Meet the #BreakoutEDU Twitter Chat Moderators

BreakoutEDU Twitter Chat Logo

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.

100 Box Project (Guest Post)

By Ryan Knight, The Bowman School

Have you ever had a project where you set out to give back, but along the way you end up receiving your own special gifts?  That just recently happened to me, with a project combining the Bowman School wood-shop and Breakout EDU.  

During the summer, I went to the #gafesummit in Palo Alto, CA.  I participated in one of their Breakout sessions, and I was hooked.  At the end of the session, I spoke with James Sanders and Mark Hammons about the possibility of my students building some of the breakout boxes for Breakout EDU.  It was just an off the cuff statement, and I had not put a lot of forethought into the idea.  Mark said to contact him, and we could work something out.  I sent  James and Mark a follow-up email, and the plan to build 100 boxes was born.

I proposed the idea to two of my elder (8th grader) wood-shop students, and off we went (naively) to build 100 boxes.  We made some estimations and bought our first load of lumber.   When we got back to school, I receive the first gift from this project.

The first gift was in the form of a student who normally does not engage in any activity who ended up taking the lead on this project.  “Freeman” is the type of student who likes to linger on the edge and not really get involved, put himself out there, or take any risks.  However, when we got back to school, he leads a group of students to unload the wood, and he helped direct where to stack it.  After we finished, I spoke one-on-one with Freeman and told him it was clear he was going to be the lead on this project.  I expected him to give me some reasons why he couldn’t do it, but I got a big”OK” instead.  It just proves that if you give your students real projects and real responsibilities, they will rise up to the challenge.

Next, we planned out our cut lines and set ourselves up to make a prototype box.  I was working with three students and we discovered that it was very important to make sure we were all working with the same units of measurement.  One of the students was using a metric tape measure …… oops.  This lead to a fantastic teachable moment about checking scale, units, and verifying your measurements, aka “measure twice, cut once.”  In all my years teaching shop, this experience helped demonstrate the concept better than anything I had tried in the past. We fixed the unit issue, made adjustments, and got our first few boxes completed.  

Later that afternoon, we had a follow-up discussion (the real Socratic method) on the quality of the boxes, developing a critical eye, and the best methods for construction.  We decided to do an assembly line approach and to open the project up to all ages that wanted to build a box.  Bowman is a K-8th grade school.  As we started the next phase of the project, I named the initial group of 3 students the Big 3.  We gave daily lessons on working with tools and proper box construction.  A few days into this phase of the project, I received another gift.  

One of the Big 3, “Madden," had one of the worst days ever while trying to assemble some of the boxes.  He ended up splitting five sides for the boxes and put the hinges on the wrong end of the only box he completed.  He wanted to quit the project, but I would not let him.  We had a conversation about his struggles and I told him I wanted him to push through and figure out a way to contribute to  this project. Madden decided he could contribute as a safety officer, watching to make sure people are working safely, and help build with the younger students.  Madden not only became an excellent safety officer he also became a requested helper with our youngest contributors.  Because of Madden’s experiences accidentally destroying some of the boxes, he was able to have real empathy for the students who were struggling with the construction. When something broke or did not go as planned Madden let them know it happens to all of us.

These are just two quick examples of the gifts we received from this project.

Where have things gone since we finished the 100 box project?  I now have a list of students signed up to build their own boxes with customized transfer images. Some of the older students have made their own boxes and added security systems with buzzers, and key switches.  A group of younger students brag that they have made real things (the boxes we shipped) and are taking orders for other projects to build. Other students  have started to make their own versions of the breakout game too.

I would like to extend a deeply heartfelt THANK YOU to Breakout Edu for taking a chance on us.  James and Mark have been so generous sharing their ideas, expertise, and techniques.  They made it easy to transfer the information to the students.

I am also happy to share more details about building the boxes, what worked and what did not,  and other gifts this project gave to us.

I can be reached at

If you receive one of the boxes that we built, we would love to hear where it ended up.  You will know it was made by us because it will have  ”Built by the Bowman School” on the bottom.  

Inquiry Learning by Breaking Out of the Box (GUEST POST)


I want to introduce you to Kelly Kermode, Integrated Learning Strategist at Forest Hills Public Schools in the greater Grand Rapids area.  Kelly is an educator who has been in a number of roles for the past 16 years and is a Google Certified InnovatorAdobe Education Leader and MACUL Special Interest Group leader… along with about 15 other things. She is always looking for innovative ways to engage students in their learning to reach higher outcomes.

