Well, it's that time! As we approach our final class this week, it's officially time to write my final blog post for this awesome class. While I learned so much over the past four months in our weekly Zoom classes, I have also really enjoyed having the opportunity to do some learning of my own - in the form of our Major Project. At the beginning of the semester, we were given a few choices for the route we wanted to take with our projects, and while initially I wasn't sure what I wanted to do specifically for the project, I did know that I wanted to complete something that would be useful to me as an educator. After some reflection, I ultimately decided on further exploring Breakout EDU's, specifically, learning how to create my own games that would highlight Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. In addition to using Ribble's work, I also wanted to align my breakout games with the PAA Digital Citizenship Online Course that is offered by my division. While this technically is an online course, I thought it would be beneficial to add a blended component through the addition of summative breakout games that could be utilized in a physical classroom setting.
So...Where did I start?
While I was certainly excited to begin creating my very own breakout game, I knew I had to do some research first. As a result, the first phase of this project was strictly research and I spent hours learning more about:
Once I had finished up with my research, I was finally ready to begin working on my first breakout game. As I mentioned in my Major Project: Breakout Update One post, after settling on a physical breakout experience, the first thing I decided before I began working on the game was what topic I was going to cover. Ultimately, I decided on Digital Security, as it was something that I had learned a lot about during our class that week - specifically Digital Privacy and Terms of Service. Once I had the topic covered, I began working my way through the rest of the game design, and while I learned lots of lessons along the way (more on that later), I honestly had a blast during this stage of my project. I definitely felt a little guilty as I had so much fun creating puzzles and brainstorming stories, that it didn't feel like work to me.
The Final Product
As I mentioned in my initial post, once I finished creating this breakout, I had one final decision to make - where do I put it for people to access? In the end, I decided to utilize both Microsoft Office 365 as well as Google Drive. Microsoft Office 365 was my main choice for sharing with my division as this is the software that we are currently using and the breakout was partially tailored to link to their Digital Citizenship Online Course. I also decided to use Google Drive as many people outside my division have Google Accounts, and also using Google Drive is required if I decide to officially submit my game.
1. Google Drive Version of Game
2. Microsoft Office 365 Version of Game
While I really enjoyed the experience of designing my very own digital citizenship breakout game, I quickly learned that the process involved far more time and organization than I had initially thought. At the end of my blog post, I summarized the following key learning points: from this experience:
As I indicated at the end of my initial update post, during my research phases for Breakouts, I quickly realized that while some user-designed games had interesting themes and topics, without clear facilitator resources, it would be almost impossible to use. With this in mind, I knew that if I wanted other educators to use this game, I needed to create detailed instructions and support documents that would help them facilitate the experience easily within their classrooms. Ultimately I decided to create the two documents that Breakout EDU recommended - a step-by-step guide as well as a summary video. Feel free to check both out below:
Initially, I had planned to do a second physical breakout, but ultimately pivoted my project a little and wanted to explore Digital Breakouts that I had come across earlier in my research. While this would be different - because they took place entirely online -I still felt that many of the lessons I learned in the first part of my project would still apply and I wouldn't be starting from scratch. Just as I had done with my first breakout, I settled on a digital citizenship topic first - Digital Literacy. This turned out to be quite timely as there was (and still is) so much misinformation online regarding the COVID19 crisis.
The Final Product
As I highlighted in my Update Two Post, I didn't need to worry about curating any planning documents or resources because for Digital Breakouts everything is housed on the Breakout EDU website. This was both a positive and a negative, as it's certainly easier to facilitate the game with students simply go to a website to participate, but on the flip side, educators need to have a subscription to Breakout EDU in order to access it. While certain educators would be able to access the game, the vast majority would not - which doesn't fully meet the initial goal I set for this project. However, thanks to Curtis' suggestion, I could also adapt this game in the future into a more accessible game format such as a Google Form Breakout or OneNote Breakout.
Now onto the final result! If you would like to check out the game, I have made a temporary password on the Digital Breakout website for you below. Just click on the link and enter the username and password to access my temporary account. Then click on "Games Library" to play the game.
Digital Literacy Saves the World
Just in case the link is no longer working, here are some screenshots from each aspect of the digital breakout:
Just as I did with the previous breakout, I felt it was important to create a facilitator guide that would help other educators if they wanted to use this game with their students. However, as my second breakout was digital, there really wasn't much planning or prep work that would need to be done. As a result, the document I created was essentially an overview of the game with specific information about how each lock works as well as a detailed explanation for how to solve them. Ultimately this guide can be used by educators as both a summary of what they breakout will entail, as well as a "cheat sheet" to help their students if they are stuck on a lock.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable project as I not only grew more familiar with the Digital Citizenship Continuum but also creating/facilitating breakouts within a classroom. I believe both of these skills will help me to become a better educator, and I look forward to continuing to apply these skills in the future. I would highly recommend that any educator looking to try something different in regards to lesson prep or formative assessment, to give Breakout EDU's a try. Even without a subscription to the full service, many other free games can be utilized, or even better...create your own! Thank you very much for following my journey on this project. As always, please feel free to let me know of any questions or comments you have surrounding my project!