Excitement for video games will form the core of a new, after-school program at Edward Harris Jr. Middle School. Organizers aim to teach students about the process of making games and the role of technology in society.
To create the Colts Generational Gaming Academy, the middle school partnered with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) and esports organization Gen.G.
“Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School is proud to partner with Gen.G in offering our students an opportunity to explore a potential career pathway in the world of gaming,” Edward Harris Principal Charles Amey said in a statement.
He said the program would help students learn through their interest in gaming design.
“We foresee nothing but fruitful outcomes from this endeavor,” Amey said.
Starting on Oct. 4, 100 Edward Harris students will take part in a 20-week curriculum, according a news release announcing the gaming academy. The classes will cover subjects like zero carbon technology and sustainability, as well as game development and content creation.
In addition, students will get to meet people working in the gaming industry, such as content creators, professional gamers, and video game marketers.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Elk Grove students to harness the power of tomorrow,” SMUD Board of Directors member Rosanna Herber said in a statement. “The engaging STEM activities let students dive into the Minecraft platform to solve real-world problems within their own communities.”
Students will develop plans to apply their lessons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to the real world. Using SMUD’s Sustainable Communities Resource Priorities Map to identify underserved areas, they “will design and implement a local project that enhances public life and protects the environment and our future,” Herber said.
Gen.G is an esports organization with connections to the U.S. and Asia. It runs eight esports teams and has won seven world championships for the video games, “League of Legends,” “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” and “Heroes of the Storm.”
The company’s director of strategic initiatives saw the Edward Harris program as a way to extend the reach of its education insights.
“We are proud to partner with a school that shares our mission to equip students with tangible skills and networks that enable them to pursue successful futures,” Director Kahlil Keys said.
Video games are a widespread pastime that has only grown more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global gaming industry brought in nearly $180 billion in revenue in 2020, a 20% increase over the previous year, according to financial website MarketWatch and market analyst International Data Corporation.
In the U.S., almost 227 million people play video games, a 2021 report from trade group Entertainment Software Association said. Over half of gamers surveyed, 55%, said they had played more during the pandemic, and the same percentage said video games helped them relieve stress.