We're excited to share this week's new + featured Breakout EDU games.
These games require full Breakout EDU Platform access. To learn more, click here.
SIGN UP BELOW TO GET NEW RELEASE INFORMATION DIRECTLY IN YOUR INBOX.
These games require full Breakout EDU Platform access. To learn more, click here.
SIGN UP BELOW TO GET NEW RELEASE INFORMATION DIRECTLY IN YOUR INBOX.
These games require full Breakout EDU Platform. To learn more, click here.
After launching the Breakout EDU Platform just a few weeks ago, we have been hard at work on making it even better. While a lot of that work is going on “behind the screens” to increase speed, cross-browser compatibility, etc., we wanted to share with you some of the changes from the past week or so:
When creating a Digital Game you may notice that we added an optional text box to each of the Digital Game puzzles. Now, in addition to the clue (text, image, or video) that you provide, you can include text to set up the clue.
Playing games with Breakout EDU is a ton of fun. Building games is also a fun challenge. We updated the BreakoutEDU.com/create site with some helpful resources. The first is a printable PDF template that you can use when planning a digital game. The second is a submission for users who are creating Digital Games to share them. We look forward to showcasing some free user-generated games.
For letter or number puzzles, you can type in your answers in addition to the tap option.
In the spirit of Austin Kleon’s “Show your work” mantra, we wanted to share with you the brief tale of a feature that we quickly built and launched based on user feedback, but ultimately decided to remove based on - you guessed it, more user feedback. When playing a Breakout EDU Digital Game some users had become upset that their students had refreshed the screen and reset the game. We developed a feature that would produce a pop-up warning whenever a user was in a digital game and neared the edge of the browser. But this pop-up wound up confusing many more folks. We made the decision to remove it. Long story short - we learn from all the feedback we get from our users and make the best efforts to make the site better each and every day. We appreciate your patience as we improve it even further.
Here’s a sneak peek of a feature that we hope to launch in the next few weeks. We are building the ability to drag and re-order your locks while editing Digital Games.
We take every email to heart and every suggestion seriously. If you are having a problem on the site or have an idea that you want us to consider, please feel free to report it by filling out this form. Bug reports can be submitted at https://www.breakoutedu.com/bug - Feature suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
We’re excited to share with you some details on the new Breakout EDU Platform.
We wanted to take a moment and explain the new Breakout EDU platform and how you can access all the great free resources available.
The new site allows teachers to have accounts rather than having to enter the generic password every time they access a game. All of the 300+ games that were previously available are now available for free on the new platform. This includes great games from the Breakout EDU Team like Time Warp, The Dot, Totally Radical 80s Time Travel Adventure, and Dr. Johnson. You can sign up for your account here.
In each Subject Pack folder you’ll find a collection of games labeled “user generated”. That is where we’ll be housing all those games. We’ve also added the tag “free” to those games. We will continue to add games to these collections regularly.
In addition to the hundreds of free games and resources, we’re launching two new premium elements. On the platform you will find 100+ new “Subject Packs” that contain games for specific content areas and a tool for building custom digital games.
Our team is currently working hard to build games for as many subject areas and lesson topics as possible. Here’s a list of our first collections. If you don’t see the game you’re looking for, you can request new game topics.
The new tool is fantastic and you’re able to design custom games and track students progress. Here is an in-depth tutorial on how to use the new digital tool.
We’ve created a few examples so you can see how much fun your students will have with the the new Breakout EDU Digital. You can play a sample Halloween game we created for elementary students here.
In additional to all the standard Breakout EDU kit items. We now include in the kit the new color, shape, and number rings for your Multilocks and the red lens viewer.
Each Breakout EDU kit now includes 12 months of access to the platform. You’ll have the ability to renew your access for a discounted price. Additionally, users are able to purchase access separately without a kit. Here is the full pricing chart.
If you’ve ordered a kit previously with Breakout EDU shoot us an email with your order information and we can provide you with information on how to upgrade your account.
For more information on getting started with Breakout EDU please visit BreakoutEDU.com/welcome
Please reach out to us at info@BreakoutEDU.com if you have any additional questions.