In late November, I visited Kelly in her native environment-that is, at a school and as usual, up to her elbows in making school more awesome for kids. On this day, she was deploying a very cool inquiry based learning adventure called Breakout EDU.

BreakoutEDU started as an idea pitched by James Sanders at the Illinois Future Ready Schools summit in 2015.  James is currently the Chief Innovation Officer, EdTechTeam.

At the keynote, James shared his idea about what are called “breakout rooms” and gave background about how they all came about. He went on to explain that there are these escape rooms around the world where you pay to get “locked in” a room with friends and try to escape by solving puzzles and unlocking codes. There was even an episode of Big bang Theory around this game.

James was with some high school students in Edmonton, Canada playing one of these escape room games and he was amazed at how engaged and hard these students were working to solve the puzzle during this game. James wanted to turn this incredible learning experience of problem solving and fun and into something that can be used in the classroom.

Shortly after, James launched the BreakoutEDU website which includes links to pre-created learning adventures and turn-key kits so you can run your own BreakoutEDU game.

How breakouts are being used

Breakouts are being used to teach core academic subjects including math, science, history, and language arts. Each adventure has embedded standards that apply problem solving strategies within a real world OR collaborative context.

A feature of BreakoutEDU is that the quest to solve the mysteries is very much rooted in inquiry based learning where learning or solving a particular problem revolves solving a central question.

The framework of the learning game ensures that Involvement that leads to understanding, and that players are Converting information and data into useful knowledge.  The learning is centered around the process of figuring the problem out, all in a student centered, collaborative manner.

As you watch the game unfold, you will see the learners collaborate, question, investigate, and observe each other’s thinking.

For more information on how you too can make the magic happen in your classroom, check out these resources:

BreakoutEDU Webpage –
BreakoutEDU Facebook Group
BreakoutEDU Overview 
BreakoutEDU Interview

Ron Houtman – @ronhoutman

(GUEST POST) Explain Everything: BreakoutEDU


by Reshan Richards, Co-Founder Explain Everything

I was at the #TiES15 conference in Minneapolis, MN for the past couple of days learning and sharing with a really terrific group of educators from the region. I had written previously here about ordering a BreakoutEDU kit (which is currently on backorder due to high demand). They do provide the resources and information for a DIY kit, but I like the nice lock box they provide so I will happily wait.

On the conference schedule I saw that there were sessions about BreakoutEDU running during each block and I managed to get into one of the sessions which were all capped at 15 people.

It turns out one of the creators of BreakoutEDU was in fact facilitating the sessions which was pretty cool.

You can learn more about BreakoutEDU from their website, but essentially it is a toolkit for designing a blended physical and virtual space puzzle while weaving in content-related themes into the tasks needed to "break out.." It follows the popularity of Escape the Roomevents.

I had a hunch that Explain Everything would be a good complimentary tool for BreakoutEDU, but once we actually jumped into the game my hunch was totally validated. I found that being able to take pictures of puzzles, sketch out notes and ideas, look things up on the internet, and try to connect clues and identify patterns were all things needed to succeed in the game. Of course team work and communication were also vital parts when trying to make sense of puzzling artifacts. Below is a screenshot of my scratch space I used while trying to help our group solve the puzzle (which we did in 28:43!).

I think other people will still be doing this exact game today at the conference so I don't want to post any spoilers. But once a game is complete, there is an opportunity to record and reflect on the processes and to orally untangle the clues that were documented and added to the stage.

Guest Post: You Had Me at Breakout

Maria Galanis is a member of the Breakout EDU community and this is a blog post she originally posted on her personal blog. See other posts from her personal blog here. Thanks Maria! 

Back in March of this year at the Future Ready Schools Summit at Leyden High School, I attended one of the featured speaker sessions led by James Sanders. It was a great session with lots of takeaways about meaningful digital learning. My biggest takeaway though, was one of the last things he mentioned in the session. 

I looked back at my notes and this is the last thing I typed... “Breakout room idea”.

James shared with us this breakout room idea and gave us a little background about how this all came about. He went on to explain to us that there are these escape rooms around the world where you pay to get “locked in” a room with friends and try to escape by solving puzzles and unlocking codes. He was in Edmonton, Canada, with some high school students playing one of these escape games and he was amazed at how hard these students were working during this game. James wanted to turn this incredible learning experience of problem solving and fun and into something that can be used in the classroom. I left there super excited about this.

