande Skule, a highschool in Norway, is the first in its country to give students access to a course in eSports. The course will be based around eSports, a term used to describe a competitive online game where teams can compete, and will feature no textbooks in the teaching of the course – likely due to the lack of teaching material on the subject.
The school in question is offering the class as an elective – as an optional course such as for sports or the arts. The class is set to begin in August of 2016, however, the actual games that will be taught in the class have yet to be decided. In order to make this decision the school is currently holding a poll to derive the two most popular choices from its students.
A gaming room will be made available to students in order to provide the students with “in-depth knowledge in whatever game” and “will be available during the day and evening time”. The room in question features a totally of 15 high-end computers which will be used by the 30 student class. Two students will share a computer, while one practices the game, the other will be doing physical works to improve: reflexes, body strength and endurance.
Petter Grahl Johnstad, the teacher of the course, has made it clear that the focus of the course is not solely on the mechanics of the game itself and will also feature working on teamwork and motivation. “Understanding the game is one thing, but if the communication does not work within the team, if the players can’t rely on each other, you practically have nothing in our opinion,” Johnstad said on the subject.
Why is it newsworthy?
ESports, a term used to describe competitive online games where teams compete on a regional country and even worldwide basis, have been increasing in popularity massively in recent years. This has been made evident by both the DOTA and League of Legends championships selling out the O2 during their respective finals in recent years and the BBC showing the most recent League of Legends finals on BBC 3(which I wrote about in Week 3 – News Diary 2).
There have been huge pushes to remove the stigma around professional gaming in recent years, such as the American law introduced that allows for professional eSports players to apply for an athletes visa. This shows the western worlds changing view of eSports and how it can be a potential career (although very difficult to achieve and very cutthroat). Not much is understood or known by the general media about gaming or eSports in general and stories like this help to improve the overall understanding of the general public.
In a way, a better understanding of the eSports scene could, arguable, help relations with Eastern countries like South Korea and Japan who both hold eSports in high regard in their society (South Korea even having its national sport an eSport and having a national holiday when the expansion pack for Star Craft II – heart of swarms released).
Paget, M. (2016)
You Can Play Video Games in This High School Esports Class
Available at: http://www.gamespot.com/articles/you-can-play-video-games-in-this-high-school-espor/1100-6433849/ (Accessed: 15th January 2016)
Taub, B. (2016)
Norwegian School To Offer ESports Classes as Alternative To Traditional Sports
Available at: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/norwegian-school-offer-esports-classes-part-curriculum (Accessed: 15th January 2016)
Moore, E. (2016)
This School in Norward Offers eSports As Part Of The Curriculum
Available at: http://www.unilad.co.uk/gaming/this-school-in-norway-offers-esports-as-part-of-the-curriculum/ (Accessed 15th January 2016)