Edtech Solutions
Network Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

K-12 Esports: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and the Resources

Times and dates are displayed based on your device's time zone setting.

Listen and learn : Lecture

Bubba Gaeddert  
Kailey Rhodes  

Esports offer our students the opportunity to belong to a team, perhaps for the first time. So what’s stopping schools? The answer: very legitimate concerns. We'll walk through the strongest pros and cons you'll face, and provide starting points for teachers and schools to mindfully begin their esports journey.

Audience: Coaches, Curriculum/district specialists, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Games for learning & gamification
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Advocate for equitable access to educational technology, digital content and learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of all students.
  • Collaborate and co-learn with students to discover and use new digital resources and diagnose and troubleshoot technology issues.
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

We’ve all heard the reasons folks don’t want to bring esports to their school, and they are valid reasons. And we aren’t here to “win” with brilliant counter-arguments! We’re here to present the pros, the cons, and how to accommodate BOTH realities on your school’s esports team.

We are obviously “pro esports”! We believe esports offer our students the opportunity to belong to a team, perhaps for the first time. Esports teams provide an opportunity for students of all ages, abilities, gender expressions, and backgrounds to come together and learn teamwork, communication, cooperation, encouragement, and accountability.

So what’s stopping schools? The answer: very legitimate concerns. We will walk through the strongest pros and cons to having a team, and provide starting points for teachers and schools to mindfully begin their esports journey.


Introduction (5-10 mins)
- What are Esports? An accessible definition
- Background on esports as an industry and what it looks like in schools
- Audio/Visual aids

The Pros and the Cons of Esports (20 mins)
- What are some main concerns against esports, and why are they valid?
- Why should your school have an esports team anyway?
- Resources to address issues, if and when they arise

Increased student belonging and buy-in
Transforming a solitary activity to a team sport (with all the requirements of a school team, like GPA!)
Cross-curricular connection, like business strategy, physics, and others
STEM / STEAM learning
Career opportunities

Toxicity & Cyberbullying online? Resource!
Violence in games? Resource!
Addiction? Resource!
Screen Time? Resource!
Mental Health? Resource!

Getting Started in Your School (15 mins)
- Overview of recommended resources
- How to talk to parents about esports
- How to set up an interested teacher for success as an esports coach
- How to capitalize on interested students

Questions & Discussion (10 mins)
- What questions are you burning to ask?
- What do you feel you need a resource for? We will look for it!

Closing (5 mins)
- A first step to getting started? Survey your students
- What to watch and follow for ongoing information in the world of esports

Supporting research

White Paper: Leagues of Learning: The Rising Tide of Esports in Education

More [+]


Bubba Gaeddert, Varsity Esports Foundation
Kailey Rhodes, Northwest Academy

As a middle school teacher, Kailey is passionate about pursuing educational solutions that keep students at the forefront of their learning experience. She believes esports are the future, and we only do a disservice to the students we serve by denying an exciting new way for them to belong. Kailey teaches 6th grade mathematics at a nearby arts school, where students spend just as much time in academic subjects as arts classes. Her involvement in Portland's theatre scene permits a deeper level of engagement with students as they explore where these two worlds intersect.

People also viewed

10 Mobile Tools to Support Blended Learning in Your K-12 Setting
15 Strategies to Engage and Motivate Online Learners
Best Tools for Global Collaboration