Most students remember trudging our way through various history and science classes in high school, but what if there had been a video gaming class to take instead? One Ottawa high school is leading the way on that front, offering students a chance to take their first step into the world of competitive video gaming.
The Centre professionel et technique Minto will see 17 students taking a class on esports and how to play video games in a competitive environment. Eugenie Congi, the superintendent of education for the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est told CBC News, "We seize opportunities to enhance the curriculum in developing skills needed in the 21st century, for the fourth industrial revolution."
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Far from just being a class where students can come and play video games with zero supervision, there will actually be more nuance to how the students earn their grade. Not only will students in the course have to engage in physical activity, but they will also learn about healthy sleeping patterns.
The class will also have focus on fighting against addiction to online gaming, which has become a huge issue tied with the proliferation of online gaming. Currently, more research is needed to better identify and treat gaming addiction, but its currently proposed symptoms, according to the American Psychiatric Association, include "preoccupation with gaming," "withdrawal symptoms when gaming is taken away or not possible (sadness, anxiety, irritability)," and "inability to reduce playing, unsuccessful attempts to quit gaming."
Esports have become a lucrative business for both gaming companies and gamers alike. In July 2019, Canadian teenager Hayden Krueger won $1.2 million in the Fortnite World Cup. Aside from Fortnite, There are also massive Esports tournaments centered around games like Starcraft and League of Legends.
Congi told CBC that the games students play in the class won't be violent. Instead, they will "teach creativity, collaboration, and character-building." The school board has also expressed their hopes that a class like this one will encourage kids to complete high school before pursuing their careers.
Whether the class will produce any future Fortnite champs or not is anyone's guess, but it's definitely looking to the future.