The Innovative Designer and eSports

This image of a sketch represents the innovative designer.

The Innovative Designer standard is one of the more difficult of the ISTE 2016 Standards for Students to connect to eSports. It is intimidating because many do not know or understand what “a design process” means. In previous posts, eSports and the first three ISTE standards were explored, and a bit more straightforward. In this case, there needs to be a common language from which to work.

First, the Innovative Designer standard states:

Students use a variety of technologies within a design process to identify and solve problems by creating new, useful or imaginative solutions.

The tricky phrase in this standard is “a design process.” Examples given by ISTE include human-centered design process, project-based learningengineering design process, or the scientific method.

With the Innovative Designer, there is not one design method prescribed. It is not possible to prescribe one design method. Students may use a variety of design processes, and one may not be best for every situation. In the game League of Legends, the game is constantly evolving and changing. Riot Games is always adding new characters that create new problems to solve. Therefore, new solutions to these problems are key for superior gameplay in League of Legends.

The first indicator for the Innovative Designer standard addresses the need for using a deliberate design process.

Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.

The second indicator of the standard states:

Students select and use digital tools to plan and manage a design process that considers design constraints and calculated risks.

While there may not be many design constraints researching problems, generating ideas and theories playing League of Legends, risks are part of testing and using game strategy. “Digital tools” could be as simple as testing a new game strategy with teammates while playing the game. This is where a good coach and team analysis would come into play. Additionally, a shared space for the team to collaborate on new strategy and sharing resources, as simple as a cloud based folder, would be a great way to start. It is important to let the students decide on the digital tools they would like to use.

The third indicator is easy to sum up in one word:

Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

The word is “practice.” Yes, practice. However, this is student-driven practice. The coach should not only drive practice. The students develop their prototypes of new League of Legends strategies and test them out during practice.

Finally, this brings us to the fourth Innovative Designer standard indicator.

Students exhibit a tolerance for ambiguity, perseverance and the capacity to work with open-ended problems.

The recent 2016 League of Legends final showed how the game is full of ambiguity. More importantly, down 2-0 in the first two matches against the reigning champions, SK Telecom, the Samsung Galaxy team came storming back to tie the match at 2-2 before falling in 5 games. This truly was a “Rocky” moment in eSports. Trying to create an environment of open-ended problems and ambiguity is difficult for some teachers. League of Legends breeds a culture of ambiguity and open-ended problems as the gamers practice and compete.

All these indicators come together in League of Legends to create a strong case this game supports the Innovative Designer standard.

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Sketch” by Ash Kyd is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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