Digital breakouts provide students a way to work collaboratively and use problem solving skills to open digital locks. A digital breakout or escape can be used to teach any concept or skill. And they are a wonderful way to promote 21st century skills like collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
How do I prepare a digital breakout?
Very little prep is required to use a digital breakout with your students. They are completely technology based and paperless. You will not have to spend an hour at the copy machine getting all your materials ready. All this is required is access to an internet enabled device and a free Google account. If your students do not have their own accounts, you can create a shared account for your class. This will allow all your students to log-in to one account and use Google Apps. You can read more about how to do this from this post on Erintegration’s blog.
How do my students access the breakout?
A digital breakout is accessed through a Google Site. You can share this link with students in several different ways. You can have them type the link in directly. If you use Google Classroom you can save it in there. I also provide a QR code for students to scan that will take them directly to the site. All of the activities and challenges can be accessed directly through the site. You do not have to make a copy of any of the files and share with your students. You just need to make sure the students are logged into their student Google account.
My school blocks Google Sites, what do I do?
It is true that some schools do not allow student access to Google Sites. However, I create all of my Google products with a G Suite account, not a personal account. Why is this important? Because more schools will allow students to access a Google Site that was made with a G Suite account. There is a much higher chance that a site will be blocked if it was created with a personal account. Also, even if the site appears to be blocked, it is VERY important to contact your technology department and ask them to whitelist the site. I have been told that only sites made with a G Suite account can be whitelisted.
Important Note: When I first started making digital breakouts I was using a personal Google account. In May of 2019 I switched all of my products over to a G Suite account. If you purchased a breakout prior to this date and were not able to access the site, please try again.
Is there a way I can try a free breakout first?
YES! I have created a free digital breakout for you to try before you purchase any paid products. This way you can see if your students can access Google Sites from their school devices.
Best of all you can use this to introduce your students to digital breakouts and get them used to the format of the activity. They can practice accessing the site, completing the various activities and entering lock codes into the form. You can also complete the breakout together. This way you can model how to complete the steps.
What kinds of activities will students complete?
In my breakouts I use Google Slides, Google Sheets and Google Forms. When there is a Google Slides or Sheets activity, students will be prompted to “make a copy” of the file. Your students will need to do this in order to complete the breakout.
I also create interactive activities on the website www.h5p.org. However I am able to embed these activities into the Google Site directly so students will not have to go to an outside website to do the activity. Sometimes I create a jigsaw puzzle on the website www.jigsawplanet.com. I am also able to embed the puzzle into the site.
Below are screenshots taken from some of my different digital breakouts.
How long does it take to complete a breakout?
Most of my breakouts are created to cover various library and information technology skills. I know that many librarians only have about 20-30 minutes to teach a lesson, so time is limited. But I still want to make the breakouts challenging for students. It can be very tricky coming up with the activities sometimes!
Most of my breakouts will take approximately 40 minutes to complete. But each one is created in such a way that you can easily take two class periods to complete the breakout. Just make sure that you have students write down the lock codes for the challenges they complete during the first class period. You can collect them and pass them out again the next time they come to the library. Students will need to have these codes to enter into the lock code form to finish the breakout.
Where can I download your digital breakouts?
Click on the image to download the free digital breakout from my TpT store.