What is Breakout EDU and How Can It Be Used for Teaching? Tips and Tricks

Breakout EDU
(Image credit: Breakout EDU)

Breakout EDU is all about engaging students to learn better through immersion, collaboration, and problem-solving. It does this by using puzzle-based learning much like that used in escape rooms.

Escape rooms have become very popular as a place teams can go to work out how to get free from the room in which they are "trapped." It's like a real world version of a computer game that makes you work together to solve puzzles to escape from somewhere.

Breakout EDU helps to bring that experience to educators so as to better engage students and help them learn while having fun.

So could Breakout EDU work for you? Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What is Breakout EDU?

Breakout EDU is a standards-aligned game platform that allows teachers to get across a wide range of subjects using the engagement of escape room-style puzzles.

This uses both physical and digital puzzle games to help work on collaborative learning in team-based testing.

Breakout EDU

(Image credit: BreakoutEDU)

The physical Breakout EDU kit comes with all the materials needed to start a puzzle-based challenge. This gets you a large and small box plus five locks, two of which can be set with shapes, colors, arrows, and letters. Other clues, such as a UV flashlight and invisible ink, a red lens viewer, and a blank USB drive are also included. There are also cards with questions that help students discuss and process the experience.

Educators can start off each class with Lock of the Day, 5-to-10 minute games that can be used to engage all learners.

Teachers can access free games from their online account, which allows them to setup these real-world challenges for students in the classroom. For more games you'll need a paid subscription but there are more details on pricing options further down this page.

How does Breakout EDU work?

Breakout EDU requires a physical kit that teachers can setup to have students work out the puzzles. These locks, boxes, and other items can be used in numerous combinations with a story added to suit what is being taught.

While teachers could, technically, make up their own challenges, there are plenty online that can be used for a far easier and time-saving experience. 

Breakout EDU

(Image credit: Breakout EDU)

Once teachers select a digital game from their online accounts they are given a set of instructions – in easy-to-follow video format – that shows how to setup the game. This can also feature links to material that can be printed to add more layers to the experience. 

Each game features a story that creates the reason for the "problem" and why it needs to be solved. This immersion is heightened by the use of a "facilitation tool," which offers a countdown timer and music that grows in intensity to add to the excitement.

Students can be set to complete the task of finding the various clues and locks around the classroom, or further afield, depending on how it is setup. Teachers can observe students to see how they work individually, how they work as a team, and how they think when left alone with a challenge.

What are the best Breakout EDU features?

Breakout EDU is all about teamwork, making it a great tool for helping students work together on a common goal. For this reason it's ideal for in-classroom learning but it could conceivably be setup to include students fed-in from elsewhere also. To that extent, it also can be used as a fun icebreaker.

The key here is that however it works, students will be forced to actively learn as they share ideas and perspectives in an attempt to solve the puzzles and progress as a team.

Breakout EDU

(Image credit: Breakout EDU)

Different setups are available for varying subjects and grades, using geometric shapes, computer science, physical education, literature, library, and team development. These can be combined as teachers can also team up to create multidisciplinary challenges for students. 

The ability to use digital games also helps as a way to get playing quickly and across varying physical abilities. Students can even create their own games, for approval by the teacher, which can be played by the class.

Teachers can offer hints, or let students fail, as they see fit -- allowing for a very real experience for all involved.

How much does Breakout EDU cost?

Breakout EDU offers a few pricing options that gets access to physical kits as well as the online support to go with that. There are options for teachers alone and for schools.

Teachers can pay $99 for a subscription and $119 for a kit. Or get a bundle with the two for $179, to make a saving of $59. Annual subscriptions can then be renewed each year for a further $99.

Schools can pay $999 for a complete subscription, and kits are charged at $119 each. Or go for a school-wide subscription with 10 kits for $1,999, saving $690.

Breakout EDU best tips and tricks

Assign roles
Have all students get involved by assigning roles to each so everyone needs to participate in order for the group to progress.

Prep timers
Make sure students who could be anxious under the pressure of a timer are made aware of how the game works so they can be more relaxed when the pressure mounts.

Let students build
Have students build games in which the class can participate and reward that so more students want to learn to build creatively too.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.