Academic Esports: Turning Gamers into Makers

Alan Sitomer, Founder and CEO - Mastery Coding

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Esports (short for electronic sports) is a fast-growing, multi-billion dollar worldwide phenomenon...and the opportunities for our students through esports are astounding.

In this episode, we're talking with former California Teacher of the Year Alan Sitomer, who's now the Founder and CEO of Mastery Coding - an organization that's helping turn gamers into makers.

We're taking a deep dive into the world of esports - what esports is all about, how schools are launching teams and even offering scholarships, and the career opportunities in STEM fields that are available inside the world of professional gaming. With a unique academic approach to esports, schools can help their students find community, get great at gaming, and inspire them toward computer science and coding.

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Esports is a worldwide phenomenon that will become just as engrained in school culture as football and basketball is today: If your school hasn't embraced esports, you're missing out. K-12 districts, colleges and universities worldwide have official teams; professional leagues draw millions of viewers globally; and the benefit for your students is limitless. Alan gives us the scoop on the benefits of esports for schools, which include the opportunity to win competitions, SEL benefits for students, the equity component, and the STEM implications.
  2. Gaming is the gateway to computer science: Computer science drives every company in this digital world, and because of this there's an immense need for students with STEM skills entering the workforce. If schools are looking for a way to get more students engaged in computer science, esports is the answer. By launching an esports program, you're meeting them where they are, engaging them in what they love doing, but also (if you follow an academic methodology) giving them a chance to "look under the hood" and learn about game design, coding, programming and so much more.
  3. Academic Esports is the key to turning gamers into makers: While esports alone has many benefits for students, it's also a ripe opportunity for education to engage, inspire and equip gamers with industry-recognized credentials, skills-based programming and credible pathway to emerging and growing careers in STEM. Alan shares his organization's methodology of academic esports - a way to take your students' love of gaming and turn it into academic programming that leads to real computer science skills and certifications.

Tips for Getting Started

Want to start an esports program? Here are some initial steps:

  1. Get buy-in from administration, coaches/instructors, parents and students
  2. Decide your goals for your esports team - some options include winning competitions, academic value, and social-emotional learning value
  3. Choose which tools are you going to use to achieve that goal. Hint: Mastery Coding can help with all of them! See resources below to learn more.


To learn more about Mastery Coding's esports programming, league and resources, visit:

Connect with Mastery Coding on social media:

YouTube  |  LinkedIn  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter

To see more on the world of esports, check out all the resources and news on ESPN:

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