Educational Esports Pioneers EStars Unveil the‘Classroom of the Future’ with Riyadh Schools

24 November 2023, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Cutting-edge classroom design set to transform school learning in the MENA region.

The Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future was exclusively unveiled at the Misk Global Forum.

Footballers Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson showed up as holograms, while stars like two-time world champion boxer, Amir Khan, esports influencer Brandon Smith, world famous physicist Dr. Michio Kaku and Saudi astronauts, Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni appeared in person.

The young leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the world who congregated at Riyadh's Misk Global Forum were shown a glimpse of the future, as educational esports pioneers, EStars, unveiled a new model for educating students in the MENA region.

Commissioned by Riyadh Schools, the Classroom of the Future provides a template for reinventing education. Using the best emerging technologies coupled with innovations from the world of esports and the best teaching practices, the Classroom of the Future empowers students to fully embrace the opportunities in the new knowledge-based economies into which they are growing up.

Featuring robotics, AI, gaming, virtual reality, and holograms within a carefully controlled setting (optimal lighting, scent and temperature) to engage learning, the Classroom of the Future wowed guests with its groundbreaking take on classroom design. Interactive presentations were delivered by esteemed partners including National Geographic, Aramco, Adidas and the United Nations; while prominent backers from sport, including England stars Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, and Dutch footballers Tim Krul and Marco Bizot, delivered motivational and thought-provoking messages as holograms.

The genesis of the Classroom of the Future idea came from a meeting between Dr Terence Brady, the curriculum director for Riyadh Schools, and Mags Byrne the CEO of EStars, the leaders in educational esports.

"How can we prepare young people while teaching them in the classrooms of the past, or even the present, if they are still in the industrial model? "said Dr Brady. "Mags Byrne of EStars and I sat down together about a year ago and said - esports labs, technology and ideas. If we merge them together, we can deliver the future for young people. We thought big, and we acted. Hopefully we now move to phase two, move this to a real classroom and see it in action. And most importantly we will see young people progressing and achieving through it."

The classroom was designed after extensive research and the input of expert consultants in the technology and education fields. The classroom is designed to create the ideal, flexible, optimised learning space. It's not just the sporadic addition of technology lessons. It starts from a reset of the fundamentals - the acoustics, lighting, and environmental conditions to facilitate learning. It then adds full immersion, advanced humanoid and industrial robots, holograms, next level VR (with sensory glove and Treadmill) and 3D printing/engraving to encourage creative, personalized learning. While many schools do already cover robotics/coding, the ESCotF features a unique holistic approach with next-generation devices. The next iteration can be expanded to integrate AI and biometrics. (An explanatory book by David Kerrigan, EStars Classroom of the Future has been published in both English and Arabic.)

"Developing the Classroom of the Future with Riyadh Schools has been a brilliant project for EStars", said CEO, Mags Byrne. "Collectively, we have designed the future; a fully immersive, inclusive and fun classroom. And the reaction of the students was what pleased us all the most. They want to embrace technology and study new subjects such as esports. It has been a very exciting few months for EStars".

Formed in the United Kingdom, with a flagship office in the Creative Hub, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, EStars has been generating significant buzz in the education and esports sectors through their three award-winning business strands: the After School Club, BTEC qualifications and room design and construction.

This buzz, culminating in the unveiling of the Riyadh Schools' Classroom of the Future, meant that a steady stream of Saudi government officials, VIPs and celebrities took the time to visit it in person at MGF23.

Former x2 World Champion boxer Amir Khan visited the Classroom of the Future and was clearly impressed, commenting, "We know kids today love sports and they love gaming so now it's about making this part of the curriculum so they can do jobs in the future where they will love what they do".

Esports influencer Brandon Smith agreed with Khan, sharing aspects of his visit by video with his two million followers on social channels, he commented "It's not all about playing games - there's lots of transferrable skills. Just look at the big brands involved and the opportunities in marketing, broadcasting - even esports in the Olympics. Time will prove what a good thing this is for students." Day 2 of the forum saw Smith present the inaugural lesson in the BTEC in Esports to students from Misk Schools.

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About EStars
EStars is the home of educational esports, with offices in Abu Dhabi from which it covers the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 2017 in the UK by CEO Mags Byrne, EStars is the global leader in educational esports, providing students with the skills they need to succeed in one of the world's fastest-growing industries.

EStars boasts their three award-winning business arms: the After School Club, BTEC qualifications and room design and construction. The After School Club is adynamic online platform, helping students develop essential skills by completing educational tasks, taking part in tournaments, and receiving esports coaching. The BTEC in Esports is accredited by Pearson Education, the world's leading education provider and is the only industry expert led BTEC in esports in the MENA region. Passionate about esports and education, EStars has formed, managed, and run almost 100 live events. The company’s vision is to become the best and most recognised provider of educational esports in the world, partnering with schools and institutions to provide innovative solutions that cater to their evolving needs. This includes their pioneering third vertical: the design and build of state-of-the-art rooms and gaming rooms, like the Riyadh Schools’ Classroom of the Future showcased at the Misk Global Forum, Riyadh, 15-17 November 2023.

About Riyadh Schools
The Riyadh Schools Platform is a subsidiary of the Misk Foundation and is developing and opening 44 schools across Saudi Arabia, teaching 65,000 children. There will be 34 schools in Riyadh: 10 in the provinces, with the first in Riyadh opening in 2024. The curriculum has been designed around Vision 2030 and its focus sectors, with the objective to move Saudi Arabia from an oil economy to aknowledge economy. Following the Misk Global Forum, the Classroom of the Future, designed in collaboration with EStars, will be moving to Riyadh Schools.

About MGF
The Misk Global Forum (MGF) is the biggest youth forum in the region, an annualflagship event hosted by Misk Foundation, dedicated to empowering and connectingyoung leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs globally. MGF serves as a dynamicplatform for fostering vibrant discussions, exchanging ideas, and creating networkingopportunities to nurture youth potential, encourage collaboration, and catalysepositive global change.

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