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Bluffs creating computer science courses, e-sports team

BLUFFS – Bluffs high school students can get more hands-on with computers starting this year after the district received a grant to establish a computer science program.

Bluffs received $20,000 from the Tracy Family Foundation to help purchase computers and programs for its computer science classes.

Social studies teacher Zack Morrissey said the grant will cover most of the start-up costs.

While Bluffs has a program where every student has a school-issued Chromebook, Morrissey said the laptops don’t have the capabilities needed for some of the more advanced computer science programs. Projects like coding and creating 3D creations can require a lot of computer power.

Morrissey said he and teacher Jordan Mueller discussed buying desktops, but decided against it because of a lack of space and because the laptops could also be used for an e-sports team for West Central. co-op.

The team allows students from Winchester and Bluffs to become participants in competitive gaming, including League of Legends, Fortnite and Apex Legends.

“It helps teach kids to work together,” Morrissey said. “Competitive play is team-based. Every team they face is different, so their challenge is different.”

Morrissey said students also learn communication, problem solving and sportsmanship.

There is also a communication or streaming aspect to it for students who don’t want to play games, but want to practice video streaming.

Both programs are expected to start this year.

Morrissey said it will take some time to receive the new laptops so the computer science course starts with basic computer skills before moving on to more advanced lessons.

The e-sports team will be built once the computers arrive.

“We work with the National High School Sports League,” Morrissey said. “They have tournaments throughout the year, so as soon as we have a team and the equipment, we can go right in, play competitively.”

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