Developer: Breakout EDU (James Sanders & Mark Harmon)
Year Made: 2015
Platforms: Real Life!
Price: Official Kit - $100, Amazon Collection ~ $60
Content Areas: ALL
Suggested Age Level: ALL
Play Length: 40-45 minutes
Number of Players: 2-30+
Difficulty Rating: Varies
Imagine combining the mystery and intrigue of National Treasure with the puzzles and hidden messages in The da Vinci Code and infusing it into everyday classroom content and skills. With Breakout EDU, a game developed by two educators looking to bring the escape room craze to the classroom, teachers have the power to design an experience students won’t soon forget.
What gives Breakout EDU so much promise is its customizable nature. The core kit comes with a variety of different types of locks, invisible ink pen, lockable boxes, and much more to get an educator started. Those who are not ready to design their own breakout rooms can go to www.breakoutedu.com and use one of the pre-made rooms submitted by other educators, or even adapt the clues and puzzles to fit the desired content. Educators can easily add their own little tweaks and tools to the kit to keep new breakout rooms fresh for participants.
The strengths of implementing Breakout EDU for educators is that the entire experience could be digitized to save money or to scale up the size of the challenge to include the whole class versus smaller groups. Instead of 15-20 students huddled around a single clue or locked box, the locks could be on Google Forms, Word docs, or even websites instead of physical locks or boxes. It also opens up a variety of different subject areas to use as a basis for an educational “escape room.”
The drawback? Designing an experience like an escape room takes time and careful planning, and the typical escape room lasts for about one class period. In addition, once students have played one level, that experience cannot be repeated, as they will know the tricks to each puzzle. In addition, the fear of students “leaking” the answers to other classes is always a concern, but simple steps like turning it into a class-versus-class competition or barring “leakers” from future Breakout EDU games usually does the trick.
Breakout EDU thrives due to its customizability and endless educational possibilities, making it a valuable addition to a teacher’s toolkit. If an educator does not mind a bit of frontloading, Breakout EDU can create an unforgettable educational experience!
Educational Rating: 8/8
(Classroom Tech Friendly, Motivation, Concrete Learning, Additional Skills, Feedback, Difficulty, Accessibility, Extension)
Overall Rating: 6/8
(Immersion, Environment, Storyline, Replayability, Entertainment, Gameplay, Originality, User Control)