Academic esports: NASEF becoming part of new nonprofit WWSEF

With its growth under the Samueli Foundation complete, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation moves into a new chapter as it continues its path of providing gaming and education to kids.
By: | November 18, 2020
Photo courtesy of NASEF

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), known for providing both a playing field for gamers and a strong support system for STEM-related activities and social and emotional learning, will become its own independent nonprofit entity Jan 1, 2021, and run by a new organization called the World Wide Scholastic Esports Foundation (WWSEF).

NASEF, which has relied on the backing of the Samueli Foundation for the past two-plus years, will now operate under the new nonprofit WWSEF, which will be led by industry veteran Todd Harris, the CEO of Skillshot Media, along with a team of people who have experience in esports, technology and education.

“The esports industry has been thrilled to see NASEF’s growth, as it educates youth about the entire ecosystem of esports and the wide variety of career options,” said Harris, also the co-founder of Hi-Rez Studios. “I’m excited to work with the NASEF team to continue to connect play and learning for kids around the world.”

Because of its continued growth through Samueli – from a pilot program to now with more than 1,000 clubs and global connections – the time was right to allow it to break away under a new model.

“We were bold when we chose to fund learning through esports,” Henry Samueli said. “In a few short years, NASEF’s leadership developed rigorous esports-centric curriculum that was approved by the state of California, created an afterschool club environment that fostered social connections and entrepreneurial activity, and developed tournaments and academic challenges that allowed youth to showcase their gaming, creative and analytic skills. We’re so pleased with this rapid evolution and student impact.”

Schools and programs that currently take part in NASEF should expect to see the same guidance and offerings. At its core, NASEF helps deliver learning experiences that take students beyond the game and gives them critical problem-solving and communication skills, along with knowledge in a variety of STEM-related areas related to esports. Officials say the partnerships with Connected Camps, the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine, the Orange County Department of Education (California), and UCI Esports will continue through the transition.

It is unclear what the trajectory of the new WWSEF will look like or whether there will be other entities under it.

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