Digital Breakouts: Google Forms vs. BreakoutEDU digital locks

In the early days of digital BreakoutEDU, digital breakouts were hosted on a single page Google Site (the old version) with a Google Form embedded as the locking mechanism. Part of the challenge was finding the clues which could be hidden in images, linked content or even the white space on the website!

Now digital games from BreakoutEDU feature custom digital locks that look like locks and puzzles or clues on individual pages – when you choose a lock or get to the next one, the designated clue or puzzle pops up for you to focus on. This new model presents a sleek professional looking “game” experience. The BreakoutEDU platform even has lesson plans for building digital breakouts with your students (with a paid teacher account). There is even a classroom space where teachers can monitor student progress in games or builds.

Despite the great work BreakoutEDU has done to continually improve their digital space, I still think that there is a time and place for using the “old-school” Google Forms method.

Most of the puzzle building principles will be the same whether students build a Breakout using the BreakoutEDU digital locks or a Google Form (with or without a Google Site):

  • they will need to build image clues in a design site like Google Drawings, Slides, or Canva
  • they will build puzzles or clues in third party sites like jigsawplanet.com or a rebus builder or a cipher site

And while I do believe that creating in any digital platform teaches kids transferable skills, having students, especially those in Junior High or High School, create their Breakout games in Google Forms sends them on with confidence and deep skills in a tool that they will encounter in many out-of-class endeavours. After creating a Breakout game in a Google Form, students will have Form building skills far beyond the basics, including such abilities as

  • uploading images
  • using data validation
  • using date/time questions

In the end, just the act of having your students create Breakout games on either platform, or even for the physical lock boxes, is an engaging way to have students use critical thinking and collaboration and creativity to produce an authentic product. But for an extra layer of learning a transferable digital tool, do try having for older students build in Google Forms.

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