"You had me at Breakout!"

Soon after the summit, BreakoutEDU launched!

General info about BreakoutEDU:


  • How does it work? These are challenge escape games. Players solve clues in order to open locks and "breakout" of a room. Watch this quick video from the BreakoutEDU site to learn more: How BreakoutEDU Works
  • Why play? BreakoutEDU offers players a fun and exciting way to strengthen skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, logic, creativity, communication, collaboration... so many skills necessary to for us to have. Did I mention fun? Playing a challenging BreakoutEDU game is such a fun and exciting way to strengthen skills without even realizing learning is happening. 
  • Who can play? BreakoutEDU games can be played by adults for team-building and collaboration or in class with students. Playing with adults is not only so much fun, but also a great way to have them experience it first hand so if they want to have students play, they understand exactly what it entails. And, giving students this fun learning experience which can be so different from what they’re used to, sparks a new energy and excitement for them. 
  • What subjects can you use these games in? Although many of the games available on BreakoutEDU are linked to a specific content area, they can be played by any subject. The beauty of these challenge games are the higher-order thinking skills involved and because of this they can be integrated in many ways. 

Over the summer, I purchased a BreakoutEDU kit. School started up again and it was time to decide when to give this a try. Each month in my district, the iCoaches get together to collaborate. I thought our first meeting together would be a perfect opportunity to play BreakoutEDU. Once we set the date, my fellow iCoach, Nikki Tye and I, started planning away. 

How we planned: 

  1. First, we searched for the right game to use. On the BreakoutEDU site you’ll find the games available now. New games will be added as they are developed. We decided on using “Time Warp” a game where players are lost in time and need to navigate the history of communication in order to return to the present. 
  2. Next, we started organizing the materials needed for the game. Each kit comes standard with items in it such as locks, a black flashlight, an invisible pen, hint cards, and more. All of these items can be used with each of the different challenge games. In addition to the items in the kit, the game instructed us to print out various digital items that we’d use. 
  3. Finally, to make things fun, we made some big bright signs for the players to hold up afterwards. Signs were made for a successful escape and unsuccessful escape. 

The day came to play BreakoutEDU with the iCoaches! Nikki and I, as the facilitators, introduced the game to the group and explained the objective which was to solve the clues in order to unlock the BreakoutEDU box so they could escape. We started the game timer and let them go. It was fascinating to see how things rolled out. Their energy and dedication to succeed was exciting to witness. What a fantastic way to use logic and higher-order thinking and such a great way to work as a team. 

With 24 seconds left on the clock, they opened the final lock. They escaped!

After having the iCoaches play, our mission was to get BreakoutEDU into a classroom with students. We reached out to a teacher and immediately after hearing about it, he was sold and couldn’t wait to try BreakoutEDU with his students! 

Our first group of students to try this were a group of 7th grade social studies students in Tom Samorian’s class. We split one class into two smaller groups and each group played Time Warp.

As facilitators, we didn’t give any clues away, but we did monitor the students' progress in order to help guide them. The students in each group escaped (and both student groups finished faster than the adult iCoaches). 

The feedback we heard from students was so positive. We heard they couldn’t wait to do this again, that it was so much fun doing something different like this, they loved that they had to “think out-of-the-box”, and they were so intrigued after solving one clue that they couldn’t wait to try solving the next. We debriefed with the teacher as well about how everything went. One exciting take-away was that he wants to design his own game to use in his future lessons. At some point our hope is to give students an option to design their own game to put the learning in their own hands. The wonderful thing about this is that when we give students chances like this, what they show us in return can be pretty amazing. 

We are already planning our next lesson with an 8th grade science teacher and her classes. And, coming soon, our principal is letting us take over one of our staff meetings for all staff to play. We cannot wait for that!

Hearing and seeing the student and adult reactions reinforced that playing BreakoutEDU escape games could bring so much to learning. How great it is to be given an opportunity to apply past knowledge and make connections in order to solve new problems. Using problem-solving, critical thinking, logic, creativity, communication, collaboration...these are the skills we strive to have in our lives!

Little By Little (Oct 25 Newsletter)

  The above map shows all the places that have purchased a Breakout EDU kit so far!

The above map shows all the places that have purchased a Breakout EDU kit so far!

