Forget the negative stigma around video games; they’re now being recognized as a viable launchpad for careers in STEM.
From this point of view, video games are not mind-numbing distractions. Instead, video games are a pathway to team work and participation, to focus and strategy, to scholarships and internships, to career opportunities…a pathway to success.
Schools across the country – from K-12 districts to universities – are already embracing esports as one of the fastest-growing extra-curricular activities in the world, rivaling even basketball and football for participation rates.
Now, Mastery Coding and Rally Cry have teamed up to channel students’ passion for esports and gaming into college and career readiness with the launch of the US Academic Esports League.
There are dozens of esports leagues schools can compete in. So what makes this one any different? The US Academic Esports League (USAEL) fosters the passion gamers have when they’re competing on an esports team and channels that into career pathways in related STEM fields.
Rally Cry has their roots in gaming, competition and esports leagues. Their experts, led by Adam Rosen, have designed and managed some of the leading programs in esports like Tespa, BlizzCon, and Overwatch League. Rally Cry offers the world’s most secure esports platform and end-to-end esports operations.
Mastery Coding, led by Alan Sitomer, are experts in standards-based computer science, CTE and STEM curriculum. Their team has designed curriculum-focused resources and programming that turn gamers into makers.
Both Adam Rosen and Alan Sitomer were featured on The TechEd Podcast at the ACTE CareerTech Vision conference where they talked about the USAEL.
With this education-first approach, the USAEL program is built on three pillars:
We’ll take a closer look at each pillar. Before we do, we’ll add that the USAEL is designed for any school with or without a current esports program. It can supplement what teams are already doing, or it can help schools get a team up and running for the first time.
USAEL offers state, regional and national competitions. Each week, league teams can compete remotely against other schools. Scores are tallied over the length of the season, and qualifying teams can advance into mid-season and post-season tournaments. Top teams can even win scholarships! Games include Minecraft, FIFA, League of Legends, Fortnite, NBA2K, Overwatch, Rocket League, Valorant, MADDEN, Super Smash Bros and others.
More importantly, USAEL differentiates itself through its approach to league play:
The US Academic Esports League is rooted in the learning outcomes that video games offer. So they’ve leveraged Mastery Coding’s courses and curriculum programs for schools to turn gamers into makers.
“We’re not just talking about a downloadable guide for a teacher to read. We’re talking about a comprehensive academic curriculum from inside the bell schedule right in class, but also extracurriculars,” notes Rosen.
Courses and programs include:
Alan Sitomer is an advocate for connecting gaming to careers. “With esports, there are so many orbital careers,” he said. “You do not have to become a professional gamer, right? All of these games were made with code. So we start right there with the STEM studies, engineering and things like that…code is running all of the latest and greatest technology, in agriculture, in culinary, in automotive, etc. So when you channel students’ passion for esports and turn them into makers, they’re multi-dimensional into what they can bring to the workforce, which is being gamified across the landscape.”
The goal of the program is to help students understand their options and visualize the pathway that will take them there. Often, this pathway won’t lead to professional gaming or even being a game developer, but may take a student to any one of the orbital careers in hardware, media, operations, marketing, events management, legal, finance, health science, software…you name it.
But for those that do love gaming and game development, USAEL has the tools to create a portfolio that can open doors with some of the top companies in this space, like Twitch, Blizzard, Microsoft, Activision, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft.
Mastery Coding courses teach computer science skills using industry-standard platforms like Unity, Blender and Github and teach common languages like C#.
If you’re interested in joining the US Academic Esports League, want to start an esports team but don’t know where to begin, or are interested in expanding your esports into more curriculum-focused computer science courses, we can help! Fill out the form below, and our team will be in touch shortly.