My name is Jeff Hennigar and I'm a grade 4/5 teacher in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
How did you first learn about Breakout EDU?
It was about two and a half years ago and I had just discovered Twitter for personalized professional learning. I was looking for info about gamification when I saw a tweet about @breakoutEDU. I dug deeper to learn more, and that one tweet lead me down the rabbit hole.
What suggestions do you have for a teacher first getting started with Breakout EDU?
Some students might not be engaged the first time they play. Some might even get frustrated enough with the clues or their classmates that they remove themselves. Don’t let this be a reason to not play another one, let it be the reason you do! Allow opportunities for reflection, and try it again!
What is your favorite Breakout EDU game? Why?
I mostly play games that I've created myself, but I loved Patti Harju “Oh the Places You'll Go.” It has a great mix of clues, hands-on elements, and puzzles with varied difficulties to meet the needs of many learners.
Describe a favorite moment during a Breakout EDU game?
In one of the first games I played I remember overhearing a student have an epiphany moment where the clue suddenly made sense to him and he knew exactly what to do. He looked up at me and I smiled at him from a distance (with pride in my eyes, I’m sure) and he said, “I'm right, give me the lock! He's smiling, it's got to be right!” I've worked on my poker face since then.
How has Breakout EDU helped your students learn about the the importance of grit and progressing through failure?
It sounds harsh, but I remind my students during reflection that I want them to struggle when we play. I give them chances in class to get better at reading and writing, and Breakouts are a chance to get better at persevering through challenges. Breakouts give us a chance to build a collaborative environment in the classroom and to see and understand how individual’s strengths can be utilized for the success of the team.
How do you plan on using Breakout EDU in your classroom next year?
For the second year in a row I'm going to start my first day of the year with a Breakout EDU game! I'm moving schools, so my game story is that the principals are playing a joke on me since I'm new to the school and they've locked up my lesson plan for the day! This allows me to play the first Breakout EDU game of the year with them without a timer, and I can play like it's new to me as well so I can help with locks, guide thinking, and encourage students that are taking a passive role.
Describe a moment when things didn’t go as planned in a Breakout EDU game? How did you adapt in that situation?
One time I was running a game at a PD session and a group of teachers was very frustrated with the 3-digit lock--their last lock on the Breakout EDU box. They had tried everything they could think of. I watched from nearby as they tried the correct combination yet again and it didn’t work. I asked to see the lock and confirmed that it wasn’t opening properly. I shouted, “you broke out!” and stopped the timer. They were annoyed at first, but we joked that this would be an opportunity to show students how teachers make mistakes too.
How did you justify adding the Breakout EDU tool into your existing curriculum requirements?
It would be harder to justify not using it! Breakout EDU games are one of many item in my toolkit for creating engaging and memorable experiences in my classroom. I’ve never heard a student bragging in the hall about how their class did a worksheet, but I’ve heard it many times when students talk about Breakout EDU games!
My name is Margo Bridges and I teach STEM with a focus on coding and design at Norton Middle School in Norton, Massachusetts.
I found Breakout EDU through social media. The Breakout EDU community is a phenomenal resource.
Don’t worry if students don’t break out. It’s not about beating the game; it’s about developing teamwork and problem solving skills. Be sure to debrief after the game.
Often there is more than one way to solve a problem. Breakout EDU allows students to figure it out for themselves and not simply follow steps provided by the teacher.
Oh, there are so many!! My favorites probably happen during the self-reflection and discussion that takes place after the Breakout EDU game. Students recognize their successes but also talk honestly about how and why they would do things differently next time. They then ask when they can do another Breakout EDU game!
Sometimes students give up easily and ask for help as soon as they get stuck. Breakout EDU forces them rely upon themselves and each other, not the teacher. Their success is very empowering!
I’m hoping to have students create their own Breakout EDU games.
Watching students struggle is tough and at times it’s hard not jump in and help! Most of the time, they abandon unfruitful efforts and move on to a new strategy. During one breakout, all the groups were struggling and weren’t moving on. I finally suggested that everyone stop wandering aimlessly around the room looking for clues and focus on SOLVING the clues they already had. It took me saying it THREE times before they took the advice. Eventually, all groups were back on track!