Little by Little

Before we get to all the exciting updates, I want to take a moment to celebrate how quickly our Breakout EDU community has grown! In just seven months, Breakout EDU has gone from two people brainstorming about learning games into a movement with hundreds of educators worldwide determined to prove that learning, rigor, and fun are not mutually exclusive. We want to say thank you!

We can’t wait to see where this journey takes us.

New (BETA) Games

I am excited to share that there are now 5 new games in the Breakout EDU game directory. All of the new games are labeled “in beta” and will be reviewed by Game Masters in the coming weeks. Once a game makes it out of beta, it will be added to the game directory. (Game Masters, expect an email later this week on how the review process will work). A few more games will be added later today and tomorrow!

Community Call Wednesday 10/28

I will be hosting a Breakout EDU community call on Wednesday, October 28th, at 4:30 PM Pacific Time. We will be posting the video recording of the call to the Breakout EDU blog and the Facebook community on Thursday. Add your email address in the comments on the community call page if you want to be on the video call. You don’t need to do anything to view the call.

Growing the Team

As many of you know, Mark Hammons has volunteered many hours building, filling, and shipping Breakout EDU boxes. I am excited to share that on November 1st, Mark will be joining the team as co-founder, overseeing operations and helping me with strategic planning.  In addition to being an amazing teammate and incredibly hard worker, Mark is one of nicest guys you will ever meet. We couldn’t be more excited to have him on the team.

Breakout EDU Events

Many of you have brought Breakout EDU to various events around the world, including EdCamps, Google Summits, and local conferences.  We have created an events calendar to help get the word out about your event. Please complete this form if you want your event listed.  We are officially planning on having Breakout EDU gatherings at FETC, ICE, and ISTE (just to name a few).

Sneak Preview

In next week’s newsletter, I will be sharing all of the exciting student work that has been happening around the world.


Have a great week,


Breakout EDU Game Design Incentives

Here is the template you need to complete in order to submit your game to the Breakout EDU Game Directory for review. 




Breakout EDU games are a lot of fun and we recognize that many of you put a lot of time and effort into designing great games.

We're excited to offer the Breakout EDU Game Design Incentive program. 

How it works

We currently have a program to reward people for designing their own games. The game creators retain all ownership over their games and can choose to remove them from the directory upon request.


  • First game submitted and accepted into the directory*: Breakout EDU T-Shirt (changes based on availability and new designs)
  • Second game submitted and accepted into the directory*: Breakout EDU Sweatshirt
  • Third game submitted and accepted into the directory*: A complete Hard Plastic Breakout EDU kit

*only applies to games in the official directory, not the sand box

** Currently, we only have the capacity to reward the first three games. 


My Breakout EDU Contest

Tell your story. Win a Free Breakout EDU kit.

From the beginning we created Breakout EDU as a community-first project with a singular objective: bring gaming to every classroom in a meaningful way.

More than anything, Breakout EDU is a collection of amazing educators passionate about teaching and learning – folks who are always looking for new ways to push the status quo.  We would like to recognize these awesome teachers, leaders, and instructional coaches through a new campaign we’re calling, "My Breakout EDU".

Whether you have a kit from us or have put together the open sourced version, we want the community to know you. We encourage you to decorate your Breakout EDU kit, however you see fit. Don't be afraid to go wild! I challenge Adam Bellow and his kids to put together a Star Wars-themed one! Chris Scott, maybe a Minecraft one?

(LINK: How we transfer permanent images from paper to the Breakout EDU boxes.)

How to Enter

To keep things simple, we’ve put together this form with a few questions. We’ll start posting the profiles Monday, September 28. You need to complete the form in order to enter.


First Prize: The Breakout EDU community member with the best kit decoration will win a free Breakout EDU kit for the teacher or school of their choice.  You can even keep it for yourself if you’re current in the classroom and need an additional box.  

Second Prize: We're going to be ordering Breakout EDU t-shirts in the next few weeks and we'll send you one! 

Entries are open until October 15.


How to Transfer Images to a Breakout EDU Box

When we first explored the idea of making a box, our original plan was to burn the logo into each box, but once we started looking into it, we discovered a much simpler solution that allowed us to apply the logos much quicker. We hope you'll use our same techniques to customize your Breakout EDU box! 

