Texas Border Business
EDINBURG, Texas – The Region One ESC Division of Technology Solutions gathered over 100 teachers and school administrators Thursday, Dec. 1 at the Region One ESC Conference Center for the Inaugural eSports Summit, an all-day event dedicated to immersing educators into the fastest growing sport in the country.
Gaming advocate and 2021 Kansas Principal of the Year Dr. Kristen Craft welcomed the audience and explained the vitality of eSports’ role in modern education.
“You have to meet kids where they’re at,” Dr. Craft said. “If you have eSports in some capacity, you just made your teaching more relevant for a kid. When you incorporate eSports into your instruction, you will increase attendance, grades and help kids find a connection to school, so they will feel like they belong and be excited to be part of a team.”
Throughout the event, participants learned about what it takes to create and grow an eSports program at a school campus from trailblazers in the education field.
“This year, I saw an increase in girls joining our eSports program, so learning about player recruitment will hopefully help increase our numbers again,” said Elizabeth Recinos, McAllen ISD Librarian at Sam Houston Elementary. “You definitely see where kids grow their soft skills and become leaders as they come into gaming.”
The Inaugural eSports Summit concluded with a live viewing of a South Texas ISD Science Academy eSports match of Super Smash Bros., featuring play-by-play analysis and shout casting by Science Academy students.
Junior Leo Guajardo triumphed over fellow Junior Larry de Los Santos in an intense best-of-three match and took home a brand-new gaming chair, which will soon be engraved with his name.
“I got a chair, and I can’t wait to sit on it,” Guajardo said. “Winning feels good and nerve-wracking, but even a loss can be fun as long as the game is fun.”
After the match, students from Science Academy held a panel for administrators and teachers seeking to learn more about students’ experiences in eSports programs.
“Personally, I find it really hard to find motivation for school,” de Los Santos said. “The thing with eSports is that it really motivates me because I can’t play if I fail. It helps with grades a lot, and it’s really fun.”
The Region One ESC Division of Technology Solutions strives to provide innovative technical support to all Region One school districts. The division’s Offices of Information Services, Software Development, Instructional Technology and Center for eLearning are dedicating time and effort to improve student achievement and success throughout the entire region. Visit www.esc1.net/technology for more information about the division’s services.