August 4th marked the five month anniversary for Breakout EDU. After having eye-opening experiences playing escape rooms in Canada with a group of students, Michael Wacker and I decided to take the day off from work and brainstorm how we could bring the concept of an escape room into the classroom. After 8 hours of mind-scientist-style collaborating, we had a draft plan.
We started with a few design principles:
We knew that if this was going to work, it needed to be something that any educator could set up just as easy as any other lesson.
We needed to make it modular and affordable.
We needed a critical mass to agree on a certain set of kit materials in order to establish a platform.
We wanted to build in the open so that future entrepreneurs could learn from our failures and successes.
As firm believers in agile product development, we raced to build and ship a beta product as fast as we could. We loved our concept, We also knew that we needed to get our product into the hands of users as soon as possible to determine if this project was going to work.
By the numbers:
To date, we have sold more than 200 Breakout EDU kits, and estimate that 100-200 additional people have put together their own kits using our open source instructions. Next, we are focusing on adding games to the store. The new games that our developer community are currently building will blow you away! The first new games will be published a week from Tuesday.
My next game is called Time Warp, a game that I built with Mark Hammons. In the game players learn about the history of communication by solving a series of mysteries that teach them about pioneers in communication technology. Games are a lot of fun to build. I encourage you to check out BreakoutEDU.com/create to learn more about the process and find resources to get you started.
I am encouraged by the geographic diversity of sales so far. Starting this month, we are shipping our first international kits. We have a local builder in Canada, Jeffrey Humphries, who is building and shipping kits up north, and a few more countries that are going to come online in the coming weeks.
We have had 517 educators user-test one of our games and complete the user feedback survey. Below are a few highlights:
We are in the process of meeting with various content creators to discuss developing Breakout EDU games for their curricular materials. Our goal is that every teacher, regardless of content area or grade level, will have a robust selection of games to choose from.
I plan on expanding the full time team as well continuing to build out our developer and tester communities. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me personally (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to get more involved.
Students deserve more than rows and worksheets. It’s time for Breakout EDU.
Many thanks to everyone who helped bring Breakout EDU to where it is now and will continue helping build something new for education.