Digital Learning Bits and Bytes Podcast- San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools

More than Video Games: College & Career Connections to Esports

May 05, 2023 Sonal Patel, Jessica Boucher and Sharisa Chan Season 1 Episode 11
Digital Learning Bits and Bytes Podcast- San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
More than Video Games: College & Career Connections to Esports
Show Notes Transcript

We have a very special Esports episode today. SBCSS and our department Digital Learning Services have been passionate about growing and expanding Esports programs within San Bernardino County. Esports is a great way to help students connect to school through something they enjoy doing, and are passionate about, not to mention the opportunities eSports now provides with CTE scholarships, and job opportunities. With all that excitement around eSports we're very happy to introduce our guests for today's podcast, Chris Shima, Scholastic Esports specialist with Generation Esports and Jacob Beach, the director of Esports at University of Redlands.

Sonal  00:03

Welcome to the SBCSS digital learning bits and bytes podcast inspired by our dedication for equitable and inclusive educational technology and computer science. Today's digital learning team hosts are Jessica Boucher and Dr. Sharisa Chan. 

 

Jessica

Hello everyone. I'm Jessica Boucher 

 

Sharisa  00:19

and Hi everyone, I'm Sharisa Chan.

 

Jessica  00:25

We have a very special esports episode today. SBCSS and our department digital learning services have been passionate about growing and expanding esports programs within San Bernardino County. Esports is a great way to help students connect to school through something they enjoy doing, and are passionate about, not to mention the opportunities esports now provides with CTE scholarships, and job opportunities. With all that excitement around esports we're very happy to introduce our guests for today's podcast, Chris Shima, Scholastic esports specialist with generation esports and Jacob Beach, the director of esports at University of Redlands, welcome.

 

Sharisa  01:06

Hi, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Alright, so we're gonna start off with a little bit of fun here. Shema will start with you. What is one interesting bit or by about you,

 

Shima  01:17

Ooh, interesting bit or bite. Not esports related. We'll go that route. Most people don't know that. I am a big time lindy hop dancer, swing dancer. So and that's actually how I met my wife was was that way she, she came into the club where I was was teaching lessons before the band. And she's like, Hey, I want to get some private lessons. And I was like, When are you getting married? Because that was usually how I would get asked like, Oh, you must be needing dances for them. She's like, No, no, no, I just want to learn. And you know, a few years later, married. That was my, my dance background is definitely key to who I am.

 

Jessica  01:58

And when you theater, when you said When are you getting married? I thought that's actually where you were going with that? I thought.

 

Shima  02:05

Well, we'll see how it goes. But yes, yes, that is a little bit or bite about me.

 

Sharisa  02:10

That is awesome. I don't hear singing, dancing much. And funny story. I actually did some dancing in Japan as a performance when I was an exchange student. So that was like my thing. Yeah. Cool. Thank you. Oh, yeah. All right, Jacob, what about you? Let's one better by about you. Well,

 

Jacob  02:28

I was gonna go something esport related, but actually like Shima, maybe taking away from that. Like, just want to interesting things, especially of late I'm really into tabletop, board games in particular punch everything. Katan is one of my favorites. And I guess my bit about that is I was nationally ranked for a while at TwitchCon. The last one in San Diego, I believe it was three years ago and it was actually Long Beach. Three, four years ago, me and my main dual partner for Overwatch went in did the Katan tournament and both qualify for nationals in New York circuit nationally ranked in Katan. It was really interesting, really fun. And they didn't sponsor the trip. So I didn't go to New York for the finals. But because of that, I've actually been trying to climb up the leaderboard on some online Katan surfboards. So that's always kind of fun. It's kind of interesting.

 

Shima  03:14

I'm intrigued on that, because I've heard that there is a competitive scene for Catan. But I've never you know, ever played it. With that in mind. It's always just the unsocial game, friends cutthroat,

 

Jacob  03:22

the competitive side of it, which is called Table Talk is everything the game starts as you sit down, you're already making deals, hey, you know, first aid that's rolled, you gotta give me that word. And I'll block this route for you. And this and that. And most games are decided within the first three or four roles and people see it more as a casual game and kind of just like esports you can take the game and there's a game within the game at such a high level and as soon as you get to know that everything changes and

 

Shima  03:46

yeah, what's what's your what's your non competitive favorite board game?

 

Jacob  03:54

Every game is competitive to me. I would say one of my favorite games on competitive actually right now is me and my wife just married in March.

 

Jessica  04:00

Congratulations

 

Jacob  04:02

Thank you. We're playing a game. It's a Harry Potter board game Co Op deckbuilder. Yes, we actually we play together to go through all seven years. So it's not competitive. It's Co Op. Yeah, and we're having an absolute blast with that. We're on a year seven and we've lost a couple times in a row so you have to keep restarting, but

 

Shima  04:17

good review for the Harry Potter. Okay, super fun.

 

Jacob  04:21

Go support your local board game shops. By the way.

 

Jessica  04:23

There's a good one in Redlands.

 

Jacob  04:24

There's a great run. Great One in Redlands, a board game paradise.

 

Jessica  04:31

We don't also like to mention that Shima and Jacob were presenters at the inaugural S BCSS esports symposium and tournament that took place Saturday, April 29, Jacob presented a session on digital conditioning, improving skills and avoiding burnout. And Shima presented a session called Video Games in class esports centric learning in middle school in high school, which also had a connection to CTE. Can you tell us a little bit about your sessions we'll start with Jake Yep,

 

Jacob  05:00

yeah. So at Digital conditioning, we were focused on not just improving your skills in the game, such as what drills we do, how to properly do vaad reviews and coaching sessions, but also the mental and physical health aspects of it, making sure we're using proper equipment, we're taking time off of the screen where we can. That's what for mental and physical health went over stretches, eyestrain drills. And then of course, what they were really interested in was the individual gains, giving them concrete ways to improve at those games, you know, not just playing for fun, which is I think, everyone in esports fear was students is are they sitting around just playing video games? So the session was focused on No, we're not, this is how to take that time that you're playing, and get the most out of it to improve with an esport mentality instead of a gaming mentality. So really engaging, the students loved it again, the students really wanted to know more drills, all the questions were okay, well, this game I play this, how do I do this? Okay. And then the first half, and all the adults and advisors want to know, how do we prevent our students from burning out? How do we make sure we have the right equipment? What type of damage can they do carpal tunnel obviously, is a big one retinal tear raishin. So we kind of had, it was nice having both ends of it. So I got to explore both the physical and mental health as well as do my favorite thing, which is coaching and actually working with students directly at that time to help them improve.

