About a year in Novosibirsk, an unusual school, in which children are taught to play. For such lessons the children go with pleasure and wait for a new lesson, because they do not take away the keyboard, mouse or any parts of the computer to fight this hobby; on the contrary, they tell how to play Dota and Counter-Strike, to become real cyber-sportsmen, popular bloggers or game developers. The journalist NG.S. BUSINESS learned how the school’s creators are struggling with stereotypes that games and the Internet are evil, why this project is difficult to promote on the Web, how difficult it is to initiate a dialogue with parents, what the training program is built on and what games most often want play teenagers.
Cyber school is now working at NSTU: students from the fifth grade go to school, and most often on the ninth. Organizers are ready to train high school students, but, as a rule, those are busy preparing for the USE. Teachers are champions of cyber sport tournaments: the Dota specialist has a rating of over 7,000 with a maximum of 9,000 games. A Counter-Strike teacher is one of the top 500 players.
Yearly training – four courses for one and a half months. 12 classes cost 8 thousand rubles – this is one course.
The developers of the program are sure that it does not matter what to play: there is some set of mechanical skills that one game offers, and five games of the same genre will differ in details. The main thing in all games is tuning, views on the game and understanding.
“Regardless of what game you are playing, you need the same skills – the ability to respond quickly, make decisions, analyze the situation, adjust, work in a team. Therefore, on the first module we look at the whole sphere, it is more overview. We chose two games – Dota and Counter-Strike “, says the founder of the school, Ilya Serebrennikov.
Children often ask for other games, the school team made a hit parade of requests, the leader of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in the genre of the royal battle. The second in the rating – a shooter Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six.
On the second module, more games become available so that the children understand if they want to become cyber sportsmen in the future or not. There is already chosen one discipline in which students are being improved. Without passing the previous level, students are not taken to the following: the organizers are sure that the stories about “I know everything” are fatal, and they themselves, despite being shod in e-sports, constantly make discoveries. The third block – the media part: games as content for blogging, streaming.
“This can make money – not being an athlete, and being a popular player.
For this, I think the Overwatch game is a good match. You can pay less attention to the game, more – to conduct conversations. The fourth block is associated with the development of games – this is another way to earn on them: game design, programming and so on. Maybe only on paper they will try, but still it will be a design document, “notes Serebrennikov.
On each course there are three classes, which come to the staff psychologist of the project and parses with the children different topics. For example, the meaningfulness of the game and culture, game addiction, teambuilding, how to find a place to play in your life. He helps to understand: the game is the future profession, its part, hobby or interesting content for the blog. And he teaches to work with an emotional response – for example, how to be, when you lose.
“An important point: a modern child still plays – it’s better with us than on the street.
Here we give supervision and grow meaningfulness. A very fashionable theme now is a game addiction. Our staff psychologist explains why this happens and how not to get there. If you approach it consciously, then there are no negative consequences if you stick it, then, of course, there are, especially when problems are added to it at school, with friends, with parents, “the school’s creator said.
Ilya Serebrennikov emphasizes that cybersport develops character and will to win. In his opinion, such skills as responsibility, bringing the case to an end, teamwork, system thinking, do not give the necessary degree of school and university, so they can be quickly and easily obtained during the game. That’s why about a year ago he decided to create this school. Ilya was engaged in the popular pop culture festival “Popcorn”, which was divided into three parts: one of them is devoted to cybersport.
“ESP experienced eSports in the region. We realized that, on the one hand, the interest here is growing, there are guys who are doing something, but on the other – to develop something explosive is not enough. In Moscow and in St. Petersburg are more vividly held e-sports events. The immovable Novosibirsk approach: we sit here under the snow and see that this does not come to us. And then they announced that eSports is recognized as the official sport (the second time). We realized that this is a topic – to start an e-sports education for schoolchildren, “Ilya Serebrennikov recalls.
At the start of the school took 200 thousand rubles: it was necessary to draw logos, develop a program. Most of the money went to advertising – 120 thousand spent on targeting.
Ilya says that he turned out to be ineffective for them and expensive, so you need to invite for training directly in schools.
