A new interest in robotics and e-sports is generating a new interest among students in competitions and technology activities.
The Rockford Public School system has seen the participation rates in robotics and e-sports explode since they expanded to new schools. However, many coordinators don’t believe this is just a result of geography. It reflects an expansion of interest, especially among kids who are not interested in sports, or theater or student council.
“The three latest additions to what we offer have been robotics, e-sports and boys volleyball,” said Mat Parker, director of athletic activities and program development for Rockford Public Schools. “Those three opened a lot of doors and created new opportunities for students to participate who didn’t want to participate in a traditional sport.
“Suddenly, we have these whole groups of students who feel connected to the school now. They are part of a team. They have a uniform. … National data and our own internal data tell us that’s good for kids. Students who are involved in at least one activity in RPS have higher grade point averages, better attendance rates, fewer disciplinary actions.”