A Breakout EDU game is a perfect way to augment any unit of study and provide learners with a unique way to work collaboratively with their peers to solve academic puzzles. Breakout EDU is powerful learning tool that is most effective when in the hands of an empowered educator that uses it strategically to create one-of-a-kind learning scenario. We asked our community how often they use Breakout EDU in their classroom.
Bridgette Farrell-Kuzma: With third graders last year, I averaged about one a month. I did many holiday-themed ones. The timing also depended on when I had time to set them up. This year, I hope to do more connected to curriculum. The timing of one every few weeks always let anticipation build for when the next Breakout would be.
Jennifer Zimny: I feel once a quarter is plenty for high school, providing I can find or create a good quality game that coordinates well with what is happening in the classroom. It has to hold purpose. You don't want to breakout too often or it will lose it's wow factor!
Amy Brownlee: I also averaged once a month with my fifth grade math classes. We also spent time creating games and clues too in addition to the games. My students often completed digital games in their spare time! I think at the end of every unit is a great idea, too.
Irene Mager Konyar: Tried to run one once a month for k-5 classes, which means I assemble/run 3-4 different games. The students, teachers, and I love the games.
Jodi Miller Foreman: I teach three units per year in a gifted and talented pull out program. I held one big Breakout EDU game for each unit. I also did 3 other Breakout EDU games as motivators, rewards, "fun" events. I occasionally would put out one lock (on the iPad charger station, the supply cabinet, the light switch) as a mental challenge. Much more often and the "specialness" and high interest aspect of breakouts are lost. Not to mention- setting them up is a time consumer for the teacher. I kind of judged timing based on when the students started asking for another one.
Alison Skertic: I teach high school English on a trimester schedule -- I'm planning on doing 1 each 6 weeks -- some as review and some as critical thinking/team building activities.
Traci Manieri Vedros: I am a 7th/8th ELA teacher - we did one at the end of each novel (About 5 total for the year) - and a few digitals - usually for the holidays or during testing. In addition, my students designed one breakout for another class - and created digital breakouts.
Amy Woods Marcum: Once a quarter for 6th grade
Robin Elizabeth Zaruba: 3-4 times a semester.
Jenny Baker: I'm library/computer. We do them about once a month- beg of school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, 100th day, St Patrick's day, end of year. I have to teach other skills. Last year was year 1, this year I'm hoping to do more w/in content. I made several for our 3rd grade team, want to do more.
Jill Clark: Once a quarter. Too often takes the specialness of it. It is something that they look forward to (me too!)
Lisa Brock Lougheed: I teach 5 grade levels so it varied…. beginning of year, Christmas, end of year. Will do more curriculum related ones this year. Hopefully at least one a quarter.
Jeff Hennigrant: I teach 5th grade and we play a breakout every 5-6 weeks. Often enough that students remember what worked and what didn't from the previous game, but spread out enough that it's still a special event when we play!
Jason Jacobs: I perform one with every topic. 16 topics = 16 games. I go heavy around holidays and the end of the year. I build them up and get students excited about each one. We turn them into movies and use special effects to set the theme.
Jan Smith: I seemed to have a lot more energy earlier in the year for planning and running breakouts (gr. 6 & 7 all subjects) and averaged one every month until March. Students created digital breakouts which took about three weeks, and designed & ran a classic breakout for their gr 3 buddy class (took about 2 weeks to research & design). Even though we didn't do any in the last 2 months of school, students still remembered breakout as a highlight of their year in their final reflections.
Debra Smith: I teach gifted accelerated math grades 4-6 and working with primary (2-3). I use it at the end of each unit of study, usually. Sometimes I add one for a holiday theme to break things up as a surprise. Set up is a lot as I teach several grade levels so one set up is only good for one class. On average, about 7-8 a year per class. At the end of the year, a class project entails student design of their own breakout.
Jessica Miles: Last year we did about once a trimester for certain classes. I think every other month would be perfect. A combination of being fun and exciting but not so frequently that it loses its cool factor.