 

Jessica  06:17

That's excellent. I liked the premise of your session, because there is the whole child that's involved in this. So just like sports that are physical stretching, making sure that your body is in the condition thinking about your mental health as well, which you mentioned. That is excellent eyestrain very, very important. I know I'm experiencing some of that. So I might get some tips from you how to combat that. But great feedback from your session and just really thankful that you were there to help support the kids with that and give them some of those tips.

 

Jacob  06:54

Glad there was positive feedback on it too, but always makes you feel validated. And I love that.

 

Shima  06:58

Jacob Do you? Do you feel that there was a reaction from the crowd in the sense that I didn't know that exercise and stretching and these types of things or nutrition or even involved with esports? Did you get those types of things from parents or educators or anything like that?

 

Jacob  07:12

Yeah, actually, I love that you brought up nutrition that's the big one actually brought out how the current supplements we have in the gaming industry in our ug fuels, you know, copious caffeine intake, sugar intake, really their scientific backing to that lowers your reaction time and increases anxiety, which lowers reaction time and muscle reaction, and win over how proper diet nutrition actually increases your reaction time. In particular, if you look at most fight game players, professionals, when they're on stage, they're not drinking G Fuel, eat a banana in between sets of potassium, clean sugars. So that was the biggest reaction think I told everyone okay, take your eyes off the screen. I showed him the drills you do to refresh. not engaged. I told them Hey, don't drink G Fuel eat a banana. Then all sudden, they're all looking and listening. And I can't explain the science behind that. So I love that you brought that up. Yes. The nutrition one. Even the students were like, Wait, why? And they're all you know, you see the kids will tap in their friends like oh, we've been bananas. It's always a good feeling.

 

Shima  08:05

Excellent. I'm so glad you brought that up. It's an important thing message to get out there.

 

Jessica  08:10

And Shima with your with your session. Yeah, video games in class. Yeah, that's such a cool title.

 

08:17

Yes, it really does. It is a question that when you pose it people are like what No, that's not a thing for real. You know, one thing I'm you know, this Jessica about me, I've been I've been a teacher for over 18 years. Actually got my starts right here in Southern California. But now I live in Colorado. And so the back half of my teaching career was as a CTE teacher. So I was the tech guy, the tech teacher, the one that taught all the general computing classes and coding and graphic design and video editing, and all those those courses. So, you know, bringing in video games to my classes, for me, was a solution to address engagement. I had a lot of kids that liked video games, it was just a very, very common subject to them. 97% of teenagers play video games, okay, in some form or another. So when you know that about that, that that demographic, you want to say how can I tap into that let's do something instead of, you know, let's, let's create a video and in practice our video editing skills, it's like, Hey, you guys are going to cut a trailer for either Sony or Microsoft or for Nintendo. You choose the company, okay, and your job is to promote the holiday lineup of games. Alright, and to make your company look like I'm going to buy that console. Now you've given them a challenge they know these games I'm gonna feature this game I'm gonna teach you this game and and and I go you're gonna have to explain the the science or the logic behind why you featured any particular game okay or why you did certain cuts or different things like that. What demographic were you trying to reach out to all of those things. So, very leveled methods to you know how I think those kids employ those critical thinking skills and being able to collaborate with their team to because it wasn't just an individual product or a project, they had to work together with their, with their, with their team, again, essentially a marketing team. All right. So now they're into it, because it's not about like, Oh, what are we going to do it on? You know, I don't know, do you want to do this? No, I don't want to do that. So you just say what it is. And then you give them some some parameters around there. And then like, all this is going to be so fun. And then, of course, when everyone's showing their trailers, it's really exciting to everybody. Because, you know, they know that content. It's not something that's like, what is that or this isn't anything I'm interested in. Like, I really like that. And some are more funny, some are more serious, all of that. So when I talk about, you know, bringing video games into the classroom, it's something that you know, now at working for generation esports. This is what I do day in and day out as I help districts take this amazing engaging subject that for decades as educators and we all know this, probably listening right now, video games was the enemy. Know, what we remember, we can have this at school is too distracting, they need to be doing their math. And that's yes, they need to be doing their math, and I don't mean just distracting thing. But if video games is that piece that recharges kids during school, okay? Well, you know, when I was talking about all you know, kids need to have a brain break. You know, mental health is so important to us right now coming out of the pandemic. And it's like it this is a period during the day where kids can learn transferable skills that they can take into many CTE pathways, whether it's Arts, Media Entertainment, whether it's to supplement their coding or robotics class, I'm all it's up there doing something fun that they can collaborate with, and build that camaraderie and that excitement for that one period of the day. And then they can go to their math class, or their science class or their history class feeling recharged and refreshed, because they got that moment. So it's twofold. They're learning the academic skills, and they're also getting that time together, where they can connect with other students in a way that maybe they they would have never gotten to during the school day. And, you know, we all know that as educators is how can we make our kids feel more like they're in a community, and not just this cold, dry educational institution, you know what I mean? That it's, it can be just as educational, and also be fun and legitimize your interests and the things that you'd like to do. And when you get that buy in from the students, everything comes up academically across the board, okay, because the kids recognize you're legitimizing my interest, I can now get behind what, what, what the school is all about. And I also have school pride now, too, because it's like, yeah, now we have a team that's around something I like to do. And it just bridges that over there. So that's where esports is really becoming a really nice fit for the CTE pathways in high school and for STEM and CTE electives, even in middle school, too, as well. So yeah, 