“In principle, the time of payback we have occurred. We know how to make the product cool, but how to promote it in schools is a mystery to us, the mystery of the Sphinx. It is completely meaningless to go online. We are the first link to stand in Google on request “eSports school.” We run the site 10 times a day, conducting analytics: a man came to us, walked, and then got lost here – we need to solve the problem, “he explains.
They developed this way: they were looking for people on the web, they brought to the site and offered to sign up for the presentation, which is conducted by the whole team – the creator, psychologist, teachers and the author of the program. Ilya says that about half of those who came to the presentation, become customers, but of those who signed up for the presentation, reach 20-30%.
“The biggest gap is how to transfer a person from online to offline. The main figure we wanted to get is a blade in the process of training. The most important indicator that is difficult to measure at a short distance. On average, they received 17% for the first month – it is more than acceptable. The longer a person walks, the lower this figure. The blade of the third month – 0 “, – rejoices Serebrennikov.
Now, the owner notices, the main need of the school is technology: it is powerful and expensive.
Need 12 computers, the minimum cost of one – 50 thousand rubles, better with a margin, that is 70-80. Therefore, in order to expand the project, you need a million, – the school’s organizers are looking for an investor to go with new capacities in September.
According to Ilya, a good story for the school is laptops: mobile, no one is attached to the room. He notes that while they can only say what will happen in a year, they are skills and a set of artifacts for entering the university, for example, samples of comments. And what will happen to the project in five years is unknown.
“We have no one to rely on. This is cool, because the sphere is new. I have a feeling that we live in some blue ocean and it’s not clear where to swim. We sailed a month and realized: it works well, here we made a mistake and so on. Quickly corrected – the next group on this module is already on the advanced path, “- explains Serebrennikov.
Ilya himself refers to the games as an art: “At first books were a moral guide – this hero is good, this bad, do it and do not do it, then the cinema, and now this is in itself games.” For him, play is a way to know the world.
Ilya says that his computer at home appeared in three years – it was a favorite source of information about the world, the environment. He learned English on computer games, because parents were not up to that and in the first grade at school such discipline was not.
“I had a game in English – an economic simulator, and my dad gave me his university dictionary, because I needed to know a lot. At some point I had to play with foreigners in online games, and I was able to communicate with them. So it was with 3d modeling and programming. Even a literary language is learned when you play quality games. I like to play no longer in cybersport games, but in the plot – like the third “Witcher”. I work as a commentator: my analyst is rather weak, but I try to try everything we teach, “says Serebrennikov.
Once he himself was faced with the fact that he was forbidden to play at home, got the elements from the computer, – so Ilya learned to solder. That’s why he understands pupils who tell how their keyboards, mouse and so on are taken away from their homes.
“Most people think that if the child is playing games, then at 25 he will be tattered, unshaven, lying in a ditch and his life will be over. Many people think that the Internet is evil. This is a public stereotype, with which we are fighting, and no one is fighting anymore. If the games were not declared an official sport in Russia, then it was possible not to start this project. So we have at least some argument. That is, there are our beautiful arguments and there is one iron one: the ministry is ready to believe, “the school’s creator worries.
Ilya explains that many applications do not reach the next stage precisely because of a conversation with parents who say to the child: “It is better to teach geography.”
“Parents do not have time, they are busy. We offer to play with the child, ask why he likes it and why he chooses this character. Our idea is this: through games one can find a common language, and not lose. It goes through my life: my mother still thinks that I’m doing nonsense. I would like to fight this, “Ilya dreams.
And one more important problem, according to Serebrennikov, is the inability to collect parents, invite them to a dialogue, including for feedback about the learning process.
“When we say:” Let’s talk, “we meet completely ignored on the Internet, but we can not bring them here. Feedback is not enough: is there any change in the child. It seems to us that it’s better, but we do not see children 24 hours a day. 50 people were disaccustomed, and three parents talked to you – somehow not very. One of the key problems. “
The creator of the school is sure that 99% of their students are those who want to play legally. 1% is a unique case.
“For example, there was a father with his son, who have no problems: they play together, try something new, and came to grow: his father believes that his son will learn. They have mutual understanding – it’s cool. It is evident that they are having fun together. This is what we would like for everyone, “- Serebrennikov concludes.