Ipswich school to introduce competitive gaming subject

AN Ipswich school will soon introduce a subject focused on how students can make a career out of competitive video gaming.

Ripley Valley State Secondary College is holding trials this week to select its first eSports teams in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros.

The school’s head of digital technologies Angela Waugh said this was just the beginning.

Ripley Valley State Secondary College will introduce an eSports program pathway into the curriculum in 2022.

Students at the new high school in the booming Ripley Valley will compete against each other this year before facing off against other schools next year.

In 2022, an eSports program pathway from Year 10 to 12 will be introduced to the curriculum.

“It will be its own subject,” Mrs Waugh said.

“In that subject they’ll learn gaming but they’ll also learn commentating, they’ll learn the design for a game, how to program games.

“They’ll do a whole range of different things.

“I’m working with a couple of universities and we’re trying to develop pathways outside of school as well.”

Interest in the initial program has been overwhelming with close to 80 per cent of the school population wanting to be involved.

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For sceptical parents worried about their kids spending more time in front of a screen; eSports is here to stay.

It’s a billion dollar industry with audience numbers in the hundreds of millions.

Ripley Valley will compete against Brisbane schools next year and Mrs Waugh said it will be the first in Ipswich to bring on the pathway program.

“It’s not a push from Education Queensland,” she said.

“It’s more of a school initiative.

“If you’ve got teachers and students that are keen at the school then individual schools are doing it.

“I think over time, a lot of schools will start participating. It’s really good for increased engagement with students.”

Mrs Waugh expected 50 per cent of the student population will want to take on the eSports pathway program when it is launched in a bit over a year.

For those who don’t make it to the very top as competitive players, there is still big money in streaming gameplay to a live audience which is mostly done from a bedroom or study.

She said kids’ social lives were now revolving around eSports.
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“There’s a lot of different pathways that stem from eSports,” she said.

“A lot of the older generation think that the kids are sitting in front of their screens and they’re not going out and communicating and having fun and doing everything that they used to do when they were kids.

“I think the times are changing.

“If you listen to the conversations that the kids are having, they’re really in-depth like coming up with strategies and working as a team.”

Mrs Waugh is working with partners from across the globe to be able to demonstrate to students how they can get more out of gaming than just fun.

Once the program is launched, two teams per year level will compete internationally.

“I think if we can engage the students in something that they’re passionate about and teach them implicitly along the way then that’s exactly what we want in education,” she said.

“I’ve linked up with a few partners around the world and that’s what they do; they make money from YouTube or streaming sites.

“Part of our pathways program will be teaching those students the entrepreneurial and business skills that are associated with that and how to actually make money online.”

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.

— to www.qt.com.au

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