Sunday, December 18, 2016

Beakout Edu and the idea behind it

I attended a Digital Day of Learning (DLD) in Medfield last spring and participated in a session using a game/box called Breakout Edu. About 20 educators gathered in a room and had to look for clues to unlock all the locks on the breakout edu box. About five minutes into the game I thought I had signed up for the wrong session and I was out of my comfort zone.  Fifteen minutes into the game and watching people collaborate and brainstorm and use teamwork to solve the problem I was intrigued.
The idea is that you are “locked” into a room with a time limit. There are clues scattered around that you must find and figure out. These clues eventually lead to a key or passcode that you can use to escape from the room and win the challenge. Escape rooms are great examples of the research that suggests the brain loves solving problems and novelty. When we experience new and intriguing tasks, reward chemicals are released – cementing learning and retention.  

A group of teachers adapted the escape room idea to their classrooms. James Sanders and Mark Hammons developed an activity that they titled BreakoutEDU. But instead of escaping from an actual room, BreakoutEDU players solve clues to open a series of locks and boxes with the ultimate goal of getting into the final Breakout box.  
When teaching a course last summer we implemented Breakout into our class and it was amazing to observe, the quiet student taking the lead, the team building and collaboration was impressive.  So, I decide to order for my high school and plan to test out this week.  I thought it would be a great activity before the holiday break. 


Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. The Breakout EDU Kit was created to get you going and hopefully answer questions you might have. Check out the video here  to see some tips about how you can get started with your Breakout EDU kit.
The Media Center/Library will have a box set up for you to sign out. In order to view how to setup the games you will need a password.  You will want to familiarize yourself with the available game to play located here.  

The teachers who created the idea sell a a BreakoutEDU kit. Everything you need to start your own game – locks, clues, boxes, ideas, links to downloads and games (some need extra locks and supplies so plan ahead).  They’ve done a great job of making the process very open-source and collaborative. So you can create your own kit, create your own game, share your game, borrow someone else’s game, adapt a game, adapt the kit – pretty much take the idea and use it in a wide variety of ways.  

My first game I participated in was:  TIME WARP -You will need a Password, once the school has purchased. The Story: In Time Warp players are lost in time and need to navigate the history of communication in order to return to the present
  • Game Designer: Mark Hammons & James Sanders
  • Ages: 14-Adult
  • Ideal Group Size: 5-15
  • Content Area: History / General Interest
I plan to start with the game this week.  The site provides a video on how to setup, resources to play and any addition items needed for the game.  I needed an additional lock with 4 codes and twine to setup.  These items can be found on Amazon or at a local hardware store.  

Be sure to use the Facebook group to get resources and to ask questions.
There seems to be a ton of things that are possible with BreakoutEDU. And the powerful thing about all of this? It’s great for the brain and good for kids.

Another scchool in our district has been using for faculty meetings and with one of my former social studies teachers from the high school, Laura Pagington.  She has been using with 8th grade students in social studies and we plan to collaborate next month with a large group of teachers!

I will be tesing out with two teachers in my department this week,Taryn in business and Jacquie in technology.  i think this will be a great activity before the break and a great way to get feedback before introducing to the rest of the building. I hope we implement during one of our PD days this year!

We hope to implement #ObserveMe so teachers can see it in action before planning a Breakout!
Stay tuned for reflection on this process!
Update ... We broke out!!
A student's reflection using Recap on the process of playing Breakoutedu.

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