#CANISIUSCIC – BreakoutEDU: Try it, learn about it, build takeaways

#CANISIUSCIC - BreakoutEDU: Try it, learn about it, build takeaways

The last presentation that I will report on was fascinating. It was a game-based learning activity from a company called BreakoutEDU. This was another presentation facilitated by Kathleen Gradel and accompanied by Lisa Melohusky both from SUNY Fredonia.

Two teams were pitted against each other in a timed game where they had to solve a number of problems to open locks to achieve the final objective. Lots of fun!

The Game

Gradel and Melohusky began by dividing the group of participants into two groups. Note: we were not allowed into the classroom early, it was taped off with hazard tape. It added to the suspense.

Once we were assembled in the room, they explained how BreakoutEDU worked. You can learn more through their presentation.

In our case, we were tasked to find clues hidden in the room, solve puzzles to unlock locks, and open the cases available to us. The clues were interconnected. For example, one clue involved a periodical table of elements and required us to conduct an online search to solve the problem.

If I remember correctly, there were five locks to open. Each lock was a different type: key, number combination, letter combination, sliding, and a different number combination. Our puzzle also incorporated QR codes and a special flashlight.

To solve the puzzles, we had to rely on teamwork. This is one of the strong points of the exercise. I plan to use this as part of my student success seminar in the fall to help them get to know each other. If you were stuck, you could ask for a hint from the facilitators.

The Debrief

At the end of the game, we reassembled for a debrief where we reflected upon the exercise. To facilitate this, Gradel handed out debrief cards, which were part of the BreakoutEDU game.

Gradel pointed out that there were additional games available from the BreakoutEDU site that could be downloaded and used. You could modify these games to incorporate instructional lessons of your discipline. You also have an opportunity to develop and submit your own games. BreakoutEDU provides details on how to develop a submission.

The game does not only use physical locks, clues can also be unlocked electronically. Each game is supported with handouts and clues shared in a Google folder.

Games are grouped into categories:

  • ELA
  • History
  • Languages
  • Library
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology

I looked over a few of these games and they look like a lot of intellectual fun. They definitely involve a lot of creative thinking.

You can either purchase the kit from BreakoutEDU or build your own kits with a supply list provided. Ideally, you are building enough kits to support groups of 5-10 people. You can have multiple groups.

Shared Resources

I think you can also add elements from Escape Rooms to add to the fun. Here are resources for escape rooms:

Next Steps

If you are interested in learning more about this fascinating game-based activity, please stop by to chat with my in the TEI Synergy Center.

What are your thoughts about this type of student activity? Share in the comments below.

Other Gradel Presentations

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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