Technology

Norwegian School To Offer ESports Classes As Alternative To Traditional Sports

January 14, 2016 | by Ben Taub

Students who take the class will alternate between playing video games and physical exercises designed to improve concentration and reflexes.
Photo credit: Students who take the class will alternate between playing video games and physical exercises designed to improve concentration and reflexes. Axstokes/Shutterstock

A public high school in Norway has announced plans to add eSports to its physical education curriculum. Though details of how these courses will be conducted and assessed have yet to be finalized, representatives of Garnes Vidaregåande Skule in Bergen have revealed that students will be able to take the new classes from the start of the next academic year.

The school is currently designing a specialized game room, which will contain 15 high-end gaming PCs and will be able to hold up to 30 students at a time. The plan is therefore for half of those in the class to play video games at a time, while the others take part in a range of physical exercises designed to enhance key skills required for eSports success, such as concentration and reflexes.

Although no public schools in the Scandinavian country have previously offered eSports to students, Petter Grahl Johnstadt, who manages the school’s science department, told Datoblast that receiving permission to launch the scheme was facilitated by the fact that the same curriculum requirements for other sports also apply to eSports. For instance, students will be graded on attributes such as their ability to communicate while playing team-based games, as well their mastery of tactics and strategies, just as they are when playing soccer or handball.

The school has put together a list of games that it considers suitable for the course and has asked students to choose their favourites, with the two most popular being taught in the classes. All of those on the list are team games, such as Dota 2, Counter-Strike and League of Legends.

Students who opt to take the classes will receive five hours of tuition a week, with the school currently in the process of recruiting expert teachers. In addition, they will be expected to make use of the gaming facilities in their free time in order to hone their skills. It is hoped that students will then form teams in order to compete in both national and international eSports tournaments, which often offer lucrative financial prizes.

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