Let me set the stage for you. Imagine you’ve just walked into a 3rd grade classroom at Heritage Elementary. All of the students are up out of their seats. The teacher is in the role of observer rather than instructor. The engagement and concentration is palpable. The excitement level is out the roof, but it’s not chaos. These students are focused, thinking critically, and working collaboratively to achieve their shared mission. They are determined to break out!
This is exactly the energy in Ms. Heather Newland’s 3rd grade classroom as students started off the year with a live teambuilding game from our newly adopted Breakout EDU platform. Breakout EDU is an exciting educational platform that gamifies learning to create an engaging and empowering experience for students of all grade levels via live and digital escape room style experiences. Breakout EDU has been present in our school district for quite some time, with several teachers choosing to utilize this awesome platform in their classrooms. This year, we decided to make this resource available for our district K-5. Thanks to the help of Mrs. Lee Shaw, our Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist, Rachel Gibbs, was able to use a recently acquired grant to purchase a Breakout EDU district license for our teachers and students. The payoff of this investment is already becoming evident as teachers across the district continue to share pictures, videos, and stories of students having a blast while engaging in problem solving that is tied to instructional standards.
The adoption of Breakout EDU is very timely for our district, as this year our State Department of Education has challenged all K-6 classrooms to incorporate Digital Literacy and Computer Science standards (DLCS) into the classroom, with an emphasis on computational thinking. Through activities such as decomposing problems, thinking critically through puzzles and ciphers, and working through multi-step challenges, Breakout EDU addresses almost every single K-5 computational thinking standard. On top of that, the Breakout EDU platform offers games that are aligned with our instructional standards, allowing teachers to find meaningful opportunities for students to apply their knowledge to realistic problems. Breakout EDU also addresses the 4 Cs of our 1:1 technology integration framework here in Madison City. Whether students are partaking in a live game or testing their critical thinking with a digital offering, they have the chance to put their critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity to work.
The engagement seen in student experiences like the one in the video below speaks for itself. There is no doubt that Breakout EDU is a hit, and will continue to help our teachers and students grow their computational thinking abilities. Beginning in October and running through December, Rachel Gibbs will be offering Breakout EDU model activities in classrooms K-5 to help build confidence in our teachers to utilize this awesome resource. We can’t wait to see what more is to come from Breakout EDU in our elementary classrooms!