 

Sharisa  12:53

I love that I'll say even as an adult, who I'm not an avid gamer, but I do take time to break and play Tetris or something. And but I love the fact that their strategy there and it gives me just like, even this weekend, I needed to take a break, I was helping out with a different event that was going on. And I took 20 minutes to play Tetris, I brought my switch with me. And I was like you know what, I just need a brain break. And I'm gonna play blue blue today because it's cute. And, you know, it's an, you know, I'm an adult doing this. I have kids and I will a kid and a husband But I needed that mental, like, just step away from everything, step into a game for a little bit, and then get back into what I was doing. You know, so thank you for pointing out that out. That's like, yeah, the mental break is super important. And kids need to know that we're on board with it. And you know, our teachers are listening our schools listening. Yes. And for me, that was a big thing. And Jessica can probably tell you I was an art like throughout school, I needed art. So in there, like no more art classes because math and you need math, language arts and blah, blah, blah, I It broke my heart. I needed art and music. And then my gaming on the side. Because who didn't live life with, you know, with without Guitar Hero or DJ hero. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. That's super important.

 

Jessica  14:15

Yes, I like how practical. You made it to bring video games into class, just like your session says Video Games in class. It's a question. And you have given ways to answer that question like project based learning. Having them create that trailer. That's a project that they're working together to create. And then you're giving them the four C's. They're communicating and collaborating, create their critical thinking and they're being creative. And as educators we're preparing students for jobs in the future that we don't know that will yet exist. And so working on the soft skills, and the collaboration is very important. And so I just that example that you gave up the trailer project is very applicable. And I could see that middle school or high school, you know, adapting for the grade level of students. So that's excellent.

 

Shima  15:11

And as esports grows within the Scholastic space, that question has a different meaning for all the different characters in this in this play of esports going on. So the parents are thinking, you know, video games and esports? Like, is this something that the school is behind? And should I get behind it? Because my kid spends time at home and I and I am nervous about encouraging that because I don't want to give them an excuse to want to play fortnight more, right? So there's their that's their concern. The educators we want to know, like, is this is their educational legitimacy here? All right. And then for the kids, they don't even know that this is even a possibility for them. Because they've been told so long, that's like, put that game away, put that game away. And like, Wait, we can actually have classes in this. Or it's essentially the esports version of a PE class. You know, no one argues about PE classes. Oh, yeah, average class PE classes. Well, what is PE class really is a chance for kids to be able to play together to move, collaborate. But more importantly, it's kind of a recruiting ground for traditional sports. Okay, because the PE coach, today we're going to teach you how to do a proper layup, or today we're going to work on work on passing game, and they're learning these skills in class. And then they go and apply it to you know, there's more or maybe not, they just do that. And that's good enough for them. Well, what do we have for the Esports players? The ones that aren't interested in those traditional sports? What do we have for them to legitimize the things that they like to do? And that's a very wide range of students, and even ones that may not even be able to physically play traditional sports? What do we have for them to give them that same experience?

 

Sharisa  16:42

So very good point. 

 

Jacob  16:44

So I like that you kind of touched on the ones that a lot of students that are really into the games and want this, they've been kind of pushed away, they say, No, you can't be doing that. You need to be focused on your homework, you need to be going out and go outside and play. And those are all things we need. But because of that negative stigma behind games, they've kind of been shunned so that when you start embracing it, the students feel seen and validated, like, Wait, that thing I've been told forever, I can't do, you're allowing me to embrace it and be that and they'll suddenly start making connections with their peers or finding cohorts that have the same interest. I was just at a college recruiting fair. And one of the students I recruited to come to U of R came up and said, Hi, I'm talking to him. He's a top 1% for Street Fighter five, another student comes up. Hey, university of Redlands plays esports I'm interested, I play Street Fighter and like, that's awesome. You know, Derek, right. Here's super high rank. He looks he's like, Derek. Oh, my God. Hi, Derek. I know, they were in the same classes all through school seniors had no idea that they both had the shared interest. And it took one moment, one tiny moment fleeting moment of 10 seconds of them at the same table, we can connect these people as Shima said, we have 97% of current teenagers play video games. Most of them don't know this about each other, you don't know what games they play, all they know is the big one. So having this opportunity for them to explore if a student is you know, promoting Xbox, he's gonna be promoting Xbox games, you'll be prone to X Box games, all of a sudden, someone's like, Oh, I didn't know Sally plays that I play that, right. So they make that connection. And a lot of the students really in the games kind of need that because of how we've, you know, stigmatized gaming, currently. And I think both in the middle schools and high schools are making such great strides to kind of combat that. And we're seeing such a growth, partly thanks to COVID. But yeah, I don't want to thank COVID for anything, yeah. They kind of help everyone to realize that this is something bigger, and I love that you touch on that, like your experience as an educator to to make those connections. And I really enjoy that.

 

18:32

Yeah, those those moments too, with parents, like, you know, it's so many parent conferences, right, because we have our parent conferences, and the parents come in, of course, you talk about how they're going, how's my kid doing class editor, and it would always really just hit my heart so, so hard when a parent would say, Hey, Mr. Shima, I also wanted to just tell you, thank you for doing your esports program. Like, that's, that's all my kid talks about. It's what gets them to school. They're like, I gotta get to school, because I have to be there on time. So I can, you know, be qualified for the team. And I can make sure that I'm there for practice. And that kid now has a have to their why to get to school. And so the parents grateful, just like thank you for doing that. Because if that wasn't there, I guarantee my kid would not want to come to school, there wouldn't be anything for them. And how many of those kids are just ghosts walking around our campuses that we don't, we don't think about how can we get this kid plugged in? And the answer staring at us right in the face and has been for years. And now schools are finally starting to to understand that and it's great for those kids. It's so wonderful to see it. So

 

Jessica  19:35

video, video games have been communities within themselves. And as educators, I don't think we've really realized that or explored it previously. And now to be able to bring Esports to middle school and high school is where we can cultivate that and create teams and help people find their their peers that also have these interests. And so that's why It's so wonderful for both of you to be supporting esports and helping us to grow within San Bernardino County Shima with generation esports and the high school Esports League, and then Jacob with you of our bringing the new arena that's going to be opening soon at University of Redlands. So we're really excited to have these gaming opportunities in San Bernardino County and to continue to grow it. And if you'd like to check out the resources that they put into our wakelet You can go to bit.ly\esportsResources23 the EA and EA Sports is capitalized and the R in resources is capitalized.

