Esports & STEAM Education

Florida Districts Testing NASEF Esports High School Curriculum

Several Florida districts with focuses on STEM and STEAM are testing high school curriculum recently developed by the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF). The lessons use esports to teach a variety of career skills. The project, which involves schools in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, is being done in partnership with affiliate Florida Scholastic Esports League (FLSEL), a nonprofit that uses experiential learning to support teenagers and young adults in the state. The curriculum has been credentialed by the state.

NASEF's career and technical education curriculum involves a multiyear sequence of courses for students in grades 8-12, with 25 courses designed around four esports sectors:

  • Strategists;

  • Organizers;

  • Content creators; and

  • Entrepreneurs.

The lessons offer pathways in careers that include event planning, analysis, fandom art, marketing, theory crafting, shoutcasting, streaming, journalism and web development.

"Esports is relevant to us because it's relevant to the kids," said Miami-Dade Superintendent, Alberta Carvalho, in a video about the program. "If we want to transform the American classroom, if we want to make it...rigorous, relevant and fun, if we want to excite them about their own learning, let's bring something to them they understand, they navigate well, that adapts to the way they live, the way they entertain themselves. But let's use it as a powerful tool of education. That's why esports speaks loudly to me because it speaks loudly to them."

In his remarks, Carvalho acknowledged the concern parents have regarding the amount of screen time young people are exposed to. "But being engaged from the earlier stage of game development and participation and competition can be productive, can be [engaging] and can actually boost student achievement," he said.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.