As I highlighted in my updated plan for my Major Project, in addition to a physical breakout, I also wanted to explore the digital breakout option that Breakout EDU offers. As the name indicates, these breakout experiences are drastically different from the physical ones as they are designed (and played) on the Breakout EDU website or mobile app. While I would like to begin designing my next breakout experience right away, I feel that it's important to explore digital breakouts a little deeper before beginning.
How do I find a Digital Breakout?
Unsurprisingly, to use the digital breakout feature you still have to have access to a Breakout EDU account - which runs for about $100 for a year subscription. As I mentioned in my previous post, while this is certainly a steep cost, if you plan on using both the physical and digital breakouts regularly in your classroom, it may be worth the price. However, if you are looking to spend less money (or none at all), Breakout EDU also offers free digital games that have been submitted by users, which can be found by changing the search filter to "digital" and "user-submitted". Although, as this blog post solely focuses on the paid version, we will assume that you were walking down the street and magically found a $100 bill and had nothing better to spend it on than a subscription to Breakout EDU.
If you are only looking to facilitate preexisting games with your students, Breakout Edu's database provides access to over 800 different games that tie into various subjects and grade levels. At first glance, this seemed pretty awesome as there were tons of games that focused on the core subjects and I could easily see myself using with my students. However, when I did a quick search for anything related to Digital Citizenship, what was once a large pool of games, dried up into a puddle of three breakouts. For such an important aspect of education, it was quite surprising to see next to nothing in this subject area.
How do you play a Digital Breakout?
As an educator, before you assign the game for your students, you are taken to a page that provides you with everything you would need to facilitate the game. Since these games are played online, there is no set-up the only information on this page is the combination of the digital locks as well as a brief explanation of the game.
For the game itself, they begin with a title screen that includes the story/theme as well as the various digital locks that need to be solved to complete the game. These locks are very similar to the ones that are used in the physical breakouts as they can include any number of the following:
When you click on one of the locks to solve, it takes you to a separate page with a prompt and a puzzle to solve. These puzzles range from text, images or videos which guide the players to a combination that matches the type of lock they are trying to solve. When players believe they have the correct combination for the lock, they are able to enter it at the bottom of the page and if they are correct they will be redirected to the home screen.
Designing Digital Breakouts
While my next post will most certainly cover the process I used to design a digital breakout, I thought it might be cool to explore a different feature that Breakout EDU offers: Student-Designed Breakouts. This feature wasn't something I was initially aware of, but the more I explored the "class" function, it seems pretty awesome. Essentially with a purchased subscription you also have the ability to create a "class" and provide each of your students with accounts that they can log in with the usernames that you create, or through their Google Classroom accounts. In addition, you not only have the ability to assign games for your students to play, but students also have the ability to create their own games. This adds an entirely new dynamic to using Breakout's in the classroom as instead of just having students apply their knowledge of a topic by playing a game, they now have the ability to extend it even further by creating games for their peers. As a teacher, this definitely excites me as it would be a really fun tool to use for students to demonstrate their understanding of class content.
Below are my key takeaways when it comes to student use:
Terms of Service & Privacy:
Well, this sums up my research into the digital breakouts on Breakout EDU! Stay tuned for my next post, which will chronicle the process I used to create my very own digital breakout centred around digital citizenship. Thanks for reading!