 

Shima  20:45

Yes.

 

Sharisa  20:46

Thank you. So next question Shima. This one's for you actually, it's really particular to the work that you do with generation esports. And I know you're brushed on this a little bit about the CTE connection. But can you delve a little bit deeper about the connection between CTE and esports?

 

21:05

Absolutely. So when you're talking about CTE skills, and for those you that, you know, maybe just tuning in No, no, CTE is career and technical education. Okay, so these are those skills, that you're going to take in different career pathways, whether you're going into business management, or you're going into advertising and marketing, whether you're going into production, all of these different pathways can all stem from different places. So in these skills, you know, are essential in a lot of, you know, pathways in that sense, but how do you introduce those to the, to the kids, where it gives it some weight, some value where they can connect with it, right? And that can sometimes be, you know, a challenge, you know, when you're talking about, hey, we're going to talk about advertising. And for a lot of kids who are just going to tune out or just like I advertising that sounds boys like billboards, whatever, you know. But when you can bring in a subject matter that they're excited about where they tie it into, and you can show them examples. Okay, whether it's, you know, a black friday ad in a magazine or a mailer, of a social media ad is what they're going to mostly connect with things, you know, that they would see there on, you know, Instagram or Tiktok. That and then they go, Oh, that's advertising. Yeah, that is all advertising. It's done very creatively. Alright, but now you're starting to open up their space. They're thinking and going, Oh, that that is fun. Yeah. How do they do that? And what is the psychology that goes on behind that? And when you start pulling back the curtain, okay, like, what was the color palette that was used? And why were those colors chosen? There's a psychology there. And I've found with my graphic design students in that areas, once you once you show them those, those psychological elements to color and typography and whatnot, they can't unsee it. And now they'll go through the rest of it. I've had kids joke with me, they're like, dang it, Mr. Shiva, like, I can't look at an ad differently. I'm like critiquing it. I know what they're trying to do. And then it's like, Yes, this is what's going on all around us. But you know, you start with things that are really interesting to them. Alright, so what are those things that are interesting to teenagers that has the broadest reach Youtube, Instagram? Yes, as far as platforms go, but we're talking about subject matter now. Okay, so this is where your statistic Jacob, that you brought up the 97% of kids play video games, that's an easy to go to. Okay. I mean, obviously, anything that is entertainment based is gonna, you know, music, movies, and TV, those are all great subject matters. But video games is very fun. It's very accessible, even all the way down to middle school. You know, sometimes when you get into TV and movies, it's like, Ooh, okay, what are we talking about that might be appropriate, you know, you're gonna want to keep that. And we always have to run things through that filter. But for video games, there's a lot broader content there. So whether you're talking about advertising and marketing, okay, that's an easy thing. You're talking about, you know, promoting these games, and whether it's advocating for a particular game or a game company. It's also advocating for Esports events, okay? If so, those kids that might want to get into event planning, okay, or MIT team management, you know, to be able to organize an Esports event, Jessica, you know, there's a lot of moving parts to make an event successful in which you did really, really well for San Bernardino is inaugural event, like I was just telling you before the show, like solid, solid, so many things were well thought out and well planned. And that just makes it a great experience for everyone who attends. But kids need to know that those things don't just happen, you know, organically, somebody makes those things happen. So given those opportunities in class to plan an Esports event, okay? When you're talking about the production side, okay? You're, whether it's cybersecurity piece, the actual networking of the computers, whether it's the cameras and the transitions, who's the the shoutcasters, who's the play by play person versus the color commentary, and knowing those roles, and teaching kids how to be on camera and how to present get themselves into engage in audience. Could you imagine if we had these classes before the pandemic, all the teachers that are on that listening to this right now you, you know, when you first popped up in your first zoom call with your class, and the kids are on camera, they've never been on camera before like that they didn't know how to act in their hoods, pull down the camera pointed up their nose. I mean, it was it was just like, you know, they didn't know how to project into the microphone, all those things to being aware of, you know, when you're on a video call, we could have taught that in a class like that, where it's teaching, hey, we're gonna teach how to do an Esports broadcast, okay, and then teaching them how to be on camera and how to connect them your audiences in the lens. All right, it's different. But you can still teach them those same skills. Those are those examples of some connections there. Okay. The other little piece that I'll also put in there too, as well, for those educators that are out there that are teaching classes, like computer science, or robotics, or graphic design is, you know, this already, because I know this from my students, too, as well. Students, regardless of the subject matter, do have a finite amount of attention span for certain things, okay. And they start to feel like, well, what else are we going to do? Can we do something different, right, and so esports, and esports education, where you're learning these different types of skills through esports can help supplement any of those classes, okay. And I always like to tell teachers, you know, we're, this really is great, if you don't, if you don't have time to dedicate an entire class to esports, which is the ideal and where it's all going, take your last quarter, or your last trimester of your coding class, okay, and say, Hey, we're gonna, we're going to navigate a little bit away from coding, and we're gonna start to see where this all goes. And we're gonna explore in a particular industry, so we all know, kids start to get a little burnt there, that last part of the school year, and they're like, you know, like, oh, I want to do something. Gotta get them across the finish line, right by the end of the school year. And esports could be that, like, Oh, this is going to be fun. And it will be very fun to play the games in class too, as well. That's great. And there's not a bait and switch there. It's not like, Hey, we're going to do a thing on esports oh, we're gonna get to play games? Well, no, we're only gonna talk about them. In theory, well, boo. No, no, we actually get to get to do that we'll be able to look at those the game design principles that were employed in these particular titles, or what was the color palette that was used in this particular game? Or how they advertise it? Or maybe if you had to plan an Esports event around this title? What would that look like? Okay, if you had to write a game review, it's practice or journalism skills. Okay, what do we like most about this game? What do we like least about this game? How does it compare to other games in the genre, it just goes on and on how you can use these games as the object for them to practice all the skills that they've been learning throughout the year in cross curricular to, you know, which principles love that you're going to bring in writing skills. You can bring in math skills, or science skills, physics, yes, yes, yes. So it really can be a wonderful package in that sense to supplement that and make something really exciting for the kids. Oh, yeah.

