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Engage Students with Digital BreakoutEDU

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Breakout

There is something magic that happens when school becomes something other than, "question-correct answer-repeat." One strategy to break out of that pattern, engage students, and get them problem-solving is BreakoutEDU. Teachers can also create web-based breakouts or Digital BreakoutEDU.

What is BreakoutEDU?

Based on escape rooms, BreakoutEDU, created by Mark Hammons and James Sanders, involves students trying to use clues to crack multiple locks in a set amount of time (usually 45 minutes).

What is Digital BreakoutEDU?

Inspired by BreakoutEDU, teachers Justin Birckbichler and Mari Venturino created Digital BreakoutEDU. This strategy involves putting all the clues and a scenario on a single website. This is usually a Google Site, but as Rachel Murat proved with her presidential election digital breakout, they can be made on other platforms as well. The locks are housed on a Google Form. 

How Can Teachers Use Digital BreakoutEDU with Students?

Here at Gravelly Hill Middle School in Efland, NC, teachers are creatively using this strategy to engage students. Teachers revealed a class novel, reviewed plant structure, World War II, and poetry, all with digital breakouts. Overall, students enjoyed the process but it differs from typical classroom activities. Some students were frustrated at first but as they dug deeper, they became very enthusiastic and determined to break the locks. 

 

 "Can I do this for homework?" -Sixth-grade student running out of time to break all locks.

 

"I asked my son what he did at school today. He replied, 'I liberated Paris!'" -Parent of a seventh-grade student who competed a World War II digital breakout.

 

How Can Teachers Get Started Using Digital BreakoutEDU in Their Classrooms?

Here are some helpful links to get started:

Thank you for reading these ideas about engaging students with Digital BreakoutEDU. If you want to discuss further, please comment below or tweet me at @edtechtom

Kudos to my colleagues Suzanne DeConto (author of the content in the poetry breakout), Abbey Lyons (creator of the plant structure breakout), and Logan Riley (creator of the book reveal breakout).

Thank you Canva, the tool I used to make the image for this blog post. 

FULL DISCLOSURE: I HAVE NOT RECEIVED COMPENSATION OF ANY KIND FOR  MENTIONING THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES IN THIS POST. I WAS NOT SOLICITED TO WRITE THIS POST AND I HAVE NO RELATIONSHIP WITH ANY OF THE COMPANIES MENTIONED.

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Tom Mullaney is a Google for Education Certified Innovator who serves as the Digital Learning Coach at Gravelly Hill Middle School in North Carolina. In 12 years of teaching in New York and Pennsylvania, Tom has taught secondary Social Studies and Special Education. He shares innovative practices with the educational technology community on his Sustainable Teaching blog, and you can follow him on Twitter, @edtechtom.

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Tuesday, 24 May 2016

    Tom this looks so cool. I have got to introduce this to my daughter. What a creative and engaging way for her to learn about history and or literary giants. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Tom Mullaney @edtechtom
    Tom Mullaney @edtechtom Tuesday, 24 May 2016

    Thank you, Jon! Tweet me (@edtechtom) or e-mail me (mistermullaney@gmail.com) as questions arise.

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