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Minecraft Esports 2022

23 Feb 2022 Student and trainer with Minecraft Esports

Bring Esports to your School with New Minecraft Toolkits

“Go! Go! Go!” “Don’t forget the nucleus!” The classroom is electric, and Victoria Gomez and Brandon Lugo, besties on and off the field, wait intently, focused on the buzzer to start their build. They are practiced and confident, seemingly oblivious to the cheers of their classmates that surround them. They are prepared to win. Their challenge: build a cell.  Their teacher, Ms. Cancela, new both to Minecraft and esports, wonders at the transformation of her classroom. This is a far different experience than last year’s human cell challenge with play-doh.

Welcome to Esports with Minecraft: Education Edition.

Whether it's the excitement of the classroom, an opportunity for demonstration of mastery, or a sense of community and leadership, esports can provide many of the same benefits as traditional sports in schools. Moreover, esports are often an outlet for students who might be “uninterested or felt excluded from traditional sports or other extracurricular activities.” (Rourke 2022) It’s a space and place for ALL students to shine.

A quick review of the stats reveals the pervasiveness of gaming and esports. There are 2.6 billion gamers globally according to Trade.gov. 75% of households count a gamer in their home. Nearly 50% of gamers are girls. The Entertainment Software Associated reported in 2020 that in the United States, 24 million gamers identify having a disability. In the United States, there are over 15,000 esports teams in K12 schools. School systems in Europe and Asia allow students to elect esports to supplement physical education classes and the UK now features a BTEC diploma in esports.

Teachers have gamers in their classrooms. And using Minecraft: Education Edition for esports is the perfect platform to introduce inclusive, purposeful, and incredibly fun esports activities and club programs that will build skills, content mastery and true engagement for your classrooms and schools.

“It Turned Everything Around”

At the start of the 2021 - 22 school year, Chicago Public Schools faced a difficult return to the classroom. Students felt disconnected from each other and from their learning. Teachers and administrators knew they had to do something special to reengage students and make them feel the school was a place of belonging. They turned to Minecraft: Education Edition. The leaders of the Early College and Careers program led a cohort of middle and high school teachers, who had never played Minecraft before, through a professional development session focused on building a club and hosting a tournament. They launched the Chi-Town Showdown, which featured teams from across the district building innovative experiences to rebuild the Navy Pier focused on UN Sustainable Development Goals. One of the first-round winners was an all-girls high school team that had never played Minecraft until the competition.

Students who participated in the Chi-Town Showdown had the highest attendance of all students in the schools that participated. Students cited teamwork, overcoming build challenges together and “building something big and new.” As one of the new teacher-coaches noticed: “Minecraft competitions exposes our students to other opportunities outside of the school building. They accomplished so much.”

Building Community and Growing Access to Future Ready Skills through Research-Proven Practices in Esports

Esports in the classroom, when structured with intent and using research-based practices, evidences improved learning outcomes, higher engagement and attendance. Research from the University of California at Irvine identified that students who played in organized scholastic esports programs associated themselves with a higher STEM identity and a higher value for STEM learning. Other skills observed in students in academic esports included a higher focus and persistence during challenges, as well as improved relationship skills and increased satisfaction with school. Now more than ever, our students need to feel engaged, included and exposed to opportunities to develop these skills which are typically not done during the class day.

Start a Minecraft Club and Esports in Your School

Creating a Minecraft esports and club program in your school and building the opportunities for your students to grow and learn together is now easier than ever. We partnered with Bronwyn Stuckey at Innovative Educational Ideas to develop two toolkits to help you jumpstart your club and learn how to host a Minecraft esports tournament at your school. Check out these resources to help you get started no matter where you are in your Minecraft journey:

  1. The Esports Club Toolkit is a step-by-step guide focused on developing esports competencies and how to develop Minecraft clubs within your school. You will find details of what it takes to create a Minecraft club, how to run club esports challenges, as well as templates and real-life examples you can apply for your own club!  Download here. 
  2. The Esports Competition Guide dives deeper into how to leverage your creativity in the next phase of your esports journey and provides a step-by-step strategy on how to create an internal esports competition within your school using Minecraft: Education Edition. Explore examples of how to develop your competition, build your bracket, and drive engagement across your entire school along with real life examples of successful Minecraft esports challenges for your guidance. Download here. 
  3. Our Esports Subject Kit features four Esports lesson collections. The Make & Model collection fosters open builds, from mysterious libraries to a Maker Space, and includes Practice Plaza for up to 12 teams without buzzers or scoring. The Code 2 Create collection features esports worlds with the ability to incorporate coding in computer science into esports. Students can demonstrate their coding skills on the battle arena. The Creative Clash collection fosters team building through role-playing games that feature sharp strategic skills and team communication in short 15-minute games. The Challenge Series supports introductory Esports Clubs, from building a bedroom to coding in coral, preparing students for competition.
  4. The Esports Educator Framework is a compendium of research, how-to manuals for our subject kit, advice from mentor experts and rubrics for helping assess E sports competitions. Consider it your reference guide and easily accessible and amendable Minecraft Esports handbook.

Minecraft Esports builds community and student skills through competition, play and learning in an environment where students thrive. For those who question the value of Minecraft Esports, or Esports in general, look at how students entertain themselves, how they learn, how they communicate and connect with each other, and then compare it to the traditional classroom. Create an environment where all students are included and build connections to careers in an exploding industry to demonstrate to parents that esports prepares students for their futures.  As educators, we know that when we connect our students’ passions to the relevant skills they need for success in the classroom and out of school, our students prosper. Join the fun!