Denise Reed Krebs: Once each quarter, related to something we are doing, beginning of the year welcome, global read aloud, parts of speech unit, whatever. I teach English language learners in grade 5.
Staci Jones Fagal: I did one maybe every other month, but the last 6 weeks of school we did a student created breakout as a review project (5th & 6th). Kids made clues and planned/setup everything. They had to turn in the list of combinations at least a day ahead so I could set the locks for them. I felt like they learned even more from creating their own games, and seeing the mistakes and ideas of their classmates. Plus they really had to review their material, world history, to make the "perfect" clue.
I’m Karen Finklestein from Pembroke Pines, Florida and I teach Reading and Coding at The City of Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School.
At FETC 2016 from Adam Bellow. He had a kit to give away and after he explained about Breakout I wanted that kit!
It puts everyone on an even playing field. I have seen some of my lower performing students shine as leaders during Breakouts because it’s a different way of showing what they can do.
Just do it! Whether it works well or not it will be a great learning experience for you and your students. Actually running a game gives you a great feeling for how the games work and then you can adjust your strategies after that.
Life involves teamwork and so does Breakout, so it prepares students for working in a group and communicating well with others.
They really want to open those locks and even though they are frustrated when they do not have the right combination, they go back and work on it more - that doesn't happen with a worksheet!
I am going to be sharing Breakout with our faculty this year so hopefully more students will get the opportunity to experience Breakout
Diving into your first Breakout EDU game can seem like a daunting task. However, once you get started, you realize how powerful Breakout EDU can be in your classroom. To help you get started we've gathered tips from fellow Breakout EDU community members of facilitaing your first game.
As the Facebook group grew larger and larger it became difficult to have more focused discussions. Each subject group will allow educators to collaborate on puzzles, game ideas, debrief activities, and facilitation tips specific to that area.
You can a join a group here:
We also created the Getting Started with Breakout EDU group as a place you can direct people. Our hope is to reduce the number or repeat questions and topics.
Groups are created based on community interest. If you don’t see a group that you’re looking for, complete this form and we’ll create it once there is enough demand.
1. Set the tone for the game: How you introduce the game to your players is important. Make sure the players know that the objective the game is to solve the puzzles in order to open the box. Point out that the objective is NOT to get into the box by any means necessary--this will cut down on players looking for shortcuts.
2. Use a lock parking lot: A lock parking lot is a spot in the room where players place the locks once they solve that puzzle. This will eliminate accidental resetting of the locks.
3. Keep a poker face: Players will look to the facilitator for free hints and suggestions. When the players need your help they can use one of their two hint cards.
4. Leave time for a debrief: The debrief activities are sometimes even more valuable the the game itself. One option is to use the Breakout EDU Reflection Cards to facilitate the discussion.
5. Avoid prizes: The best games have a story that leaves the players satisfied by playing. Relying on physical prizes in the box can reduce engagement in future games.
Story! Story! Story! All great Breakout EDU games have a narrative. Why is there a locked box? Why do they need to open it?
Avoid depending on prizes. All games should end with the conclusion of the story. It’s a slippery slope with prizes
Puzzles that require critical thinking. As much as possible, avoid puzzles where the solution is a simple date or number hidden with text make your players think critically and require making connections between clues and puzzles.
Variety of puzzle types: Great games feature a variety of puzzle types. Some may require translation or making connections prior learning, while others might require careful reading.
Meaningful Reflection Activities. Breakout EDU games allow you to see your learners through a different lens. Have your players reflect on their experience, making observations on their teamwork and problem solving strategies. How would they attack the problem different in the future.
You can get started at BreakoutEDU.com/create
On October 30th our iOS app, Locks, stopped working properly.
We are aware of the issue and are working with the web host to figure out how to fix the problem and get the app up and running again.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and as always, we appreciate your support and understanding.
Game Creator “Bill of Rights”
Adopted: August 15, 2016
It is exciting to see so many educators creating and sharing their games on the Breakout EDU platform. The games have brought countless hours of immersive learning experiences to children and educators around the world. We wanted to share this Breakout EDU Game Creator “Bill of Rights”. We value what you have created and wanted to share how we will help protect your work.
