EdTech Updates 2018: Breakout EDU

Screen_Shot_2017-09-21_at_1.27.39_PM_1024x1024It wasn’t that long ago that I shared some of what was new with Breakout Edu along with some games I created this past year. In it, I shared how Breakout EDU has moved towards a subscription model. That doesn’t mean you can’t still access tons of amazing content or create your own Breakout resources for free. You can. It just means for those with the subscription, you have more options available to you. Now for the new school year, they’ve added a few new elements to make it more worthwhile.

Here’s a quick overview for the uninitiated. Breakout EDU is an escape room in a box for your class. Why? Because, for some reason, parents frown upon you locking their kids in a room, so Breakout put it in a box. Also why? It promotes 21st-century learning skills in a playful and challenging way. That means students are challenged, but in a manner that requires them to work collaboratively to succeed. You know, like life. So here is an overview of all that’s new as well as a number of pre-made games and resources to help you create your own. You can check out an overview of the platform for more thorough information on everything that is available.

What’s New

  • 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.
  • static1.squarespace.pngDigital 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. There are 200 new digital games available. 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.
  • Student Game Builder – I have had students design games for each other in the past, but now there is a method to create student logins and have students submit their games to the teacher for approval. You can create an entire library of students games on whatever topic you’re studying.
  • Breakout EDU Apps – The Locks App is a great way to provide links to digital content. You can create text, direction, color, and other locks that will give students access to an image, text, or a URL. I usually lock the iPad via Guided Access to prevent issues. Now though there is also the new Tags app for Android and for iOS. It allows to students to scan a breakout tag, QR code, or RFID reader to access a digital breakout game on their mobile device.

Extra Resources

Your-brain-is-the-keyAs I explained earlier, Breakout EDU has its own platform for digital games now, but many used to (and still do) create their own digital breakouts using Google Forms and Google Sites. Here are tutorials and resources to help you create those digital games in addition to resources for the physical games.  I’ve also included links to several pre-made games to help you get rolling immediately.

Tutorials & Resources

Screen Shot 2018-09-14 at 11.14.39 AM.pngExample Digital Games

Here are a number of example games like this Classic GBL Breakout you can play with your students right now. For most of these though, answers are not included.

Google Site Breakout Collections

Other Individual Breakouts

These should be more than enough to get you rolling with some game-based challenges. If you create a particularly awesome one, please share it with me. I’d love to try and solve it.

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