Step 1: The first step is to find the image that you want on the box. Below we have the Breakout EDU logo. We’ve flipped it horizontally so that when we transfer it from the paper to the wood it will appear correctly. (Here's a free online photo editor you can use to flip your images horizontally

Step 2: Print the image using a toner printer (ink jet does not transfer as well). 

Step 3: Secure the paper to the wood where you want the logo. Make sure you tape down at least one side so that the paper does not move while transferring. 

Step 4: Using the wood burner, with the wide circle tip, press firmly down on the paper, moving the burner around to heat up every part of the image that you’re looking to transfer. If the burner is too hot, it’ll burn the wood. To reduce the heat, rub the burner on another piece of wood. The temp will slowly come down. You should experiment on another piece of wood (or the bottom of the Breakout EDU box) before doing it with your actual graphic. You should only use the paper once, since most of the toner will have transferred to the wood. 

Step 5: Share your awesome creations online (especially the Breakout EDU Facebook group!) 

This is the wood burner that we use. It’s currently $18.49 USD on Amazon (link below):

Breakout EDU: The Hint Cards

 Teachers at St. Chris school in Bahrain playing Time Warp. 

Teachers at St. Chris school in Bahrain playing Time Warp. 

Each Breakout EDU kit comes with two hint cards. The hit cards are a critical element to facilitating a Breakout EDU game. We asked our community how they use the hint cards. If you put your own kit together, make sure you have some hit cards. A link to a PDF can be found at the bottom of the post. 


Mark Rounds 

My experience with the hint cards is that teenagers are loathe to use them, and the negotiation that comes from their presence in the game is a great study in compromise and flexibility


Wanda Terral

While the games are obviously rich with problem solving experiences, I appreciate the inclusion of the hint cards for the life-skills they encourage. Knowing when to ask for help is difficult to teach (not too soon, not too late, just the right time). Living that Goldilocks Moment in conjunction with a well-crafted game adds to the depth Breakout EDU offers.


Kern Kelly

I feel use of the hints is an integral aspect of the game for two reasons. First, the judicious use of the hints is a large part of the strategy. If you use one too early, you might pass a challenge that could have been solved. Also, by concisely recapping where the group is in the game is a terrific skill for students to learn. 

Finally, there have been some games that provide a slow trickle of hints as the group gets stuck and I believe the problem with that is that every set of players has a different game. It would be like if a referee was willing to allow some rules to be broken for one set of players, but not another. By providing each game with two hints, all players begin with the same set of challenges and benefits.

James Sanders

As educators, we often intervene too quickly when a student in struggling. In a Breakout game, the hint cards allow the players to work up until their frustration point, but know that they can ask for help if they need it. Setting the limit to two forces the players to use them strategically. Also, making them aware that it’s possible to win the game without hint cards is always a fun challenge. 

Breakout EDU - Now in Open Beta

I'm excited to announce that after 6 months of testing we're ready to start the open beta phase of the program. The open phase of our beta program starts Monday!  We plan on spending six months working closely with our Breakout EDU community (link) and meeting with testers and game developers to improve the platform.

We know we have something special with Breakout EDU.  I'm excited for the opportunity build the platform in the open and work closely with educators and students to bring gaming into the classroom in a meaningful way.

We believe that if we stay true to our values of openness and hard work we have an opportunity to transform the look and feel of teaching and learning around the world.

Our goal is to have a Breakout EDU kit in every classroom and diminish the dependence on worksheets and standardized tests.

There's no reason why learning can't be immersive and engaging.


Breakout EDU Community Call (Game Facilitation)

Here is the video from last week's open community Google Hangout. On the call we discuss game facilitation, international shipping, and get a sneak peek at some of the games that Michael Matera is building. 

Breakout EDU | The First Five Months

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 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.

User Testing

We have had 517 educators user-test one of our games and complete the user feedback survey. Below are a few highlights:  

Next Steps

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 ( 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. 

Calling All Game Designers!

Here's the recording for the Google Hangout we hosted discussing building your own Breakout games! We look forward to doing future Hangouts in the coming weeks. 

This Thursday we'll be having an open Google Hangout for those interested in designing games for Breakout EDU. You can sign up here: We plan on posting the video from the Google Hangout here afterwards. 

New: The Game Design Studio

We are excited to announce the opening of the Game Design Studio.  At we plan on curating resources and tools to help you design your own Breakout games. We can't wait to see what you create. If you decide to design a game, be sure to share your creation in the online community or complete the game template and submit it to the store for review.  We can't wait to play the games that you design. . 

