eSports class supercharges competitive learning space for meaningful education pathways

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday
A partnership between HP and Coomera Anglican College aims to improve tech-driven education at the Gold Coast school.
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HP Australia recently partnered with Coomera Anglican College to help the Gold Coast school revolutionise its delivery of digital education.

Mark Mendez-Cortes is the independent school’s Head of Media Arts and eSports and is spearheading an in-depth eSports environment. He told EducationDaily that his vision for this initiative is to provide a holistic view of how students can develop real-life career skills across various domains such as coding, game software development, journalism, marketing, broadcasting, and commentating. 

By creating a competitive learning space, Mr Mendez-Cortes hopes to nurture meaningful pathways into industries and boost opportunities for students to pursue fields of interest – as well improve their education around safe gaming habits. Fostering skills in broadcast media is also a strong focus.

“Our eSports initiative supports students in developing an understanding of broadcast media through live streaming, leadership, mentoring, commentating, and production management,” Mr Mendez/Cortez told EducationDaily.

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“Although it is still in its early stages this year, with assistance from HP, our students are acquiring skills in event management and planning. They also assist with the ongoing development of future opportunities such as our annual Girls in Gaming Tournament (hosted by students for students) and our Senior Secondary Fortnite Tournament.”

The overall support from HP, he says, “also helps create an environment through resourcing and support for cocurricular programmes where students can experiment, innovate, critically challenge content, and prepare for successful careers in the rapidly evolving fields of eSports and the creative industries”.

The rise of the eSports industry

With the global surge in the popularity and commercial significance of the eSports industry and its representation both on professional and local stages, intertwined with media arts, Mr Mendez-Cortes told EducationDaily he sees an industry with vast career pathways and opportunities.

“By offering an eSports initiative alongside our media arts department, we prepare students for real-world applications in game design, broadcasting, teamwork and collaboration and digital content creation,” he says.

“eSports and media arts stand at the crossroads of technology, culture, and communication – especially in 2024. They offer a platform for students to engage with global cultures and communities and develop an understanding of social and cultural relevance. This exposure is invaluable for fostering global awareness and empathy, crucial traits in today’s interconnected world. As a college, our aim is to provide our students with rounded skills essential for success in future study and life.”

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Exploring new horizons

Creating an environment that enables technology and creativity to intersect is, says Mr Mendez-Cortes, about helping students explore their ability to “innovate, challenge, and think creatively”.

“The challenges posed by media arts within eSports – such as developing engaging content or leveraging technology for narrative storytelling – stimulate inventive thinking, problem-solving, and an acute awareness of today’s ever-changing world.”

Community and Service are the focus areas for both the school’s media arts department and the eSports initiative at Coomera Anglican College, he says.

Students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers and engage with the broader community, through events that include the school’s annual CAC Film Festival, hosted by the senior class of the given year, that Mr Mendez-Cortes says allows “students to display and celebrate the work of all students – from Years nine to 12 – on the large screen at the local cinemas.

Their eSports initiative includes a Student Ambassador leadership position that aims to represent the student voice in future planning and peer leadership within the college.

“Our students also gain practical experience by attending and covering college events,” Mr Mendez-Cortes told EducationDaily.

“They create content and capture college functions, which not only enhances their technical and creative skills but also contributes to their future portfolios.”

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Tech tools support career pathways of tomorrow

HP’s support, says Mr Mendez-Cortes, has been important to the growth of Coomera Anglican College’s eSports initiative.

“Through the provision of high-end technology and equipment, HP enables our students to access and utilise industry-standard tools essential for both competitive gaming and media production. With this technology backing, we can open doors for students to effectively run sophisticated software for game design and broadcast media, preparing them with the skills needed for potential future careers in these fields,” he told EducationDaily.

To help facilitate the school’s visionary goal, HP supplied the college with HP Omen PC devices to make a significant change for the school’s stance on tech-driven education – with the tech tools the HP Education Ambassador Brett Salakas says are an ideal fit for the college’s unique eSports initiative.

Mr Salakas told EducationDaily that the introduction of HP Omen devices into the educational sphere strengthens the school’s vision and HP’s commitment to developing robust digital practices.

From the students’ perspective – according to one Year 12 student – the fact that the devices are “faster, more powerful, look cooler and are just better” makes the new equipment a winner.

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Mr Salakas says the feedback underscores what he describes as “the enhanced performance and reliability” that the tools bring to their educational and creative pursuits.

Promoting creative innovation

This partnership exemplifies the shared vision of Coomera Anglican College and HP in creating an environment that promotes innovation, creativity, and excellence,” says Mr Salakas.

“By weaving cutting-edge technology with education, it’s a partnership that goes beyond merely integrating technology into education; it’s about creating a future where students engage with the forefront of digital competitiveness and innovation.”

Incorporating tech in education today, he says, goes beyond simply having the tools; it’s about integrating them into the core of learning.

“Tech-driven education has become a vital component of schools, evolving rapidly to integrate technology into Australian classrooms. This evolution is evident through the widespread adoption of tools like computers, interactive whiteboards, and educational software, enhancing learning experiences,” he told EducationDaily.

“The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift towards remote learning, highlighting the importance of digital literacy and personalised learning approaches. As technology continues to advance, its role in education is very important, fostering collaborative learning environments and providing students with access to diverse resources and opportunities for growth.”

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And with eSports proving to be an emerging interest across Australian schools, Mr Salakas says HP is “deeply rooted by the philosophy that all innovation should have the student at the centre of all decisions and to create the perfect technology to suit Australian kids”.

Media arts education critical to creating “well-informed” community

At Coomera Anglican College, Mr Mendez-Cortes says that offering students direction in the areas of eSports and media arts is “crucial”.

“These offerings educate students on collaboration, leadership, and project management, alongside the importance of healthy gaming habits, ethical behaviour online, and effective screen time management,” he told EducationDaily.

“These foundational lessons ensure students develop a balanced and responsible approach to technology and encourage a well-informed community. This approach supports the development of well-rounded individuals who are prepared to positively contribute to society, ensuring they are ready to flourish in both professional and personal endeavours.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]