Digital escape rooms have the ability to transform your classroom. Would you like to incorporate more technology into your classroom, or would you like to have your students asking for “MORE! MORE! MORE!” of a lesson or activity? If you can answer YES!!! to these questions, then you must try a Digital Escape Room!. You will quickly have your students practicing and applying subject/content skills, critically thinking, and collaborating all in one activity.
What is a Digital Escape Ⓡ?
First, escape rooms have become very popular, and these adventures are popping all over. A traditional escape is a physical adventure (based on a theme-a movie, casino, story line, book, etc.) in which players solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and mindful strategies to unlock the object at hand.
Secondly, teachers have adapted this idea and have brought it into the classroom. Classroom escape rooms are designed around a unit or activity, and it includes envelopes, clues, puzzles, activities and locks throughout the classroom. However, teachers like myself, have taken the paper out of the escape room and have made it completely digital!
The Benefits of a Digital Escape
In a digital escape room, all the teacher needs is a computer lab, Chromebooks, IPads, or laptops. However, in a “paper” escape room, teachers will need many manipulatives like locks, folders, hiding places, printed materials and activities for each student. This is a pefect activity if your classroom is 1:1 with technology.
When using a Digital Escape, there is ZERO setup. The only item needed for this type of escape room is a website address. The setup for the paper escape rooms can be lengthy, and setting up for the next class may be tricky (however, this may be for you!).
The Digital Escapes incorporate a whole new set of technology standards that you probably wouldn’t normally incorporate into your lessons. Check out these standards from the ISTE Technology Standards:
1. 7b-Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts and community members, to examine a variety of viewpoints.
2. 7c-Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuring various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a specific goal.
Creating Engagement & Collaboration in the Classroom
One aspect all teachers want to see in their classroom is engagement and collaboration. They want to see their students are completely interested in the activity, as well as working collaboratively and responsibly with their peers. Digital Escape Rooms do just this! It take a variety of thinkers to complete a digital escape room. Look at how engaged these students are in my Fortnite Digital Escape!
In addition to collaboration and engagement, there are also quite a few other benefits to trying a Digital Escape in your classroom! Check these out:
A. Your students will tap into their higher-level critical thinking and problem solving skills.
B. Digital Escape Rooms are perfect for your Special Education and ELL students for the practice of communication skills and techniques.
C. Rather than the teacher facilitating the lesson, the students take ownership of their learning.
D. The escape rooms teach your students to work under pressure.
E. Digital Escape Rooms will present as a game, but realistically, your students are practicing, learning and applying the subject-specific content, while using important life skills to complete the activity.
F. Simply, they are so much fun!My Digital Escapes:
Where Can I Find These Escapes?
Here are a few amazing Teacher-Authors who sell Digital Escapes. Make to check out their creative, innovative escapes!
Of course, like all technology, sometimes there are some roadblocks. Here are some of the roadblocks teachers run into when using escape room in the classroom:
1. Google Sites is blocked: Many school districts block outside Google Sites, and many of these digital escape rooms are made with this app. Therefore, I would always suggest checking your school’s restrictions with Google Apps and Sites. If your school district blocks Google Sites, most likely, your kids will get a 404 error.
How can I fix this? There are a few things you can try if Google Sites is blocked. First, if you students’ computers allow it, have them log out of Google. The students need to head up to the top of the Chrome bar, click on their icon, and click LOG OUT. If log out does not show up, this means they cannot log out, and the problem will not be solved. If it allows them to log out, have them refresh the Google homepage, and manually type in the escape room address.
Plan B is to use your school’s computer lab. In the computer lab, the students do not have to log into Chrome. Therefore, you can just give them the website address, and they can complete the escape room there.
2. I cannot access Jigsaw Planet and/or ProProfs: If the jigsaw puzzle and/or sliding puzzle is showing a sad face, this means your district’s firewall is blocking these site. You can ask your IT department to release these websites for these activities.
3. I do not know where the answers are to the escape room: When you purchase an escape room from English, Oh My, the escape room comes with a PDF that walks the teacher through every activity, code and puzzle. The PDF also has an answer sheet for quick reference for the teacher. However, this is an activity the teacher needs to be prepared for as well. I can guarantee you your students will have questions. Digital Escapes are made to be challenging, and students need to follow directions in order to be successful (we know that many students tend to forget to read the directions!). The teacher should be familiar and should try out the escape on their own first, before implementing it in class.