The Day We Broke Out

January 10, 2019

It's likely you've heard about the latest craze sweeping education at the moment - you know the one - the breakout room in a box. Well, as is the norm with me, I couldn't resist adding it to my bag of tricks!

 

Yep, I'm taking about BreakoutEdu; the game that combines boxes, locks, USB's, invisible ink, UV lights and cryptic clues to encourage collaboration, higher order thinking and total engagement. Now, this is not the first time I'd used a game like this to engage students with classroom content. In the past, I have run Amazing Race competitions as a means of content revision prior to an assessment. Whilst the students loved the odd Amazing Race, the set-up was extensive and running checkpoint questions around the campus was time consuming and exhausting. Cue the Breakout Box.

 

In using the Breakout Box, I'm able to formulate a series of questions and problems that lead students to uncover secret codes and find hidden keys in order to unlock numerous locks to break into a box and win the game. The clues can be as hard or as easy as I like, so that I can tailor the experience to any year level and any subject area. The real 'key' to the box is the cognitive stretch required of the students. Those who know me know that I'm not a huge fan of questions requiring basic recall. I prefer to focus on higher order thinking skills, as to achieve these skills, the lower order thinking skills come as a result. When participating in a BreakoutEdu challenge, students must also utilise 21st century skills such as problem solving, collaboration, co-creation of knowledge and critical and creative thinking in a somewhat student-centred environment.

 

Whilst the Breakout Box still requires a bit of set-up (none of which requires me to run around the school in stealth mode to hide clues and questions), it is an effective tool for drawing out the 21st century skills necessary for today's labour market, whilst covering content that is necessary to meet mandated syllabus objectives. For this very reason, it's become a popular tool in my toolkit. Its fair to say that this form of gamification has become a favourite for both students and teachers alike.

 

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