The Digital Citizen and eSports

A student of this world must engage as a physical and digital citizen.

Digital Citizen, the second standard of the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students, is important in eSports. Previously, I wrote about the connection between the Empowered Learner and eSports. This standard addresses the appropriate roles for our students in a shrinking world where new connections are made everyday. A sense of digital citizenship is essential. And eSports, focusing specifically on League of Legends, meets the standard and its indicators.

The Digital Citizen standard is as follows:

Students recognize the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of living, learning and working in an interconnected digital world, and they act and model in ways that are safe, legal and ethical.

Whether someone plays League of Legends with a local group of people, or through a random selection of available online gamers, the concepts of ethics, legality and safety are important. The gaming community frowns upon cheating and abuse. Multiple instances of abuse towards other players will result in the banning of the aggressor user account from gameplay. More severely, a single instance of cheating will result in the banning of the user account. The banning of a user account results in only one option. The player must start over from Level 1 and rebuild a new user account.

What separates League of Legends from other eSports games is the large community of users who self-police behavior. This brings me to standard indicator 2a:

Students cultivate and manage their digital identity and reputation and are aware of the permanence of their actions in the digital world.

Player self-branding in League of Legends is important. As a result, serious players vigorously protect their digital identities. While an honorable game player is noticed, a poor player reputation is noticed more so. As the genre of eSports grows quickly, there is opportunity to notice players at all levels and games. Coaches must help their students develop their digital brand in an ethical manner.

Additionally, the second indicator compliments the first very well. Indicator 2b says,

Students engage in positive, safe, legal and ethical behavior when using technology, including social interactions online or when using networked devices.

Up until recently, schools have done a horrible job helping students navigate social interactions online. I would argue this is still the rule, not the exception. We, as educators, cannot continue to ignore educating our students in how to use social media in appropriate ways. eSports is a great way to engage students in practicing their digital citizenship skills.

The last two indicators of the Digital Citizen standard focus on respect of the digital rights of the property of others, and protecting a student’s personal data. Indicators 2c and 2d, respectfully, are:

Students demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the rights and obligations of using and sharing intellectual property.

Students manage their personal data to maintain digital privacy and security and are aware of data-collection technology used to track their navigation online.

There is power in allowing newcomers to become content creators and contributors to a growing online community of 100 million users. Additionally, League of Legends keeps fantastic statistics on every player. The digital footprints of every user is accessible by all users. It is within this online community the habits of an appropriate digital citizen becomes a cultural mindset.

League of Legends fully addresses the first two 2016 ISTE Standards for Students. The third standard, Knowledge Constructor, also has a prominent place in competitive online video games. The next post will detail that standard in depth.

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Light Painting” by VFS Digital Design is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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