Last month (24th March), the first Esports in Education Conference in Scotland took place online, in conjunction with the College Development Network (CDN).
The event brought individuals from across the industry together to discuss esports within all sectors of Scottish education.
Over 123 people attended the event throughout the day on Zoom, and it was a very successful follow-up to last years’ Esports in Education Summit across the UK.
Mark McCready, Scotland’s Representative at British Esports, spent between 6-8 weeks planning the event, and said: “The conference went smoothly with a great turnout from all the speakers. In terms of expectations from planning the conference, it completely blew mine out the water at how passionate and enthusiastic teachers and lecturers were about how it impacted their students in a positive way.
“Great information was presented from all sectors within esports and helped encompass education and industry’s knowledge and prospects for the future,” he added.
If you missed the event, you can view the full video on our YouTube channel, or you can check out each of the different talks below.
After an introduction by Andy Miah, our very own Chester King kicked off the event by discussing the benefits of esports, as well as outlining some of the life skills you can gain too.Following that, Dr William Huber (Abertay University) and Mark McCready (British Esports & Queen Margaret University) went on to talk about what you can get out of an esports degree in higher education.
William described the journey through education to get a career in esports, and discussed what colleges and universities can do in order to aid this journey.
Mark spoke about how he founded the esports society at Queen Margaret’s University, and how he now works with British Esports to help lead the development of esports within Scotland. Michael Griffiths (Glasgow Clyde College) and Andrew Smirthwaite (Forth Valley College) then spoke about how gaming can be an opportunity to learn.
First, Michael spoke about how he had been a leader in the development of esports within Scottish education, as well as the variety of skills students can gain through gaming.
Following Michael, Andrew discussed how the gaming society at Forth Valley College started out with a suitcase, and now has grown to around 100 members from the college and local community.
Ending the morning session, Emma Liston (Alva Academy) and Brian Clark (Education Scotland) shared experiences on how they are ‘meeting the esports challenge’.
Emma gave an inspiring talk about how she went from just being a music teacher, to helping to establish Alva’s first esports team. Her esports team became the first school in Scotland to take part in the British Esports Championships.
Then, Brian expanded on how Education Scotland works to support esports and games in the learning environment. As well as this, he spoke about how esports can develop within schools and education in the future.
After a small intermission, Andy Payne (Chair of the British Esports Advisory Board) introduced Jim Metclafe from CDN to present the award to the Scottish College Cup winners, Edinburgh College.
The inter-college Rocket League tournament took place in November 2020, and had a Twitch audience of almost 100,000 people! Next, Brian Baglow (Scottish Games Network) and Mike Kent (Dexerto) did a talk around getting a career within the esports industry.
As the founder of the Scottish Games Network, Brian spoke about his time in the industry, runs through Scotland’s video game history, and where it can go in the near future.
Mike briefly discussed his background in the industry, and how he has gone on to be the co-founder and director of Dextero – one of the biggest media outlets for esports. On top of this, he pitched the potential that Scotland has to offer in the esports industry, and where things can potentially go.
Gary Tibbett (Education Manager at British Esports), and Fiona Callaghan (Pearson UK) gave some insight into the esports BTEC qualification, and how it is ready for Scottish colleges to adopt.
The BTEC consists of several different units to cover a range of aspects in esports, and 75 centres across the UK are approved to deliver the course. Following Gary and Fiona, Alex Postbechild and David Batho (Jisc) provided some helpful advice about how to be cyber-secure within competitive gaming. They cover topics such as: DDoS attacks, securing your network, ensuring players aren’t using third-party mods.Then, Morgan Ashurst (Marketing Manager at British Esports) and Alice Leaman (School and College Liaison Officer at British Esports) spoke about the creation of the Women in Esports initiative, and their plans for further involvement within education.
The initiative started out as a campaign back in 2019, and has grown significantly to promote inclusivity within esports.
Finally, Dr Aaron Koshy (International Journal of Esports) and Dr Brian McCauley (Esports Research Network) closed the event with their talk around researching in esports, and how high-quality research is key to be able to obtain.
Aaron is the Chief editor of the International Journal of Esports, and works as an academic cardiologist researching heart failure, medical devices and esports. He has been working on trials to develop technologies that could improve patient care and performance.
Moreover, Dr Brian McCauley is the Vice Chair of the Esports Research Network, and helps researchers to promote their work via collaborations and various connections. The Esports Research Network works with over 35 countries to bring together individuals that are interested in researching within esports.