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MHS Team Competes in Esports

By Ric Ornellas

Along with math and literacy, Molokai High School (MHS) is developing 21st century competitive skills. Esports!

MHS research shows engaging students in esports can help them build critical thinking skills, encourage teamwork, foster innovation, and promote self-directed learning, all elements of Hawaii DOE’s six general learning objectives (GLOs).

With learning objectives as a focus to bolster core math and literacy skills, DimensionU, a leading educational program used in over 40 U.S. states, was acquired January 2020, through the efforts of MHS Principal, Dr. Katina Soares, and Librarian and Curriculum Coordinator, Diane Mokuau. Math and english language arts (ELA) teachers earlier tested and endorsed the program objectives. Teachers and student focus groups found DimensionU’s unique combination of eplay interspersed with math or literacy questions as highly motivating and challenging.

An added attraction and challenge was the opportunity for MHS students to compete in 2020 Hawaii Math Games sponsored by DimensionU along with the Hawaii DOE Nanakuli-Waianae Complex at UH West Oahu Campus last Friday, March 13. Pressure was on.

2020 Hawaii Math Games registered more than 15 schools including elementary, middle and high schools in DimensionU’s math video competition aiming for 3rd, 2nd, and top trophies and medals. First-time ever MHS team of Reina Kahue Cabanting, Quedin Bumatay, Damarae Braxton, and Kenika Pule-Meyer, all ninth graders, fought against Waianae High School and Papa Hana o Kaiona in heated bouts of algebra and geometry video competitions.

Just happy to compete — in a surprise win — the MHS team won the second place team trophy and Reina Kahue Cabanting and Damarae Braxton earned individual performance medals. The entire team wants to return next year, given the decline of the current COVID-19 epidemic, and plan to start a DimensionU Club at MHS to build students’ awareness and game skills for future competitions. Echoing the GLO, Reina said, “Playing these educational games builds teamwork because I’m good in math and Kenika is a better player so together we make a better team.”

While adults may question the violence of gaming, Waipahu High School Dimension M Math teacher Amelia Cook said, in a math variation of DimensionU, “The one thing different about Dimension M. is that it’s not violent. They get to goop each other, but they do not kill each other and the only way to win the game is to solve the problem correctly.”

This internet phenomenon is currently played globally by 201.2 million enthusiasts and estimated to grow by 2022 to 453.8 million. On U.S. college campuses, Esport games and centers are spreading exponentially. MHS students are gearing up to compete in this growing academic and competitive arena.

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