Throughout the U.S. educators are turning eSports into a learning experience and are better engaging their students as a result. School districts in California, Wisconsin and Connecticut are organizing eSports leagues for their students, and organizations like the Electronic Gaming Federation (EGF) are hoping to propel eSports to national prominence.
Fueling this growth is AV technology, which can serve two roles for educators. One, AV technology is a powerful learning tool that can help process eSports into engaging lessons. Two, AV technology can be used to train eSports teams and improve their performance. Both are of value to educators, as students engage with activities they do well, and this can lead to better participation in other areas.
How can AV technology enhance eSports for students?
AV solutions are already mainstream in education, as they provide a compelling, multisensory medium for teaching. AV solutions are also mainstream in professional eSports, where they are used to train teams prior to competitions. The fit between AV and school-based eSports, then, is optimal. Here’s why schools should consider AV technology for their emerging eSports clubs:
AV can be used to reinforce eSports learning
eSports have enormous potential in teaching strategy, data analysis, teamwork, decision making and organization. These lessons can be effectively delivered and reinforced using various AV solutions, like improved digital displays.
In the classroom, interactive displays can be used to present curriculum paired with eSports activities. While this curriculum differs from district to district, it is a visually-focused, which means interactive displays make perfect sense. With an interactive display, teachers can help students visualize things like probabilities and rapid mental math.
There’s room for creativity in eSports as well, as teams can develop their own team logos and themes. Interactive displays can be used to present examples, build out ideas and drive collaboration between students, which plays into the teamwork angle that traditional athletics have long celebrated.
AV can be used to unlock better performance from students
AV solutions are particularly effective for eSports training and are a popular tool for professional teams. Interactive displays are the primary tool here as well, because team coaches can use the display to run video of previous matches and of future opponents. Strategies can be devised and tested quickly by studying this video and making annotations where needed.
In this way, an interactive display is like the chalkboards football coaches once used to draw up Xs and Os (which can be done with interactive displays now).
AV can be used to keep club activities organized
eSports teams have a lot of things to keep up with, like competition scheduling and training regimens. Educators that run their school’s eSports teams will also need to keep track of assignments and other class-related materials. AV solutions like the interactive display can help educators manage a variety of media and deliver it all using the same technology. This can streamline class proceedings and ensure more time is spent working with students.
As eSports is a visual-heavy experience, where everything takes place on a screen, the addition of AV technology makes sense as a companion tool. However, there isn’t a single best AV solution for educators because interactive displays can come in the form of a projector or an interactive flat panel. Here’s a quick look at both:
Interactive whiteboards are powered using an ultra-short throw projector and a flat surface, which can be anything. A plain white wall, a dry erase board, even a stretched out sheet can provide an adequate backdrop for the projector.
Interactive whiteboards are an older form of interactive display, but they still hold a few major advantages. For instance, modern projectors like the EPSON BrightLink can project extremely large images, with a 100-inch diagonal in some cases. At this size, coaches and students can study videos and images as a group, with no one too far away to see what’s going on.
Quality projectors can also achieve full HD resolutions and impressive contrast ratios, so they don’t appear washed out like older projector models.
Interactive flat panels are a newer addition to the industry and run on LED display technology. Though they look like standard commercial displays, they contain sophisticated touch detection technology that allows for precision control and annotating. Some interactive flat panels, like the Clevertouch, can handle up to 10 simultaneous touch points, so multiple users can control the flat panel at once.
Interactive flat panels are more expensive than interactive whiteboards, but they last for many years with minimal maintenance and can provide superior image quality and contrast. Interactive flat panels can also be mounted to a cart for extra mobility, so it can be used for more than just eSports material.
There isn’t a clear winner between the two, but in either case, educators should consider bringing in an experienced AV integrator to oversee the project.
An AV Integrator is a Valuable Technology Partner for Educators
Many districts would consider eSports clubs for their students if it was easy to acquire and arrange the technology. That’s where an AV integrator comes in.
Experienced AV integrators do a lot of their work with educators, as AV solutions have a proven positive impact in the classroom. An integrator is familiar with the budget challenges facing educators, as well as the facilities they educate their students in. This knowledge is important when selecting and installing AV equipment, as an experienced integrator can manage their client’s investment wisely, while ensuring the project is delivered on time.
In recent years, experienced AV integrators have started transitioning to an AV-as-a-Service (AVaaS) model. With AVaaS, schools aren’t forced to make major capital investments in their AV solutions, instead paying a single monthly cost for their desired AV solution. The integrator still provides a fully developed solution, from system design to installation and beyond, but the school doesn’t have to purchase the equipment outright and take on all the risk. The integrator does that for their client. This approach allows for better budget forecasting and cost containment. If additional technologies or an upgrade is required, the integrator can make these recommendations and adjust their client’s monthly expense as needed.
With AVaaS, schools can comfortably adopt emerging AV solutions for their emerging eSports clubs. The rise of eSports is changing school athletics as we’ve known them for decades, and AV technology is helping fuel that change.
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