The Esports Playbook: Empowering Every Learner Through Inclusive Gaming

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Location: Room 271-3
Experience live: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package Virtual Lite

Participate and share : Interactive session

Chris Aviles  
Steve Isaacs  
Jesse Lubinsky  

As esports becomes increasingly popular, this session will explore how K-12 can level up. By providing an opportunity for competition and community with a group of students who are typically underrepresented, esports far exceeds just the game by establishing a culture of belonging for students with diverse skill sets.

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Emergent technologies
Grade level: 6-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Citizen Advocate
  • Partner with educators, leaders, students and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Educators:
  • Dedicate planning time to collaborate with colleagues to create authentic learning experiences that leverage technology.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will be able to successfully plan for and drive implementation of an esports program in their own schools/districts.

Participants will be able to identify the key aspects of defining a school culture that respects and embraces esports.

Participants will understand and be able to leverage curricular and standards based connections within esports practices.

Participants will have the hands-on experience of playing an esports game to understand what is involved.


Content and activities: What content will be presented and/or in what activities will the audience participate?
- Introduce esports.
- Explore inclusivity of esports
- Analyze success stories of esports programs.

Time: How much time will be spent on each content component?
- Intro to esports- 30 minute overview of the why and how of esports. Focus will be given to equity issues and highlighting how eschools has not just become the athletics of remote learning but is the first sport to allow every student to compete at a varsity level regardless of athletic ability. This will serve as a means to energize the participants.
- Meet the Athletes- 10 minutes of video clips highlighting interviews with college level esports athletes.
- Reflect and debrief - 20 minutes of reflection of esports experience from both the athlete and the coach perspective. Share and discuss best practices in establishing the creation of a team or club.

Process: Include specifics on the frequency and tactics you plan to use to engage the audience (e.g., peer-to-peer interaction, device-based activities, games or contests, etc.).
- Participants will assume the roles of athletes and coaches in this esports simulation experience whereby they will collaborate and communicate on the topic of esports and the perspectives they gain in the experience.
- There will be a model competition highlighted in the session whereby we will review best practices, tips and sportsmanship as it pertains to esports.

Supporting research

Aviles, Chris, Isaacs, Steve, Lion-Bailey, C., & Lubinsky, J. & Shippee, M. The Esports Education Playbook: Empowering Every Learner Through Inclusive Gaming. 2020. Dave Burgess Press.

Craig G. Anderson, Jennifer Dalsen, Vishesh Kumar, Matthew Berland, Constance Steinkuehler. 2018. Failing up: How Failure in a Game Environment Promotes Learning Through Discourse. Thinking Skills and Creativity. Science Direct.

Dalsen, J., Anderson, C. G., Squire, K. & Steinkuehler, C. (2018) Situating Big Data In M. Young & S. Slota (Eds.), Exploding The Castle: Rethinking How Video Games & Game Mechanics Can Shape The Future Of Education (pp. 216-242). Charlotte, North Carolina. USA.

West, Christopher, A. (2020) E-Sports in Academia: A Comparative Analysis of Secondary and Post-Secondary E-Sports Athletes’ Experiences (ProQuest Number: 28088855) [Doctoral dissertation, Lamar University].

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Chris Aviles, Keyport High School

Chris Aviles is a STEM teacher at Monmouth Beach middle school in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey where he runs the renowned MB Makes program and Dolphins esports team. He is also the founder of Garden State Esports, New Jersey's non-profit scholastic esports organization for students, run by teachers. 

Steve Isaacs, Epic Games

Steve Isaacs is the Education Program Manager at Epic Games. His mission in this role is to support educators and students in exploring career opportunities that leverage interactive 3d skills. Prior to his role at Epic, Steve was a public school teacher for 28 years, teaching game design and development as well as other courses related to creative uses of technology. Steve enjoys spending time with family and friends. His hobbies include video games, biking, snorkeling, hiking and live music.

Jesse Lubinsky, Adobe Inc.

Jesse Lubinsky is an Education Evangelist for Adobe. He is an Adobe Creative Educator, a Google Certified Innovator & Trainer, a CoSN CETL, an adjunct professor of education and technology, and an international keynote speaker. Jesse is co-author of “Reality Bytes: Innovative Learning Using Augmented and Virtual Reality” (January 2020) and "The Esports Education Playbook: Empowering Every Learner Through Inclusive Gaming" (November 2020). He is also co-host of the Partial Credit Podcast and the Ready Learner One Lounge, a virtual reality show focused on innovations in teaching and learning.

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