 

27:46

No, it's interesting. A lot of you talks like, hey, we could be doing this, we will be doing this. Ultimately, at least at the collegiate level. We are already doing Yes. So no shout from the first esport higher education Javis and certainly a College up in Washington State Community College. Wade Fisher did media production there he did sports commentary, baseball, football, basketball, he also ran radio production. He was one of the first identify that the first year I was there, he comes up to me say, Hey, Jacob, can you come in? And for a month of my class or two weeks in my class, when we're doing our sports commentary? Can you do esports commentary to come in, as you know, to talk just about that, and exactly what Shima was saying. We have, especially in esports, actually three different commentary roles. We have analysts we have play by play. And then analysts, play by play in the hype man hypes everything, we also live esports events. So usually, it's two commentators, one takes two of the roles, and then one takes one of the roles. So we actually go through the science with the students and all sudden getting those students that were just taking that class as an elective to fill their elective requirement. Like, wait, I like games, wait, I can do that. Instead of me doing my assignment where I have to commentate the basketball game, I could go common, or esports game and teach them the production side of things, right? All the hardware, all the software, you know, in college really is more taking those CTE. So the high school students have developed, finding the ones that most interests them, and then leading them to the career. So that's kind of a pathway up. So they develop those skills, just as we were talking about with the PE physical education. So they learn these little things. And then if they have the interest when they go to college is when they get explore those interest deeply and find the careers that they can connect with that. And that's what we do. And I think my favorite part of that is the event organizing, I get my students all the time, hey, can we host this? Can we do this? Yeah, when you want to do it on like two weeks? No. Plan, then you actually do it official with them, you break down, Hey, these are the vendors we got to this, how we communicate these we need to pause this for and you teach them all these skills. And these are skills for some reason, they're expected to know when they jump into the real world. It blows my mind. So both of the high school and college level, we're already starting to do that. And I wish and I think we all wish and we will get there to be more involved as high schools actually have those official coursework classes where students can explore those interests and actually develop the skills for something practical, you know, even the advertising and marketing Most universities that reach out to me about help for doing classes building coursework, they either are working on higher ed's representation in video games, or how to monetize and advertise your content for content creators. Right. And that is the most difficult skill. I see excellent potential content creators, streamers, Instagramers, putting out content, but they don't know how to market and more importantly, how to monetize their work. Those are all skills that you can practically develop at any level, you know, high school Esports teams, they have Instagrams, why don't we have our students run those projects? Those are things like that. But ultimately, when I get reached out to by colleges, in particular, for coursework advice, it's almost always on those how to monetize how to advertise. And then how more advanced is that? How hire, it's being represented in video games, but that's a whole nother podcast.

 

Jessica  30:45

Okay, we're gonna we're gonna invite you back for that one. I'm interested. Well, I love the connection with the different CTE pathways. Shima you hit on a lot. There's the 15 pathways, and I think he maybe mentioned like, 14, maybe all 15 in your examples. So I greatly appreciate that connection to esports and college, Career, Technical Education, and then Jacob how you were able to bring in what college is doing, and I wanted to ask about U of R in particular, how University of Redlands is working with schools within San Bernardino County to create that awareness of esports and college opportunities.

 

