• Burleson ISD middle school students learn video game design and computer science thanks to a partnership with Microsoft and the University of Texas at Arlington. BURLESON STAR/COURTESY PHOTO

Burleson ISD heading into the eSports arena

In a major effort to introduce students to the way of the future, the Burleson Independent School District is partnering with heavy hitters Microsoft and the University of Texas at Arlington eSports for its inaugural eSports Tournament.

Electronic sports, most commonly referred to as eSports, are organized, multiplayer video game competitions that involve the use of virtual reality, some Artificial Intelligence (depending upon the game), and technology. As an industry, eSports is gaining attention from ESPN and Disney XD with growth expected to reach $1.5 billion by 2020. More than 200 universities offer eSports as a sport at their university, including the University of North Texas and Texas Wesleyan.

In preparing students for the future, Superintendent Dr. Bret Jimerson is working with educators to revolutionize school as we know it.

“BISD will continue to shift its focus on the ever-changing options for students so they’re equipped to take advantage of complex challenges in careers that exist now and in those they will help redefine,” Jimerson said.

From a middle school for gamers where students learn video game design and computer science, BISD’s plans for innovation are designed to bolster student achievement by making school more relevant, more challenging, more compelling for students like never before possible.

Believed to be the first of its kind in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the “Inaugural BISD eSports Tournament, hosted by Microsoft” takes place Feb. 9, 2019.

“This tournament enables BISD students to showcase their tech-savvy gaming skills and speak with UTA’s eSports team and “Heroes of the Dorm” 2017 National Champions,” said Dr. Leslie Bender Jutzi, chief academic innovation officer at BISD. “Students will hear from the very best about using video gaming and design to get college scholarships, and to enhance programming and software design skills.”

eSports, as a group, have quickly developed into one of the most advanced technological industries, and there are several opportunities in the public, private, and military sectors for graduates with the technological skills developed by playing eSports.  As a result, there are a multitude of varsity eSports teams competing nationally at the college level, including in the DFW Metroplex. All of these teams offer scholarships to high school students who seek to pursue degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) subjects that may be applied to the public, private and military sectors.

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