Gaming Concepts: Free High School Curriculum

A free esports curriculum is now available from the High School Esports League (HSEL) to help boost student learning. “Gaming Concepts” was written as turnkey curriculum “that almost anyone with even rudimentary computer skills could teach,” according to authors Kristy Custer and Michael Russell. The project was supported by Microsoft.

The new curriculum includes an overview of esports gaming with full lesson plans, as well as a focus on careers in the gaming field. The content covers learning standards in areas such as maintaining healthy practices, self-management, and interpersonal communications.

The authors have both been involved in HSEL’s after-school esports program and worked with Wichita State University to create the semester-long elective course. According to HSEL, in a pilot program that used the curriculum, students who took the course experienced an average improvement in their grade point averages of 1.4 points and attendance that reached 95 percent.

“Students with chronic absenteeism who do not feel a connection to the school especially benefit from esports,” said Kristy Custer in a statement. “Eighty-two percent of students on our team had never participated in an extra-curricular activity prior to offering esports.”

“We’ve known for a long time that bringing students’ passion for games into a supportive, educational environment can be transformative for kids who otherwise might be disengaged or left behind,” added Mason Mullenioux, co-founder and CEO of HSEL

“Esports has tremendous potential, both to inspire students to learn 21st-century skills and also to include many students who have previously been marginalized with respect to competitive activities,” noted Donald Brinkman, a Microsoft senior program manager in charge of Bing esports and video game experiences. The curriculum guide, he said, was “designed to teach pro-social and pro-academic behaviors that are positively correlated to better academic performance – all through the lens of esports. We are thrilled to support it.”

In April 2019 Microsoft introduced an hour-long online course for educators to help them learn more about esports and how it can be used to teach college and career readiness.

The free “Gaming Concepts” curriculum is openly available as a downloadable PDF file.

Download the free “Gaming Concepts” Curriculum

What types of activities and courses have you used as electives? Leave a comment and we may include yours in a future column!

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  1. So excited that our curriculum could be used by homeschool families! We would love to hear feedback from students and parents who are using the curriculum via the survey in the first lesson.

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