I love Breakout games and watching students interact with each other to solve problems. What I don’t like about physical breakout games is students missing out on some of the puzzles. The collaboration is great, but when using it as a review, not all students experience the same things. Digital breakouts can be done in groups of 2 or individually and allow the students to experience all of the puzzles.
I created a tutorial for digital breakouts a few years ago, but with the changes to Google sites, the process is sooooo much easier now.
Here is an image that outlines the basic steps.
- I try to write my prompts and story ahead of time. This saves me time when I’m putting everything in a Google Site. For the Christmas Breakout I recently wrote, my story line was kind of lame 😦 but it went along with the 12 days of Techmas I created for my school.
2 and 3. I create my clues in Google Drawing or Google Slides, and I use outside sources like jigsawplanet.com and Snotes. The more creative you are the more fun your breakout will be. I was provided a document from Charles (I wish I knew your last name) at the EdTech Team Summit in Topeka. His crowd-sourced document is loaded with great ideas for digital breakouts.
This first image of the gnome I uploaded into jigsaw planet and created a puzzle, and the second one has a clue hidden in the music notes. You can also overlay transparent images on a Google Drawing so it makes an area clickable. See the animation below.
You can add more images for visual appeal or as fake clues. You also want your background and titles to be fun. I created some fun graphics in my TrianglesOnly.com breakout.
4. You will use a Google Form to create your locks. I sometimes embed a countdown timer from youtube. BreakoutEDU has a great one that is free to use.
You can also use images of locks to visually represent what lock they are looking for. You want to click the 3 dots in the bottom right corner and select response validation. Set the lock code to what you want. Remember, they are case sensitive so tell your audience how to type it.
5. Now we will put it all together. I use Google Sites (sites.google.com) and house everything there. You can pull directly from your Google Drive to embed your Google Drawings (with transparent links), Google Forms, and any images you have stored in your drive. Word of caution, if you plan to use multiple pages (which I sometimes do) have participants open the Google Form in a new tab so they don’t lose the combinations they have already entered when they click on a new link in the site. If you are not familiar with Google Sites, Matt Miller has a walk-through on Ditch That Textbook that will help.
Here is a link to a Christmas Breakout I made to follow-up our 12 Days of Techmas.
And another Breakout for Geometry called TrianglesOnly.com
Hopefully you will find creating Digital Breakouts as fun as I do. I know my students love them.