As the students pack up their kits and revel in their educational victories, it’s clear they love the excitement of trying to beat the clock to put their smarts to use.
“It’s an amazing feeling when you get that lock that you’ve been trying to unlock for five minutes,” says seventh-grader Brandon Huston. “We already know this stuff, but we get to use computers and talk it out with our friends. When we get to do that, it boosts productivity. Collaboration is key. There is always that one person who tries to help guide you to the finish line.”
Next year, teachers who use Breakout EDU will have an extra gadget in their educational tool belt. The company is adding the ability to create student accounts, giving each teacher insight into a student’s grasp of the lessons at hand.
“I can push out a game to students through the platform and it will attach data to the game,” Brucker says. “How long did it take them to play the game? How successful were they? So, for those teachers who do want more of an assessment, you get that added layer of quantifiable data.”
Breakout EDU also wrote a student course that kids can take to learn how to create and publish their own Breakout EDU games. It adds additional learning opportunities to the mix, encouraging the use of creative writing to not only set up the theme of the game but weave the clues together. They learn video production skills to help share their game in a multi-media way.
“This is a game changer,” Brucker says. “It changes the way teachers can supplement knowledge.”
Having used the boxes only twice, Thomas is already surprised at what he’s witnessed in his classroom.
“The first time the students come into the room and see the boxes, they are immediately curious,” she says. “They want to dig in and go for it. Once they realize that they need to do a little content-related thinking, they don’t even hesitate because their curiosity and competitive nature overrides any reservations they may have. My favorite moments come from students who traditionally struggle, but have found success in this area and they have seized the opportunity to learn.”