Jacob  31:29

Yeah, absolutely. So shameless plug University of Redlands, we launched our esports program next fall, so we haven't quite launched it yet. I was hired on last August to build up the program. We're currently building our $2 million esport facility will be complete over the summer. Oh, yeah, good 32 computers and consoles content creation studio, we have room gonna be about the size of this podcast room great, really structured like this with a full production room set up in their competition stage, lounge areas, coach, film, Review Office, everything you can imagine. So a lot of what we're trying to do right now with our high schools is, you know, show them that pathway that they need, as well as me as an individual providing resources and support. So actually what SBCSS is trying to do with our high school, show them, hey, we know you don't know where to start, this is where to start, oh, you have started, you don't know how to better engage your students. Here's some resources and connect. So right now a lot of what I've been doing is kind of mixed between recruiting and then just supporting the high schools, the better the high schools do with their Esports. The more structure the more students I have involved, the easier my job gets. So I'm doing a long term investment in our high schools where I go to every single one that will have me It turns out to be just about all of them. Go in and talk Hey, how can I with my 10 years experience in this industry help you do not know where to start? This is where to start? This is your contact? This is the equipment you need? This is how to engage your students. These are the leads you can do we have generation esports and high school Esports League we have players native, we have all these, show them everything they have, get them involved, just kind of guide them, you know, we never want to provide recommendations necessarily, but show them what's out there. And then the most common question I have is, from someone who started the program, a year in, I do a visit, they see me work with their students for just a few minutes. And they're like, Oh, I've been doing this wrong. They just have their students doing exactly what I said, we all fear their students are sitting there playing video games, biggest fear that everyone has in these and they say, Well, this guy is showing us that's not how we engage the students. And I show them that content side, the engagement side, finding those students and giving them something bigger that they can be a part of. So a lot of my work is going to those high schools and showing them what they need to do if they're willing to have me and then show him an opportunity. The other thing is with parents in particular, you mentioned the word scholarship. And all of a sudden, they listen. Right? I have so many students gonna be Hall and my mom's she I told her about this, she doesn't want me to do it. They don't think it's a thing. I'm like, Oh, let me call your mom. Right right there on the spot. We'll set up a meeting. And that's kind of a lot of what we do to make that connection into the collegiate area for esports. Also, we don't just recruit for games, right? As far as our teams go. At the four year level, especially some of these teams are just ridiculously good. I mean up for those, you know, Rocket League, I think some of the top schools out there have three SSL's. That stands for supersonic legend. It's basically top point 1% In the game, I got three of these players like pro level players, I'm not going to beat those teams. That's okay, so I'm gonna find the students I can engage best. We also have like a speed running team, a content creation team. I have on student managers, one of my recruits is a Hunsicker scholar means he's getting full coverage for not just as GPA in academics, but his community service. He's coming in not as a player at all, but he started his esports team at his high school. He manages all three rosters. So I'm going to bring him in on scholarship to manage my teams, you know, giving him that experience. He's going to be the direct connection between the players and the coach, making sure they're on schedule on time coordinating with the other team that matches if there's delays, working with our content creation team, making sure we have the player interviews scheduled These are all those practical skills the student can learn. And then when he graduates and I guarantee he's gonna graduate flying colors, he's gonna go out and pick any job he wants, he can walk into right headquarters and be like, Hey, this is my, here's my portfolio, these are all the programs, I ran all the streams, I've done all the content creation all my hours in the booth, and he's gonna get a job like without even without even a fight. It's kind of one of those yes, those practical skills and industry he wants to do. Yeah,

 

Shima  35:25

So glad you said that. I tell clients all the time that it's not when we talked about scholarships. And I was, I always make a point that it's, it's not just about them, recruiting good players. That's part of it. Of course, every college wants to have good players on their team. But if I go, but they need students to help build their entire esports program from the production side, or the management side, or all that stuff. So you and I did not rehearse this. But the fact that you said that just validated all of those things that a lot of times I tell clients, I was so happy to hear that. And that's wonderful to hear that the kids are, even if they're not the best Rocket League player out there, that they can still work in this industry. And there's a place for them to do have a really, really fun, fun career in video games, but not necessarily holding the controller. So

 

36:08

yeah, absolutely. And you know, it comes down to we all know, most of us, you know, esport athletes peak significantly young, right, our peak age is between 15 and 18 years old. At that point, your reaction time naturally starts slipping, being very difficult. Most professionals do burnout around 20, 23, 24. Because of that, if you want to have a passion for this gaming and esports, I think it's our educators job in both high school and college, to embrace that, show them what they can do with that and show them Hey, even if you can't go pro, these are the careers you can do this, we can actually do with this and follow something you know, I haven't had to work. So it's I haven't worked a real job in like 10 years. It's been all in video games and esports. And I absolutely love it's difficult. I'm not just sitting there playing games, having fun. But those hard days, those difficult stretches that we all have, it's so much easier, like even this week is incredibly busy. For me, it's a lot of stress. I can right now talk about video games. Yep, that's what I'm doing right now. So we've been on these difficult weeks, it's, it's very rewarding, very satisfying, validating and be able to offer that opportunity for students is everything. If you have a passion for this, you can find a career in it some way, shape or form, you do not have to be a pro player to have a career in esports.

 

Sharisa  37:17

Thank you so much. As you're both speaking, I heard recruiting a few times. And that actually leads into our next question. So can you tell our listeners how they can get involved with generation esports and our high school Esports League? And you know, just considering how to bring those students in. But I was also thinking even the other educators you work with and or administrators, you know, how do you? How do you bring them into the scene? Because I would imagine there's probably, you know, a little bit of fighting there, like, Are you sure we want to do this?

 

