TEAM Digital Breakout EDU, Canadian Style

Last week I was invited by my friends Kim Pollishuke and Jenn Casa-Todd to play a collaborative, live, on-line game of Digital Breakout EDU via Google Hangouts.

The timing could not have been better for me, as a few days later, I was due to travel to Irvine, California with the EdTechTeam to facilitate, among other sessions, a session on Digital BreakoutEDU. But I had very little experience with it, so I was delighted for the opportunity to test it out with friends, Sandra Chow, Larissa Aradj, Scott Monahan, Jen Giffen, and Les McBeth, and others. Kim and Jenn were beta-testing the game for a large, online game planned for TeachOntario, Feb. 23.

For those of you who are new to the concept of breakout games, they are essentially games that are devised with a series of problems that need to be solved in order to “break out” of room, or a box, or, in the case of Digital Breakout EDU, a Google form. Last year James Sanders and Mark Hammons spearheaded the Breakout EDU movement in education, which, due to its tremendous popularity amongst educators, evolved into a fully fledged separate entity, Breakout EDU, with a huge Facebook group and new games appearing every day.

Some time later, Mari Venturino and Justin Birckbichler came up with a digitalized version of Breakout EDU, using Google Sites, locked Google forms, and many other tools to create games with. You can check out all the games here.

The digitalized game that Kim and Jenn created was a lot of fun and gave me many ideas for my GAFESummit presentation. Since I am Canadian and the summit was in the United States, I decided to base the game on facts about Canada. I also decided to make it a team game by placing teachers into groups and challenging them to see who would break out the fastest. A few days before the conference, I tested it out with my students. I split my class into 5 teams, and each student had a Chromebook to work on to try to solve the puzzles. 5 minutes into the game, I knew that it was going to be a tremendous success as my students were immediately engaged, working collaboratively, and having tons of fun.

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I love the physical version of the game, but several factors of the digitalized version make it stand out as a very appealing alternative.

  1. No purchase of a box necessary.

  2. No locks to worry about re-setting.

  3. No kit components to worry about losing.

  4. 100% student engagement if you have many devices for them to work on. No one feels left out or unable to contribute.

  5. Zero time required for set up (unless you make up your own game).

  6. Great opportunity for students to create their own games.

  7. Can be played live online via video-conferencing.

At my session in Irvine, 70 teachers played the game. I divided them into 6 groups. Some groups stayed in the room and some groups left to find a quiet place to solve the game.

After 20 minutes, we had a winner: Group 1!

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The energy in the room was high, and I can honestly say that it was the most fun I have ever had in a training session for teachers. Click below for the games!

  1. Team Digital Breakout EDU for students

  2. Team Digital Breakout EDU for teachers

  3. Team Digital Breakout EDU en français

NOTE: Each team has a separate game because there is a shared, editable Google doc as one of the clues to solve. Each team needs to work collaboratively on the document, but separately from the other teams.

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100 Sketchnotes of Inspiration

(This is a cross-post from the EdTechTeam Blog)

Many thanks to Kim Pollishuke for writing this review about my book, “Sketchnotes for Educators.” (SD)

2017 couldn’t have started off better when I checked the mail on January 3rd. Sylvia Duckworth’s new book Sketchnotes for Educators: 100 Inspiring Illustrations for Lifelong Learners arrived!

A few years ago, when I joined Twitter (see page 172), Sylvia’s sketchnotes quickly caught my eye. I had seen people doodle before but never like this. What a beautiful and succinct way to capture learning! I followed her and eagerly waited for each new drawing. Soon after, I was lucky to have the chance to meet her and she became part of my growing PLN (see pages 166 & 178).

What I love about Sylvia is her willingness to step out of her comfort zone (see page 28). I couldn’t believe that her very first sketchnote was only in 2015! What a risk she took, trying something new and then sharing her efforts publicly so that others could learn alongside her.

 

Reading this book will replenish your educator’s soul. On those days when you come home tired and frustrated, turn to page 54 and discover the “10 Steps to Happiness” or page 22 to learn about “Life”. On the days when you come home feeling like you just got it all wrong and you’re stuck, open page 72 to compare a “Growth Mindset vs Fixed Minded” or page 156 to begin walking the path out of “Stagnation”.

Now, on those great days when you come home feeling awesome because your students demonstrated problem solving, collaborative and critical thinking skills, flip to page 70 to see how you have a truly innovative classroom. When you wake up feeling like you can take on the world, jump to page 32 for “10 Things We Can Learn from Superheroes”.

Want to learn about Google tools, Breakout EDU, digital citizenship or effective leadership and innovation?  Sketchnotes for Educators really does have it all. This is not a book that you will read and then stick on a shelf to collect dust. This is that special book that you will want to have at your fingertips for years to come. At least I know I will.
Thank you, Sylvia!

Kim Pollishuke
Google for Education
Certified Innovator and Trainer
Digital Literacy Resource Teacher
Thornhill, Ontario