In an effort to provide more Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) opportunities for students, Garland ISD has added esports clubs at all seven high schools, as well as the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center. Esports is electronic in nature, but just like its non-online counterpart, it involves organized competitive gameplay between teams. Esports teaches teamwork, communication, strategic thinking and leadership while providing students who may not be interested in traditional athletic programs the opportunity to be on a team.
GISD is currently the largest school district to have all its high schools competing for a state champion esports title. And the district has launched this initiative without additional funds, using only existing equipment at campuses.
"The video game industry is booming all over the world. We already offer several video game design courses in Garland ISD. We want our students to not just be consumers, but also to be creators of technology trends," stated Coordinator of Technology Applications Jasna Aliefendic. "Five years ago, many people hadn't even heard about esports. Today, most people know about it. We already have local, state, national and international competitions. Esports arenas are even being built in big cities. In five more years, it might just be bigger than the NFL, who knows."
There are currently more than 250 colleges that offer scholarship opportunities for esports. Still in its first year, Garland ISD has multiple schools already qualified for esports state playoffs in January 2020.