I've been a fan of BreakoutEDU for going on two years now, using it as a professional development tool both in and outside of my district. I love it for introducing new content, reviewing content that needs additional reinforcement and for showing educators that learning doesn't have to be boring. Plus, as this video (which I first learned about from Tom Mullaney, who creates amazing digital BreakoutEDU experiences for his own students) illustrates: in school we tend to focus on finding right answers, whereas BreakoutEDU focuses on asking the right questions.
So when it comes to asking the right questions, and then allowing learners to problem solve, collaborate, fail, create cognitive connections and have fun while doing it, I'm a fan of both the digital and physical versions of BreakoutEDU. What's more, when I create PD, I always use both: starting learners off with a digital experience that, once solved, will lead them to the treasures inside the physical box. Over time, I've gotten better at creating the experiences and I've learned that the key is NOT to just hide the "lock codes" in random ways, but to create experiences in which the learner must truly interact with the content in order to discover the hidden clues. Otherwise, in my opinion, BreakoutEDU can become nothing more than a fancy word-find: fun, maybe... but pedagogically light weight.
One of the things I love most about BreakoutEDU is how freely its creators share resources. There are tons of people creating and sharing digital breakouts that are for you to use with students. And if you can't afford the fabulous official BreakoutEDU boxes, (which run $125 each), they generously provide you with links for purchasing your own materials. Still, putting together a few sets (and you will need a few) can be a little pricey. That said, recently I received a question on Facebook about how I put together my own BreakoutEDU boxes - each of which cost me around $35.00. Depending on the number of locks you purchase, you might be able to put them together even cheaper. The document below lists all the items I purchased for my own boxes and how much they cost.
Additionally, here's a link to some commonly used tricks/strategies for creating digital breakouts, which I employ all of time PLUS a couple of links to some digital BreakoutEDU experiences that I've created for adult learners. As I mentioned previously, I always use digital and physical breakouts together, so these links won't give you access to the entire experience, but it will give you an idea of what my process looks like:
Leading Schools BreakoutEDU: http://bit.ly/leadingschools_breakout
#FutureReady Instructional Coaches BreakoutEDU: Coming Soon! (I'm excited to share that I'm part of the fabulous team of people creating the Future Ready framework for Instructional Coaches AND I'll be delivering the #FutureReady PD at a few of this year's FR Institutes - Stay tuned! More coming soon!)
Finally, lots of other super smart people are using BreakoutEDU in their classrooms and libraries and as a professional development tool. Here's some further reading to explore as you're dipping your toes in the BreakoutEDU water. Good luck and have fun!