First Steps to Starting an Esports Program: Madison Junior High’s Success Story

First Steps to Starting an Esports Program: Madison Junior High’s Success Story

Jun 20, 2024

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Summary

Madison Junior High’s Esports program, led by Justin Davis and supported by Gameplan, has increased student engagement and academic performance. Initially met with skepticism, the program overcame challenges like logistical issues and parental concerns. Through clear communication, strategic planning, and the use of Gameplan’s engaging platform, the school saw improvements in attendance, disciplinary actions, and student collaboration. The success has sparked interest in expanding the program to other schools, offering more teachers professional development opportunities.

The First Esports Education Teacher at Madison Junior High

Meet Justin Davis, the first esports education teacher at Madison Junior High. Justin grew up with video games himself throughout his life. When he saw the opportunity to blend his passion for video games with education, he seized it. 

Now, Madison Junior students are thriving more than ever with less disciplinary actions and an increase in student engagement. The program's success has even sparked plans for expansion to other schools, providing more teachers with professional development opportunities. 

entrance of madison junior high school

Overcoming Initial Challenges to Launch the Esports Program

Madison Junior High was looking for ways to increase student engagement, decrease disciplinary issues and innovative teaching strategies. Justin Davis, recognizing the power of esports in education, wanted to try it at the school and implement it in their curriculum.

As with many schools looking into implementing esports into their curriculum, this idea was initially met with skepticism from parents and teachers, who questioned its educational value and connection to STEM. There were also logistical challenges such as equipment setup, managing class sizes, and student coordination.

“We had minor difficulties with finding a place for our activities and hosting all of the equipment. We had many questions we had to ask ourselves with the new program, and we solved them” Justin recalls.

After harnessing the power of Gameplan to launch the program and gaining some hands-on experience, they were able to solve these problems, resulting in professional development for teachers and increased engagement in students.

The school tackled these challenges by:

Clear Communication: Educating parents and teachers about the benefits of Esports, including its alignment with STEM subjects and its potential to teach problem-solving, teamwork, and technological skills. 

Strategic Planning: Carefully planning the logistics of the program, from equipment placement to class management, ensuring a smooth integration into the existing curriculum.

Support from Gameplan: Utilizing Gameplan’s structured and engaging platform, which made complex concepts accessible and fun for students, significantly easing the implementation process.

"Many students enjoy the new Avatar Creator, but what really stands out is their ability to see real-time feedback within the platform. Whether they're reviewing coursework, finishing exams, or participating in discussion posts, the feedback from peers and teachers has been incredibly helpful and engaging for them."

Justin and a student uses gameplan in the computer room

Seeing the Positive Impact of Esports and Expanding the Program to Benefit More Schools

“At first there was some skepticism about the program. But then everybody recognized how esports help students with problem solving, team building and many other skills that they take and flourish” 

Gradually overcoming initial resistance and logistical challenges, the benefits of the esports program became quickly apparent, leading to significant improvements across several key areas:

Higher Attendance: Students were more motivated to attend classes, resulting in improved attendance rates.

Reduced Disciplinary Issues: The introduction of a clear code of conduct helped students recognize and correct problematic behaviors.

Increased Engagement: Gameplan’s interactive content kept students excited and engaged with their studies.

Teamwork and Collaboration: Contrary to the stereotype of gamers as loners, students demonstrated exceptional teamwork and collaboration during competitions and classroom activities.

Justin explains that the program has been instrumental in helping students recognize and correct problematic behaviors, particularly with the introduction of a code of conduct. Additionally, many students were unaware of the various career opportunities in the Esports industry beyond becoming professional players.

"We have seen students want to be in the classroom more often since introducing the program. They seek the connectivity with their friends and a place where they can feel relaxed while learning. It has made them more eager to be in school."

The success of Madison Junior High’s Esports program has sparked interest in expanding the initiative to other schools. This expansion aims to provide more students with access to the benefits of esports education and offer teachers professional development opportunities to harness the power of this innovative approach.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed every single step of the process. We can’t wait to see what’s next," said Davis.

Madison Junior High Sets a New Standard in Education

Madison Junior High’s Esports program, supported by Gameplan, has created an engaging educational environment, equipping students with valuable life skills. The positive feedback from students, parents, and the community highlights the program's success and its potential to inspire similar initiatives in other schools.