YOUR WORK IS YOURS
If you choose to create and share on the Breakout EDU platform, you retain the rights to the content and control over the work.
You can remove the game from the platform should you want it to no longer remain public.
OTHERS PROFITING FROM YOUR WORK
Games are not allowed to be played during paid events without consent of the game maker and Breakout, Inc.
Accessing another's Breakout EDU game and posting the contents of it on other platforms is not allowed.
Posting Breakout EDU content (games, presentations, etc.) that was not directly created by you on another site for sale is prohibited.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
If you remix another member’s game, feel free to submit the altered version to the Breakout EDU game library. Be sure to include the fact that this game is an adaptation. Be sure to cite the original game title and its creator.
If you discover any example where your, or another user’s, rights have been violated. Please contact info@BreakoutEDU and we will work to resolve the matter.
We look forward to seeing more games that you create and continuing to supporting classrooms that believe it is time for something different.
- Team Breakout EDU
It is with great pleasure that we announce that Patti Harju has joined the Breakout EDU team as our first Director of Games. Patti brings with her more than 30 years of education experience and helped pioneer the use of Breakout EDU in the classroom.
We met Patti through her leadership in the Breakout EDU Facebook community. She’s gone above and beyond in supporting teachers and helping to bring Breakout EDU games into their classrooms. Her games have inspired other teachers to take the leap and design games of their own.
Patti not only shares our vision for doing things differently, she has proven through her work at the St. Stephen School that fun and engaging can be synonymous with meaningful learning.
In March she organized both a school-wide Breakout EDU game as well as facilitate a game for the entire staff.
We can’t wait to see what Patti builds here at Breakout EDU!
Welcome to the team, Patti!
We are over the moon with excitement for your support of Breakout EDU. Every day, thousands of students around the world are playing learning games and collaborating with their peers rather than sitting in rows, bubbling in worksheets. You are proving that learning and fun don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
And now, we have some awesome announcements for you!
We Have A Bus
We are excited to share that the Breakout EDU Bus, a mobile escape room learning experience, will be hitting the road on May 1! The bus will be leaving Maine and making it’s way across the country to the ISTE conference in Denver by June 26. We will be stopping at schools and hosting educational nights at local escape rooms. Complete this form if you’re interested in learning more.
We Have an App
Tired of your directional lock jamming? There’s an app for that! We are excited to finally be able to tell you that we are building an app! We are building a “Locks” app that can be use to create a lock for your next game. The app will launch for iOS in early May. Be sure to check the community for more information in the coming weeks.
We Have New Swag
We hear you loud and clear! It’s time for more swag. Starting today, there are two new items in the Breakout EDU store, an awesome t-shirt (in men and women's fit) and a hoodie.
Join the more than 4,000 educators that are part of our Breakout EDU Global Community. We love seeing how you are using Breakout EDU to create engaging learning experiences for your students.
It’s time for something different.
On Tuesday January 26th the first #BreakoutEDU Twitter chat took place. Over 50 people from around the world took part in the chat, all with varying levels of BreakoutEDU experience. Here are some highlights from the inaugural chat. We look forward to our next chat on February 9th at 6pm PST.
We look forward to the next chat on February 9th at 6pm PST. It will be the first chat of a four part series in which we discuss the different audineces for #BreakoutEDU. This first chat will focus on Elementary students.
We continue to be blown away by the interest in Breakout EDU. At present, there are roughly 3,000 Breakout EDU kits in the wild, with thousands of students playing Breakout EDU games in their classes every day. Mark has been working hard to catch up on U.S. orders; our goal is to ship kits within 3-7 days of ordering. Stay tuned!
I’m excited to share that on February 7 we will be launching Breakout EDU Homework. Homework is rarely engaging, and it’s hard to come up with a new assignment every night (not to mention grade!). The goal of Breakout EDU Homework is to design engaging global homework assignments that can be assigned by teachers. We plan on creating the first few, then opening it up to community-designed challenges. New challenges will be posted every Monday. We envision this being something that’ll be fun for the whole family to complete together!
