Thursday, June 8, 2017

Summer 2017: Digital BreakoutEdu

BreakoutEdu has been an exciting development in education.  Kids love discovering clues, solving puzzles, unraveling mysteries, unlocking locks, and competing with other groups to finish first.  And while most people know about the physical games and kits, few are aware of the amazing world of digital breakout games.  This summer class explores digital breakouts--what they are, where to find them, and how to make them.

Try it!

Teachers in our district and around the world are creating digital breakouts to make learning fun.  Team up and try one out!

Cha-Ching by Anna Martin and Emily Bozdeck -- 1st grade, Concord
Tic-Tic-Toc by Sarah Behnen -- 2nd grade, Crestwood
Og's Great Adventure -- 2nd grade
Monkey Cage Breakout -- 4th grade
JFK by Greg Seagraves -- 7th grade - Truman Social Studies
Ticket to the Bahamas -- HS math/probability
Poetry Breakout -- Middle School ELA

Learn how to do it!

Now that you have experienced a breakout, think about these questions:

  • What technology tools did the teacher incorporate into the breakout?
  • How did the teacher bring the curriculum in?
  • How would I start to plan a breakout?
  • If my students were participating in the breakout, what would I be doing?

All digital breakouts have a few things in common, including:
  • a storyline that is fun and engaging
  • a goal (usually unlocking a Google Form lock)
  • clues that reveal hidden challenges and mini-games
  • new ways for students to engage in the content
  • opportunities for learning (new and old) and teamwork

Some breakouts also include:
  • a timer -- a clock ticking down always adds more excitement to the game
  • distractors -- content information that is not needed to unlock locks)
  • physical challenges -- clues that require students to find/do something in your classroom
  • puzzles that are more about critical thinking, abstract thinking, and teamwork  
  • clues that must be solved through online research

When designing your own breakout, try this planning strategy:
  1. Choose the content topic or theme for the breakout.
  2. List the knowledge, skills, and new learning you want students to apply.
  3. Thinking about each item on your list, consider the possibilities, brainstorming ways students could apply their learning during the game.
  4. Build your challenges and mini-games.
  5. Build your lock (Google Form)
  6. Assemble your breakout using Google Sites.
  7. Have someone beta test it.

Most digital breakouts use the same basic technology components:
  • Google Sites -- website construction
  • website text with hyperlinks to off-site content
  • Google Forms -- the lock
  • Google Draw -- add clickable hyperlink "hotspots" to images
  • Jigsawplanet -- build your own jigsaw puzzle using an image file (jpeg)
  • an iPad or cell phone -- Make a video introducing a real-world problem.  Upload it to YouTube.
  • Google Docs and Slides -- formats for visual and written clues, such as a cryptogram
  • resources found at (browse the "Build Your Own" section)

Take time now to design and begin building your own breakout game.  It may be best to collaborate with a partner or a team on bringing your idea to life.

Share it!

When you have something ready for testing, share it!  Get feedback on your design.  Was it challenging?  Was it fun?  Were there too many clues?  Were the locks too easy or too hard to open?

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