Rochester in Focus: National Esports Association merges learning with play

Updated: January 10, 2021 10:10 AM
Created: January 10, 2021 10:00 AM

Lori Bajorek is an innovator, a pioneer in the gaming industry, and president of the Rochester-based National Esports Association. 

She's made it her mission to find new ways of integrating esports (which are similar to video games) with education. 

"Play is serious for children, and it's also serious for adults," said Bajorek. "If you think about how you can actually combine those two together so that learning becomes organic, and it becomes something you want to participate in. Even watching Jeopardy, it's one of those things where you now are engaged, you feel part of something bigger."

Participating in virtual games could help kids build a sense of community with others when they're unable to socialize with peers in-person. Bajorek said esports can also be helpful for leveling the learning playing field, so to speak, as they remove any advantages or disadvantages a student might have in a typical classroom setting. 

The association works with school districts across the country to boost student engagement through esports in virtual classrooms. It's hosting several online tournaments this month in games like Mario Kart to Fortnite. 

Click here to learn more about the National Esports Association, and click here to register for one of this month's tournaments. 

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