Last year, at a Google Education Summit, I was introduced to an incredibly fun, yet educational, collaborative game called BreakoutEDU. The concept of BreakoutEDU comes from the idea of escape rooms where groups of people agree to be locked in a room and they must beat the clock to search their surroundings for clues to unlock a series of locks that are keeping them inside.
If you want to introduce something challenging that will get your students collaborating and using critical thinking skills, then this is definitely worth trying at least once. Although the physical version of BreakoutEDU is great, you must have all of the required supplies to use it, which can be costly. Just in case you are interested, the creators of BreakoutEDU do offer a ready-to-use kit, but it’s $125. However, you can look at the contents of the kit and put one together yourself for considerably less. You can also find traditional BreaktoutEDU games on their site and register for access to more games. Be SURE to read the confirmation text after submitting because that is where you’ll get your code.
So what is this about Digital Breakout EDU games? Simply put, it’s taking the same concept, but turning it all digital. Participants are given a one-page site that includes text, images and links to clues, some of which may be misleading. There is a Google Form embedded on the page where you submit your answers to a series of “lock” questions and each lock will immediately tell you if you’re successful. As a teacher, go through the game yourself first so you’ll know what to expect and know how to guide your students if they get stuck. I hate to admit getting stuck on the last lock of a digital breakout…designed for 2nd graders!! I had to ask a co-worker for help, which is why the game is meant to be collaborative. It takes teamwork to solve the clues.
Traditionally, all BreakoutEDU games are timed activities, with the objective to breakout before time runs out. Physical breakout games are given 45 minutes to solve the clues. However, digital breakouts may take far less time. You will need to decide, based on the difficulty of the game, how long they’ll have to solve the clues.
In the classroom, I suggest breaking your students down into small groups with one computer per group. For younger students, you may want to do the activity as a whole class challenge.
If you’re ready to give it a try, here are some resources to get you going. You can even try to create one of your own. If you do, please post the link in the comment section at the bottom of this post!
- Soar’s Escape – 2nd Grade (the one I got stuck on)
- List of Digital Breakout Games – NOTE: The difficulty level does NOT correspond to grade levels!!
- BreaktoutEDU Digital Sandbox
- Tom’s Digital Breakouts – History oriented, but there are math, ELA and science breakouts. Middle and High School level
- Digital Breakout Template – Make your own!
- BreakoutEDU Resources – Padlet wall