We’ve been slowly growing the Breakout EDU team. A shout out to Patti Harju and Lynne Herr from the community who have joined the game team! Patti will be overseeing the review of games for the official directory and Lynne will be managing the community games. Our aim is to improve the ease of discovering new games in the directory and to simplify/standardize the setup and directions for playing the community games.
Tyler Pincus, our Breakout EDU Intern, will be managing a variety of special projects. Tyler is a freshman at The Minerva Project (an awesome “startup” university)and is focused on learning more about the role of technology in education and building startups.
We’ve joined forces with BirdBrain Education to begin designing games aligned to curricular areas and educational standards. The first games will be designed for the History of the Roman Empire. We plan on begin testing the games later this month. Email Tyler@BreakoutEDU.com if you are interested in being involved with the project.
In March, Mark and I are headed to London to facilitate a school-wide Breakout EDU activity with 125 year seven students. Students will be divided into small groups and will have two hours to navigate a series of puzzles in order to open the mystery chest. The game is designed to teach students digital citizenship, foreign language, geography, and how to use their iPads in on-demand learning environments. Reach out to me (James@BreakoutEDU.com) if you are interested in setting up something similar for your school.
This weekend Mark and I decided to try something different when facilitating Time Warp. Check it out!
Nikole Blanchard posted a question to the over 2,000 facebook group members asking if anyone was interested in a twitter chat for breakout edu. In no time this question was answered by several people. Over the next few days the support continued to grow and people started volunteering to help lead this group. As we prepare for this inaugural event on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 we thought it would be good to get to know our three moderators who will be helping lead this chat.
Hi I’m Ariana Flewelling but you can call me EdTechAri or Ari for short. I am a Staff Development Specialist for the Innovation and Learner Engagement division at Riverside Unified School District (RUSD). In short, I’m a educational technology implementation coach/TOSA for K-12 teachers. I've been using BreakoutEDU since May of 2014 and am excited to participate in the community in a new way.
Prior to working in RUSD, I was a Teacher on Assignment within the Colton Joint Unified School District (CJUSD), as the Secondary Technology Coach. When I was in the classroom I taught high school English and helped write CJUSD’s 9th grade CCSS transition plan.
I am also a level two Google Educator, Google Educator Trainer, and future Google Innovator #MTV16. In addition, I’ve earned the Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University. Outside of work, I am an active member of CUE, current Inland Area Affiliate President, and ISTE. In my free time I like to play Mass Effect on my Xbox and connect with others via Twitter.
Hi, I’m Nikole Blanchard a Technology Director at a one-to-one private PK-12 school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My school is the only school in Louisiana that has been recognized five consecutive times as an Apple Distinguished School. The program is unique because it is one-to-one technology 1st grade-12th grade. Prior to this role, I taught elementary grades for 8 years.
Being rather new to Breakout Edu, I wanted to learn more so I turned to social media. After posting a question on Facebook it eventually led to the creation of this Twitter chat! I’m extremely passionate about connecting with other educators and look forward to learning together!
I’m Nationally Board Certified, an Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Educator, Level 2. I also have my Masters in Educational Technology from Louisiana State University.
Outside of work, I stay busy with two little ones! I also travel at least three times a month to New Orleans - an hour away from Baton Rouge - to visit family. Yes, I am a YAT!
I’m Travis Lape a Technology Integrationist with the Harrisburg Schools District. I work with staff to integrate technology into their classrooms. I also helped transform our media center to create new learning environments. One of the biggest changes for our space was our makerspace. This space is an area where our students are able to tinker, innovate, and create projects that they are passionate about. Along with this I am constantly working with teachers to transform their own spaces to help all our learners.
Prior to working in Harrisburg, I was a 4th grade teacher with the Sioux Falls School District.
Outside of work, I am enjoy going to the lake with my family, and playing golf. We recently adopted a 8 month old little boy named DJ. He has blessed our family in so many ways.
We look forward to exploring BreakoutEDU with you and thank you for joining us on this journey.