Shima  37:51

Well, I mean, yeah, there's there's definitely that that old guard that is just like, you know, you know, has never ever considered esports as something that they can legitimately bring on the campus. I mean, if many of them right, maybe for years have been actively actively working against that. So to be able to change gears, all of a sudden, like, wait, no, this is good. Now, you know, that can be quite shocking, sometimes to educators. But look, what I can tell them is, you know, if you're considering bringing on an Esports program, you want to make sure that you do it, right. And that you want to make sure that you're covering both sides of the spectrum, the competitive side with your teams, that's where generation esports comes in to provide an awesome, the best, okay, and as a teacher, I can tell you, that's the reason why I had my team play with them. experience for your competitive players and for your coaches, that has good gaming, you know, Library of titles that they compete in, that they their, their experience with actually getting their matchmaking with against our schools is seamless. It's an organization that puts the kids on a national stage. So they're going to get that exposure when they go to the nationals the universities want to know who won your nationals generation esports because we want to, we want to talk to those kids. You know, yes, I'm a big fan of state leagues, and I'm a big fan for of interdistrict leagues too. I think those are great. But for kids to be able to play on a national stage with generation esports and earn, they were giving away 100,000 in scholarships for our nationals this week is happening this week. Okay, so those those kids are just getting scholarships just through us on that part. Okay, not to even mention the offerings that you're gonna get from places like University of Redlands, every good Rocket League players, we're gonna talk to those kids. So there's that competitive side, the other side is the education side. Okay. And being able to have something that brings that that foundation to your esports program, or if somebody walks into, whether it's an after school program, or whether it's an elective class or a CTE class that can say what is this video game thing or whether kids just come in here and play video games they do that at home? What's the next Oh no, we have a full CTE a in California A through G approved curriculum, it's called gaming concepts, it's through through a generation esports. It's all been, you know, vetted, and, you know, data driven, all of that stuff that that things is the what they want to see stem accredited everything, it checks all of those boxes. So it feels really good to be able to say, this is what we have in here, the skills that the kids are learning, all right, and they're learning those soft skills to about responsibility and collaboration and teamwork, and good communication skills, that they're going to take in all different types of career pathways. And then they go, Oh, that I didn't know that, oh, that's really cool. You know, and that's, that's really what you want for your esports program. That way, any initial scrutiny that you might get by bringing video games on your school campus, you have the something to stand on, okay, because we all know, Jacob, and I know, okay, that, that if you just let it play out, you're going to see all of those awesome student outcomes that we want to see come out of any programming that we bring into school, you're going to see that happen. Alright, but initially, it's nice to see like, this is what we all have, okay. And everyone's okay, this is cool, you got all your bases covered. Alright, let's give this a shot. And we know that it's going to be successful for those kids. And it's going to continue to grow to the point where we're like, Oh, my goodness, we have to add more classes. These kids want to take this class. And I hear those stories from from principals and educators. Again, we thought we were just going to offer one class, but it was our most popular elective that the kids are excited, like, what did we get to do next year, we have to expand this thing out. And they haven't seen excitement like that on their campus about a class that was offered. And then of course catalog since they made I remember the last time that was all right, and here it is. And so that's really exciting. So generation esports can be that we have a lot of educators working for our company, we see value in our educators, you know, I'm one of them. I love how the company treats me, they really are asking, you know, what is going to be the best not only for the students, but more importantly for the schools, how can we meet their needs? Whether how do we address chronic absenteeism? How do we deal with student mental health? Okay, how do we deal with academic motivation? How can esports be that for them? Because we know that it is, but how can we show them that? And so, you know, to be able to speak into that and saying, Look, this is going to address that I saw it with my own kids, you know, the, the dividing lines between students dropped in esports. You know, you got kids from all different types of backgrounds, all different kinds of segments in the school all just playing together and having a great time. There's no walls there. And that's awesome. You don't make that happen. It just happens. And that's awesome to see. And then on the education side, when you validate kids interests, the mental health that addresses that feeling of there's a community here, they see me like Jacob was saying earlier, they see me, okay, and the other kids all see each other and like you like that, too. I sort of Hi, and boom, now the bond start to happen. And now they feel like, Hey, I have a reason to come to school. And that makes a big difference when the kids have a reason to come to school. Absolutely. So definitely reach out to me, I love having those conversations with educators. I know I know what those are, what the challenges are, and esports can be that.

 

Jacob  38:17

 I can touch a little bit on the buy in aspect you were talking about. You get other faculty involved. Too little anecdotes on that one. We actually have a at university Redlands Johnson programs is actually a separate school where students get to come in and build their own curriculum. One of our graduates from there, my name is dharma Hall. She was actually on the hiring committee for my position. Huge esport fan she planned a Mario movie Mario Party. So for the Super Mario movies, we ran out of theater that was all her that kind of plan that well, first year, she actually got to teach a class on campus. Her class was video game history. As far as my knowledge goes, it's the first time we've ever had a non core class have a waitlist. She had people auditing the class, she didn't have enough seats. It couldn't fit anyone in the room. It was a fire hazard. It was crazy. And all it was one student and her first time ever running a coursework. It was video game history. Well, it's actually video game history and the world. So it's kind of how the video game history relates to the world and all that and it was incredibly successful. I also want to note since we mentioned the recruiting aspect, I think everyone that is kind of against this, it doesn't fully understand it. Everyone always wants to lump esports in with the STEM fields and those careers. Have we mentioned any career that's directly related to directly related in the STEM fields here. We haven't talked about engineering, I'm talking about programming. Pretty much the closest thing nice words might be 3d design and UI design. Our careers are event organizing, production, right sound Video, Audio texts, even be able to run these podcasts, right? That's all the crews we do that aren't necessarily tied into what we picture in the samples or sciences or mass to get by. And sometimes we can show that we aren't just targeting this small demographic of what our stakeholders normally see as gamers. They see gamers like all the negative stereotypes we have and that's what they picture. Greasy little typically white man, young boy doing that that's what they picture that's not our audience, not a demographic. And by expanding them out and showing them all the possibilities for the careers and skills and esports that aren't just sitting there programming, making games, it kind of gets that buy in. I think that's the best advice I've had to high schools to try to get more buy in. We aren't just gonna be training programmers. And that is the number one thing I hear all the time it blows my mind. It's like if they don't then research esports say, I've been in esports. Forever. I stopped programming my freshman year of high school, I don't know how to program anymore.

 

Shima  45:30

Chat GPT will do for that.

 

Jacob  45:34

Topic. What about taken over my coaching,

 

Jessica  45:39

never replaced.

 

Jacob  45:41

I'm a proponent for AI, I don't know. But I'd love that that waitlist for a video game history class account, its core account of where history class and everything. And as far as I know, we haven't had weightless class. And that was a student had the idea ran up for her degree. And now I think they're going to have to have it every year because it was most popular class. It was amazing.

 

Jessica  46:01

And that brings up also just exposure, like, do we have equitable chances for students to be exposed to these types of programs and content? So Jacob, you brought up kind of the stereotype of a gamer? Well, she might you also brought up like, you know, kids from all different identities and cultures, enjoy esports and video games as well. So if we offer this in our schools and have classes or after school programs, we're going to see the different caliber of students who are interested in this, we had a pop up tournament out of middle school, and I had a group of girls that were super excited. And I loved it, because they had that space to be able to game and to be female gamers and to compete against their their peers. And it was it was incredible. And also at our symposium on Saturday, we saw all kinds of students who loved video games. And it's it's amazing when you have those experiences and opportunities, the students that respond,

 

