For more information, you can view the original post on BreakoutEDU.
Right now I’m drawing on the many Breakouts I’ve already facilitated for students and staff to prepare a large Breakout EDU adventure that involves gamified quests in time to present it at ISTE. I realized as I piece it together that Breakout EDU has made a number of changes in the last year to enhance what they do since the last time I shared it. While you learn about it, feel free to learn hands-on with a fun game-based learning breakout to get you going.
For the uninitiated, BreakoutEDU is a way for you to bring the fun and frustration of an escape room into your class. For some reason I can’t fathom, parents and administrators frown on locking kids inside a room, so BreakoutEDU gives you a box with a variety of locks and other tools to create a challenge where students find clues to unlock the box.
Now, why would you want to engage in this? For one, it brings the kind of joyful struggle that leads to students finding meaning and motivation in instruction. Second, it provides opportunities for students to engage in the kind of adventurous hands-on learning that directly employs the use of 21st-century skills while instilling resilience. Apart from that, the breakouts easily align with standards as students need to demonstrate problem-solving, read closely, look for contextual evidence, and analyze in addition to whatever subject the game topic addresses.
Breakout EDU has made it much easier to facilitate games with a platform login that removes the need to type a password to access any breakouts. You can decide whether you want to facilitate a physical or digital game and choose one of the many premade games or create your own. Don’t worry if you’re new since each game has complete instructions and all the printouts that you’ll need. In addition, you can access all of their help videos for more insight. I know this may seem difficult or counterintuitive but it’s important to allow students to struggle.
“When you steal a student’s struggle, you steal the learning. When you support the struggle, you take that student farther than ever.”
Here are a few things that Breakout has added in the last year to get your students exploring even more easily.
- Digital Facilitation Tool – This allows you to quickly access a timer, hint tracker, game signs, and an introductory presentation in Google Slides to explain the game to participants.
- Subject Packs – While they long had breakouts across multiple topics, now there are even more broken down by subject area, grade level, and game type. They’ve created a bunch of new games and offer many user-created games as well.
- Breakout Game Design Tools – An event better set of tools to help you design your own classroom breakouts that include templates, tutorials, and brainstorming sheets.
- Digital Breakouts – If breaking out of the box seems like too much or you want students to work more independently, Breakout now offers digital locks for students to break into. Previously this was accomplished using a Google Form embedded on a site (and it still can be), but the Breakout folks have simplified it by giving you pre-made digital breakouts in addition to tutorials. Don’t expect to have to be given the answers to their puzzles though. Here’s an easy sample.
- Digital Breakout Creation Tool – They allow you to create your own digital games with individual or sequential locks that include text, numbers, colors, directions, or shapes. It can also link to embedded images and videos to enhance your story and clues.
- Expanded Kits – Breakout now offers discounted bundles for classrooms and schools looking to purchase multiple sets. They even have an easy and school-friendly way to pay via a purchase order.
- Training – They offer personalized staff development in addition to their help on their site.
I will say that when I first heard that Breakout EDU was moving to a subscription model I was somewhat disappointed thinking that I would now have to pay to access all of the great content that was previously free. My fears were allayed though when I saw that they still offered a wide variety of free content from users as well as their previous breakouts. What the subscription gives you is access to the digital platform and some of the new subject pack materials. Don’t worry though. It seems like they will continue to produce free games as well like these end of year games in case you can’t continue to afford the subscription.