NASEF Announces Preliminary Findings on Diversity, Inclusion, and STEAM Learning Achieved through High School Esports

Media Contact:
Claire LaBeaux

North America Scholastic Esports Federation Shares Findings Related to Social Impacts at the Games for Change Festival

(Orange County, CA – June 18, 2019) – Today at the Games for Change Festival in New York City, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) shared preliminary findings and plans for future research related to diversity, inclusion, and STEAM learning in its high school esports clubs and the esports world at large.

Working with UC Irvine, NASEF recently surveyed club members about their experiences in esports. Overall findings support that NASEF creates a safe and inclusive environment.

  • Overall, participants report low levels of racial tension.
  • Overall, participants report that the esports program works to make everyone feel included regardless of identity.
  • However, as in all areas of esports, females and people of color tend hide identity and feel less supported. 53% of females report that other gamers are rude to some people based on their identity.
  • Overall, participants report that they know who they can talk to if they encounter/witness harassment or bullying and say they would report it if they experienced it.
  • However, scores were low for both male and female participants when asked if they had seen gamers stand up for others, or say something, when bullying or harassment occurs based on identity.
  • Educators are seen as trusted leaders.
  • The NASEF Code of Conduct is a valuable tool for setting and maintaining behavior standards.

Student quotes about esports (not in the NASEF matches) demonstrate the need to tackle the issues of toxicity:

  • “This was during alone play. A lot of racist remarks and almost everyone is toxic.”
  • “During alone play, I have witnessed discrimination, and even some of my friends harbor some views that I do not agree with based on gender. But, I usually can't say much or else it seems as if they team up on me.”

One response demonstrates the value of NASEF’s engaged General Managers (teacher advisor) to the teams and individual students:

  • When we were having our regular club time, our general manager, Mr. Vo, took action and made sure that the individual received his ‘push ups.’ Those push ups train us better to stop cursing, to stop being hateful. The individual often was disrespectful to other members of the club, forcing us to take further action and temporarily suspending him. Eventually, he started to act a bit better as an individual, not just around the esports room but at school too.”

This behavior change illustrates the importance of NASEF’s core values of Opportunity, with a safe and engaging space for all students to connect, play, learn, and grow, as well as Diversity, developing strong character and self-identity so that all participants celebrate individuality and differences. 

NASEF will continue to work with UC Irvine to research the esports culture and develop ways to improve it, student by student and club by club. Simultaneously, NASEF and UC Irvine are conducting in-depth evaluations to determine best methods to utilize esports as a learning platform, analyzing and creating strong alignment of classroom standards to the NASEF program for educational gains – in addition to the fun of playing esports with friends!

“NASEF puts students first: their learning, their personal development, their future. That’s why we’re examining the educational and emotional aspects of high school esports and developing programs as a result of that research,” said Tom Turner, Chief Education Officer at NASEF. “Not content to only give lip-service to education, NASEF is working with researchers to examine actual conditions and determine best methods of creating a positive growth environment in NASEF clubs and beyond.

In just a year of existence, NASEF is positively impacting students in clubs in 32 United States and two provinces in Canada, with many more preparing to join for the fall 2019 season. Students will reap social and educational benefits through participation in esports tournaments in a variety of popular titles, Beyond the Game challenges, state-approved English Language Arts and Career Technical Education, and structured coaching and mentoring, all offered FREE to all participants.

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide free opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Learn more at Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFedu, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel.


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