A yellow sign on which are drawn console controllers and the inscription ” keep out “(“Do not enter”) is stuck on the door of room N-105 of the Paul-Verlaine college in Mureaux, in the Yvelines. She could decorate any teenager’s room, except for one detail: the inscription ” Pedagogical Gaming Zone (“educational play area”). Something to recall the school setting of the workshops combining learning and video games that take place there every Thursday, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Inside are plugged in PlayStation 5s, Nintendo Switches and rows of computers. Equipment financed by Seine-et-Yvelines Numérique, the digital operator of the departmental council, which initiates and subsidizes e-sport workshops in three establishments: in Les Mureaux therefore, but also in Chatou and Trappes. Enticing for any fan of video game worlds, the installation suggests that the twenty students who make up each group will rush loudly on it like a birthday snack. But, on the contrary, the college students sit quietly at tables arranged in a U and wait for the speaker to call each time the workshop begins.
“Here, there is no problem with discipline”, confirms Zouhir Harnoufi, professor of life and Earth sciences (SVT) for twenty years in this college classified as a priority education network (REP). All participants know that the slightest deviation will be sanctioned. “Somehow, they don’t want to disappoint because we haven’t disappointed them. We promised them things, we have equipment and we are always there”details the one who takes care of the workshops on a voluntary basis, under the impetus of the digital delegation of the Versailles Academy which co-pilots the project launched in the fall of 2021.
Introduction to “LoL”
Each session lasts one hour and brings together students of different levels. The first fifteen minutes are devoted to a presentation on one facet of the competitive practice of video games, e-sports. It is provided by a member of ArmaTeam, which is one of the pioneers of the discipline in France. That day, Emmanuel Jocsan, project manager in the Ile-de-France structure, explained the basics of League of Legends, which is played five against five and which allows you to work on group cohesion, strategy and responsiveness. Many are already familiar with the game, whose competitions bring together millions of spectators.
It is therefore not a question here of lazing in front of the screen or simply of having fun: it is a real initiation to the requirements of electronic sport. ” When they are interested in our workshops, most outsiders immediately think of home video games. But competitive video games are not the same thing at all. There, there are challenges to be met, stimulation and emulation”emphasizes Mr. Harnoufi.
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