There has been a great deal written about the place of Chess in the curriculum, and quite a bit about games play and learning, but I have yet to find much said about competitive eSports and its place in the school.
Team sports have a long history of regard in educational discourse. One only has to think of Thomas Arnold and Rugby school, muscular Christianity and the long tradition of sport as a socializing and humanizing agent. But video games? The predominant perception is one of anti-social behaviour and damaging acculturation to violence. Research, however, tends to present a rather different picture. Games are in fact, intensely social affairs, Third Spaces affording opportunities for networking and community building.
I would argue that eSports, such as CounterStrike and DotA have a very definite role to play in the modern school, taking on many of the roles played by cricket, soccer or rugby for a digital generation. They are team sports every bit as much as football, and give students an opportunity to learn to co-operate and collaborate, to build team strategies and learn to accommodate strength and weakness within social contexts.
There should be inter-school leagues, school tournaments and inter-house video gaming contests – absolutely. I am not arguing that this should replace physical sports, merely that eSports has a definite place in the 21st century school.