Esports happens to be a growing industry, with hundreds of millions in viewership and billions generated in revenue. An industry as large as this will certainly have branches in areas that will need help in developing this audience-based sport – marketing, management, sponsorships, education. It is evident that there has been involvement from celebrities and bigger corporations to assist with its growth and development, but the sets of organizations that are also paving lanes with their involvement and support are that of the nonprofits/non-governmental.
This episode has one with the expertise and making significant progress with this: Mr. Gerald Solomon, the executive director for the Network of Academic and Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), who seeks to make impact through esports using evidence and project-based learning techniques to assist in the world of esports.
“...How do we expand the pipeline? How do we reach the kids we really want to reach? The underserved, the disenfranchised, the disengaged, the kids who are not your grade A student, the center on the basketball team, the pitcher on the baseball team, et cetera, and expose them to careers in technology and in STEM education?”
Being asked this by his former boss, Gerald’s journey into nonprofits had begun, with him pursuing esports programs available. He found one and intended for it to have esports as the foundation, but projected as an education program – moving beyond streaming and casting, and into other aspects such as coding, web development, event management, and data analytics amongst the other skills one could acquire should they pursue careers in technology.
The model used by NASEF is using esports to help kids learn through project-based, interest-driven learning methods, and with over 70 countries conducting the program and affiliates in about 32 countries. The curriculum is also 100% free to any school and any student, since they are philanthropically based.
“…All we're asking for is a better society, a better community, an opportunity for kids to thrive and grow.”— Mr. Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, NASEF, USA.
What is interesting to note with NASEF’s methods is the aspect of the use of the gameMinecraftto help restore the public school system of Mexico City during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic affected their public school system terribly, causing drastic changes to their learning, socialization, engagement among other things, but with the involvement of NASEF, there was a competition created – the COVID-19 competition – where communities were created in Minecraft to help identify the challenge with the virus and then find ways to restore the communities.
The virus was created, alongside homes and hospitals where they would want families to be treated at. With adequate research done on the virus, and employing engineering techniques to build the hospitals, the program went on to have about over 3000 people sign up, with support from the State Department and the Department of Agriculture to help expand the program into the aspects of farming. Farming techniques were not only acquired from the learning, but climate, climate change, biochemistry, biotechnology to help local communities through Minecraft in supply of produce while generating revenue from sales.
What makes this great is that all of this is for free — signing up for the program, competitions, and you have the chance to connect with other people to learn from and collaborate with. You can sign up to join the program for freehere.
Esports has helped create jobs for lots of people. Interested in knowing about the business side of esports? Listen to the Gamers Change Lives Podcast! We get experienced guests from all around the world featuring.
Written By Jeffrey Osei-Agyeman