Shima  47:10

yeah, it gives an opportunity to really build that that confidence and self esteem with the kids too, as well. I had my one of my favorite stories that I had with my own students. I had a young girl came in as a freshman, and moved new to the area. So she didn't have a lot of friends. I won't use her name alcohol her I'll call her Alice. Okay, so as I remember, she came real Shy. And she knew that I was doing an Esports program after school. And she came in like, Mr. Shima. Can Can I Can I come in come to your esports thing, too. I'm like, yeah, what team do you want to play on? What are you interested in? And she's like, Oh, no, I don't want to play on a team. I just want to come in and play games with the other kids. And I said, Well, sure. Come on in. And so that was year one, so she'd play it and other kids would see you're playing she was she loved playing Widowmaker and in in Overwatch, and some of the other kids like, hey, come play with us. You know, just jump in again. We need it. We need a person. So Oh, is that okay? Yeah. Okay, so they start incorporator. So by the time she was sophomore, she was like, she might think I think I want to play on the team. Okay, okay, cool. That's great. That's great. Yeah, absolutely. And then by junior year, she's like, Mr. Shima. I want to be on the varsity team. And I'm checking with all that she's like, Yeah, yeah, we need her what she's really good. By the time she was a senior, she came straightening my room beginning of the school year, Mr. Shima I want to let you know, I'm the captain of the Overwatch team, just letting you know. Again, I'm like, what a transformation. And she had the respect of every guy in that room. And boys, she ran a tight ship to man, it was just like, she would make a call and then yeah, go go go wherever she and she just really won them over and that she would have never, never had another opportunity at that school if it wasn't for that program. And those are the types of stories you hear all the time at schools for those kids are getting an opportunity to really rise up, okay, in a space that they feel comfortable with, and really show the talents that they have and whether they would have never gotten if they didn't have that program there. So yeah, I think we want those things at our school don't we.

 

Sharisa  49:09

Yes. All right. Oh, my goodness. Sorry. I was just in another world right now thinking about? What if I had esports as a kid, and I'm totally that one that wants to game alone. I'm like, leave me alone. Let me play overcooked. That's my game of choice. Oh my gosh, yes. I'm just mad. I don't know. Like, if I had that though, I wonder if I would have joined the league and like, you know, been on a team and I wonder how much I would have grown if I was given the opportunity. Thank you so much for sharing this valuable information with us again, it's been a pleasure having you both here. And I just want to shout out Jessica. She has been working so hard on our first symposium here for San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools. So Jessica, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. You know, with all the moving pieces of our symposium. It's the very first one, as I mentioned that ever happened, and I heard it was a hit. So thank you. And she's still working hard. As I mentioned earlier, she came in this morning and was like, I'm still going through, so it's not done yet.

 

Jessica  50:14

Well, thank you, Sharisa . I appreciate that. And I appreciate the opportunity to work with amazing people who are advocates for Esports for all the right reasons. And so being able to represent esports through San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools is like a dream job and being able to see the direct effect it has on students, seeing them enjoying the symposium, seeing the parents there with them. My vision was to have parents support their students just like they would if they went to a baseball game, or a dance performance or basketball game. And I really saw that come to light on Saturday, and I really appreciate Jacob and Shima being a part of that experience. So thank you to both of you. You also don't want to miss the opportunity to meet Jacob and Shima on May 11, at our IASEN meeting Ison is the inland area, Scholastic esports network. That is a collaboration between SBCSS and RCOE. It's being held in person at Riverside County Office of Education. You can register@bit.ly\IASEN23 capital I, A, S, E, N 23. All of those letters are capitalized. If you'd like to reach out to Shima or Jacob prior to IASEN, they're going to let you know how you can get in touch with them. Shima we'll start with you.

 

Shima  51:48

Yeah, if you want to reach me and want to talk esports and how that could look at your, at your school, you can go to either generation esports.com. Or if you want to go directly to our league sites, those are the easier ones to get to HSEL, which stands for High School esports league.gg. Or you can go to if you're a middle school teacher educator, MSEL.gg. And you can see a little bit about our leagues for middle school, our partnership with Nintendo, which we didn't get to talk about, which is really, really awesome. I'll definitely fill you in on that. And all three of those sites have information about our full curriculum series called gaming concepts. That's at eight through G approved stem accredited curriculum that you'll want to bring to your school. It's leveled middle school all the way through high school. It's quite fabulous. But yes, and if you book a meeting there, if you're in California, you will get to me and we'll get a chance to talk.

 

Jacob  52:39

I know for me, you know, any resources I can provide high schools, colleges, even students when anything reach out, you can always contact me via email. This is jacob_beach@redlands.edu if you do that, be prepared. I might not even read it. But if you discord me for those of you who have discord, if not, please get on Discord. It's Blitzkrieg 30. But screen just like the German war tactic. So Blitzkrieg30#3764. That's my Discord tag. If you hit me up on Discord, even if it's 130 in the morning, you'll get a response within a couple minutes. So please, Discord me,

 

Sharisa  53:11

Thank you both so much. Again, this conversation has been amazing. I actually have learned so much. And I can't tell you, I've been telling Jessica, over and over, I just need to get on my switch. I don't have time to game that much. But I realized this weekend when I made some time for myself how much I needed it. So thank you for tying in all that critical thinking and you know, the fact that it's part of our social emotional well being for those of us who enjoy gaming, you know, and also bringing parents on board and, and other educators. Thank you for all of that, that spoke to my heart, especially the integration components. I'm all about integrating across subject matter. And you hit the nail on the head with that, for me that was like, Oh, yes, I can't wait till my little one gets older because she's already asking a game. Like your three. I don't know what to put you on yet. But hold off. Don't break my controller. But thank you both, again, so much for being here. We appreciate you. 

 

Shima

You’re welcome. You're welcome.

 

Jacob  54:03

It's great. Of course, any opportunity to kind of share the industry that's done so much for me, I'm always always here for you. So thanks for having us.

 

Sonal  54:13

Join us next time for more bits and bytes of digital learning and computer science. And remember, if you're hungry for more, you can simply text dls news to 22828 or find us on Twitter @SBCSS_edtech