Happy designing! 

The First 100 Days

It is crazy to see just how quickly this little idea of creating immersive learning games has turned into a full blown venture. So far we’ve tested Breakout games with more than 250 teachers and students across 8 states and two countries. We just completed the second version of our Breakout Kit and are now have four games in the store, with more soon to follow. 

However, we want to move faster. We cannot wait until there are hundreds of games in the store (across all content areas) and players around the world benefiting from learning through games. 

Today we’re bringing in a new batch of beta testers and inviting few new game designers onto the platform.  We are thankful that you have joined us in this journey! 

 Mark at work cutting the wood for the kits. 

Mark at work cutting the wood for the kits. 

Custom Kits

The first handmade Breakout boxes have been completed and are starting to ship. In the spirit of Bay Area startups, we have transformed Mark Hammons’ garage into a Breakout EDU woodshop.  Special thanks to the Hammons family for putting up with the mess!  As we scale, we intend to continue providing a hand crafted option.  Maybe I can convince my dad to quit his plumbing work and build kits for us. He did a great job building our family house, I’m sure he could build wood boxes… :) 

We’re very excited about this first batch of Breakout kits and we’re working hard to make enough to keep up with your orders. Please reach out directly if you have any questions. 

The Future

Our aim is to build Breakout EDU in the open. We plan to share our plans and ideas in the online community and on the blog so that you know what to expect and help can join us in this journey--no NDAs, no secret plans.  

Our core focus is producing games that blend elements of the physical and the virtual worlds.

For the foreseeable future we plan to focus intently on the following areas: 

  • Producing a kit that transforms any space into an immersive Breakout game. 
  • Building games that are compatible with the kit that cover a wide variety of ages and themes 
  • Create custom Breakout experiences in physical spaces around the world 

Going to ISTE? 

Breakout EDU will have a space at ISTE where you can see the kit first hand and test out our new games that we have designed that incorporate Google Cardboard. We’ll leave it up to you to figure out where the booth is. Consider it your first Breakout challenge :) 

New Games 

Decoding The War - In Decoding the War, the newest game designed by Mark Hammons, the players are racing against the clock to solve a series of mysteries related to World War II. Hitler is quickly taking over Europe and it’s up to the players to learn how the German enigma machine works to decipher the messages and win the war. This game is perfect as an introduction to the topic and will leave the players wanting to learn more about Alan Turing and the history of encryption. 

Candy Caper - Candy Caper is our first game designed for younger players. In this game, someone has taken all the candy and it’s up to the students to follow the clues, solve the puzzles and save the candy.  This game was designed by Kern Kelly, a super innovative educator from Maine. 


The Lost Colony - From the creative mastermind Chris Scott comes the new game,The Lost Colony. In this game players find themselves stranded in the new world with strange surroundings. Worst of all, there is a massive storm 45 minutes from making landfall. It’s imperative that players get inside the lock box, the future of the group is in the balance. 


Something to look forward to:  In a few weeks we plan on launching our first games that are compatible with Google Cardboard. 



Hello World. I'm Breakout EDU.

Just 90 days ago a few friends were sitting around a table talking about how awesome it would be if there were a way to create a kit that would transform any room into an immersive learning game, one that required teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, and could be aligned all content areas.  Today Breakout EDU is a full-blown project with game developers around the country testing, tinkering, and experimenting. We can’t wait to see what the next few months will bring. Thanks for joining us on this journey.

If you haven’t signed up to be a Beta tester yet and acquired your kit, do so today! By being among the first to believe in the project we promise to reward you with early access to new games and features!


1. Game Store Open: We’ve opened our game store and posted the first game, “Dr. Johnson” with more games scheduled in the coming weeks.  All games are password protected during the Beta period. 

2. Custom Kits: I’ll be heading down to Fresno to build our first wood Breakout Kits in Mark Hammons’ workshop. I’ll share videos and photos here next week.  All kits are handbuilt by members of the team. We’re buying high-quality materials to make sure they’re worthy of a spot on your bookshelf! 

3. Google Cardboard: We are working with Google Cardboard to design awesome games that are compatible with the their low-cost virtual reality platform. We are excited about blending the physical and virtual worlds! You’re going to love them! The first game, “Passport Lost,” comes out on June 19th!  

We know Breakout EDU is special and we plan to chase this journey as far as it will go. Here's to creating something awesome!