Author's Note: This post has been cross posted on Ditch the Textbook blog and Mari Venturino's blog.
|My Breakout EDU set up|
We (Justin & Mari) have run multiple Breakout EDU games with our students, and love seeing how engaged and motivated our students are, even those who less likely to participate in class. We realized how much fun these games were, while also being educational. We wanted to replicate them using only digital tools. With Google Forms and data validation, we were able to recreate the locked box and hasp. In our games, all clues are linked directly within a Google Site, and take some serious detective work to solve.
|The original beta tester - my little sister|
In mid-April, James Sanders reached out to us and asked if we’d like to officially become Breakout EDU Digital, and take on breakoutedu.com/digital. We responded with an immediate “yes!” and began integrating our content into the Breakout EDU website.
We’ve certainly learned a lot since we first launched our games. One lesson we've learned is that we constantly need to be flexible in our teaching. As part of our games we have a feedback form that allows us to hear directly from the people who are playing our games. We act on all feedback that we feel improves the games, which is something an effective teacher should always do as you gauge student reaction in class.
|My students playing "Overthrow the Co-Dictators"|
You can definitely tie your instructional content into a Breakout EDU, whether the box version or the digital type. For our digital game “Alcatraz Night Escape,” we included a number of facts and information about the history of Alcatraz necessary to unlock the Form. Other users who have created their own have also tied their content into their digital breakouts. Imagine how much more engaging this is than reading it from a textbook!
So how can you develop your own Breakout EDU Digital games? We’ve tried to streamline the process by having a “Build Your Own” button on the website. These are a series of screencast tutorials that model different elements of our games. The most important element is the Google Form that acts as the box. Under advanced settings on “short answer” (in the new Forms) or “text” (in the old Forms,) you must turn on “data validation.” From there, type in the desired response and add something like “Still locked” or “Keep trying” in the help text. If you don’t, it will give the answer to the students. There are plenty more tutorials available for you to watch, and we’re always on the lookout for new ideas!
|Breakout EDU Digital LIVE|
We predict an exciting future for Breakout EDU Digital. We recently launched a Digital Sandbox, where community members can submit their own games for others to play and provide feedback. Additionally, we are both building their own individual games and collaborating on games, and are on pace to release one game per week for the foreseeable future. We always love feedback and suggestions on new directions and how to improve our games.
So what are you waiting for? Go visit breakoutedu.com and breakoutedu.com/digital to learn more about how you can use it in your classroom. The students will be engaged, will collaborate, will develop interpersonal skills, will have fun, and will even learning something along the way!