For educators considering an Esports program, Justin Davis offers this advice: "Approach it differently from traditional courses. Embrace flexibility, understand the process, and focus on creating a positive environment for your students. The rewards are worth the effort."

Get an inside look from Justin on how they made it happen:

Schedule a quick call today to get started on your own esports journey!

The First Esports Education Teacher at Madison Junior High

Meet Justin Davis, the first esports education teacher at Madison Junior High. Justin grew up with video games himself throughout his life. When he saw the opportunity to blend his passion for video games with education, he seized it. 

Now, Madison Junior students are thriving more than ever with less disciplinary actions and an increase in student engagement. The program's success has even sparked plans for expansion to other schools, providing more teachers with professional development opportunities. 

entrance of madison junior high school

Overcoming Initial Challenges to Launch the Esports Program

Madison Junior High was looking for ways to increase student engagement, decrease disciplinary issues and innovative teaching strategies. Justin Davis, recognizing the power of esports in education, wanted to try it at the school and implement it in their curriculum.

As with many schools looking into implementing esports into their curriculum, this idea was initially met with skepticism from parents and teachers, who questioned its educational value and connection to STEM. There were also logistical challenges such as equipment setup, managing class sizes, and student coordination.

“We had minor difficulties with finding a place for our activities and hosting all of the equipment. We had many questions we had to ask ourselves with the new program, and we solved them” Justin recalls.

After harnessing the power of Gameplan to launch the program and gaining some hands-on experience, they were able to solve these problems, resulting in professional development for teachers and increased engagement in students.

The school tackled these challenges by:

Clear Communication: Educating parents and teachers about the benefits of Esports, including its alignment with STEM subjects and its potential to teach problem-solving, teamwork, and technological skills. 

Strategic Planning: Carefully planning the logistics of the program, from equipment placement to class management, ensuring a smooth integration into the existing curriculum.

Support from Gameplan: Utilizing Gameplan’s structured and engaging platform, which made complex concepts accessible and fun for students, significantly easing the implementation process.

"Many students enjoy the new Avatar Creator, but what really stands out is their ability to see real-time feedback within the platform. Whether they're reviewing coursework, finishing exams, or participating in discussion posts, the feedback from peers and teachers has been incredibly helpful and engaging for them."

Justin and a student uses gameplan in the computer room

Seeing the Positive Impact of Esports and Expanding the Program to Benefit More Schools

“At first there was some skepticism about the program. But then everybody recognized how esports help students with problem solving, team building and many other skills that they take and flourish” 

Gradually overcoming initial resistance and logistical challenges, the benefits of the esports program became quickly apparent, leading to significant improvements across several key areas:

Higher Attendance: Students were more motivated to attend classes, resulting in improved attendance rates.

Reduced Disciplinary Issues: The introduction of a clear code of conduct helped students recognize and correct problematic behaviors.

Increased Engagement: Gameplan’s interactive content kept students excited and engaged with their studies.

Teamwork and Collaboration: Contrary to the stereotype of gamers as loners, students demonstrated exceptional teamwork and collaboration during competitions and classroom activities.

Justin explains that the program has been instrumental in helping students recognize and correct problematic behaviors, particularly with the introduction of a code of conduct. Additionally, many students were unaware of the various career opportunities in the Esports industry beyond becoming professional players.

"We have seen students want to be in the classroom more often since introducing the program. They seek the connectivity with their friends and a place where they can feel relaxed while learning. It has made them more eager to be in school."

The success of Madison Junior High’s Esports program has sparked interest in expanding the initiative to other schools. This expansion aims to provide more students with access to the benefits of esports education and offer teachers professional development opportunities to harness the power of this innovative approach.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed every single step of the process. We can’t wait to see what’s next," said Davis.

Madison Junior High Sets a New Standard in Education

Madison Junior High’s Esports program, supported by Gameplan, has created an engaging educational environment, equipping students with valuable life skills. The positive feedback from students, parents, and the community highlights the program's success and its potential to inspire similar initiatives in other schools.

For educators considering an Esports program, Justin Davis offers this advice: "Approach it differently from traditional courses. Embrace flexibility, understand the process, and focus on creating a positive environment for your students. The rewards are worth the effort."

Get an inside look from Justin on how they made it happen:

Schedule a quick call today to get started on your own esports journey!

Written by

Gameplan Team

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