COVID-19 esports series: Coach says keep game time relevant

Nate Meeker from the University of Akron offers tips to keep children and students engaged and staying safe during the pandemic.

The Academic Esports Conference & Expo is providing technology, academic and esports leaders and professionals with guidance to help navigate the Covid-19 pandemic impacting schools and colleges across the nation. We understand this is a very difficult and unforeseen time in the lives of all educators. As we all work through this together, we are collecting useful insights and strategies from top esports leaders; plus our magazines, District Administration and University Business, are keeping on top of all the developments and passing helpful information on to you here.

This week, Nate Meeker, Esports Director at the University of Akron as well as an experienced curriculum director, offers impactful tips to keep game time relevant during this remote learning period as students and children spend more time in front of a screen playing games:

  1. Create an atmosphere that encourages socialization and communication. Many competitive games have social platforms that players can engage in, and it is most helpful if they engage with similar-aged peers to experience success in their games. High schools and colleges across the country are creating teams and other areas of connections to gamers – reach out and find out what is happening virtually in your area!
  2. Make it a family or community affair. There are a slew of games out there that cater to the non-gamer, or casual gamer, that would be great ways to get everyone in the family involved. In participating, you can show the younger gamers in your house or community how to positively communicate while playing, as well as building that socialization we all need in our lives. Check out Super Mario Party, Mario Kart, Overcooked, Jackbox Party Pack, and more.
  3. Incorporate gaming passion into assignments or projects. Looking for ways to extend your students or children’s aptitude in writing or art? Using their passion for games could be a great way for them to connect to those topics by using something that they are knowledgeable about and have an interest in. Perhaps, instead of having them write a summary of something going on in the literary or news world, allow them to take that and turn it into a work on their favorite game.
  4. Watch a competition together. While traditional sports may be on hold for the moment, esports are very much alive in the digital realm for many places around the world. Taking some time out during home life or class to watch one of these events with a goal in mind would be a great way to drum up some discussion and explore gaming from a different perspective.
  5. Build new skills together: Have a child or student(s) interested in gaming? Learn how to create, edit and piece together a video for YouTube reviewing the game, showing game play or just talking. Create a stream page and have them setup their own stream. Record commentary about various games that have been played professionally. The possibilities are endless, and these are skills that not only consider the passion of these students but may also be skills that help them in their careers later on!

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