All Articles Education Boost student engagement with video gaming curriculum: A Q&A with Dr. Kristy Custer


Boost student engagement with video gaming curriculum: A Q&A with Dr. Kristy Custer

5 min read


E-Sports class

This post is sponsored by Generation Esports

American K-12 students are missing school at alarming rates. More than a quarter of students missed 10% or more of the 2021-2022 school year, according to recent data

The good news is that there are engagement solutions that can help improve student attendance — such as the gamification that blends the excitement of competitive gaming with STEM and educational objectives. 

Dr. Kristy Custer is the President of Educational Innovation for Generation Esports. In this role, she writes curriculum which assists schools in integrating esports scholastically, socially, and competitively. Here, she shares insight into why utilizing and peer-reviewed gaming lessons engage students and give teachers more ways to reach students academically.

Question: We know that scholastic esports helps engage students. Please explain how including esports in schools results in increased student success.

Answer: Esports provides a highly engaging and relevant learning platform, capturing students’ interest and motivating them to participate actively in their education. Similar to traditional sports, the sense of belonging and camaraderie within esports teams can improve attendance and overall school engagement. By offering esports programs, schools create opportunities for students to excel in areas they are passionate about, boosting their self-esteem and overall academic motivation.


Q: How does Generation Esports help educators integrate gaming into the classroom? Why is it beneficial to add these courses as classroom resources?

A: Generation Esports offers a structured framework for educators to seamlessly integrate gaming into the classroom. Generation Esports has a team of former teachers and administrators who provide educators with curriculum materials, professional development, and guidance on aligning gaming experiences with learning objectives. By incorporating these courses, in conjunction with extracurricular competition, educators can harness students’ natural enthusiasm for gaming and channel it into meaningful educational experiences. This makes learning more engaging and allows educators to tap into a medium that resonates with today’s digital-native generation.


Q: Can you describe how Gaming Concepts curriculum promotes student wellness?

A: Gaming Concepts from Generation Esports includes embedded Mental Health Moments that are evidence-based lessons proven to improve self-esteem by addressing issues like stress and anxiety. By integrating these wellness components, Gaming Concepts aims to foster a holistic approach to gaming that supports students’ overall well-being.


Q: What other skills do esports and gaming teach students?

A: Gaming is so fun that we often miss observing what gamers are learning while playing. Perseverance is one of the most prevalent skills in gamers. Players often encounter obstacles or opponents that require repeated attempts to overcome. This repetitive process of trial and error teaches players the importance of persistence and resilience. Adaptability is another skill, as esports often require rapid decision-making and adaptation to changing game scenarios. 


Q: Gaming Concepts: Streaming is aligned to national speaking and listening standards. Explain how this course enhances traditional public speaking classes.

A: One of the highest-rated fears of high school students is public speaking; however, if you put a camera and microphone in front of a teenager and call it “streaming,” they will talk all day! As webinars, video conferencing, video-sharing platforms, and social media have become standard in commerce, Gaming Concepts: Streaming offers a practical and engaging context for public speaking exercises and adds a digital delivery component that is in high-demand with future employers. Alignment with national speaking and listening standards ensures that students acquire valuable communication skills that are essential to their college and career readiness.


Q: Gaming Concepts: Shoutcasting is a STEM-approved course. How do esports teach students STEM skills?

A: Shoutcasting refers to the live commentary and analysis of esports matches or gaming events, much the same as a commentator in a traditional sports broadcast. Gaming Concepts: Shoutcasting aligns the skills learned in a traditional Broadcast Journalism class with the high interest associated with esports. Not only do students learn how to interview, write, and make ethical editorial decisions, but students also gain technical proficiency and exposure to technology concepts such as learning how to use Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), editing and mixing audio, and positioning and operating cameras. Teaching journalism through a shoutcasting lens opens the career field to a new group of students who never thought of themselves as journalists. This is good for students and journalism departments.


Q: What are some common myths or objections educators have about incorporating esports into the learning environment?

A: Most of the myths or objections educators have about incorporating esports into the learning environment often stem from a lack of knowledge about what is available for schools. Most schools don’t realize that there are curriculum resources that align to traditional standards that schools can use as resources for existing classes or as stand-alone classes. Another objection is that implementing an esports program is cost-prohibitive. Many schools already have the equipment (computers) they need to compete in esports if they have existing graphic arts or computer graphics programs and many of the games students like to play are free. Although new to many schools, scholastic esports programs have been around long enough for there to be many success stories that alleviate many of the fears educators have.


Every teacher wants to help their students find success. To make that happen, it is important to meet students where they’re most passionate. Specifically, Gaming Concepts: Streaming and Gaming Concepts: Shoutcasting serve as perfect alternatives to traditional public speaking and journalism courses, are STEM-approved, and are aligned with a growing industry that holds significant appeal for young people across the nation. Learn more about these two new course additions (alongside all other Gaming Concepts courses) at