After working on a specific science or English concept, what do you do to assess your student's skills before the big “test” or moving on to the next section of a chapter? Instead of giving another worksheet review, consider something new! Digital escape rooms are a fantastic way to assess student skills while giving them a definite goal: to get out!
A digital escape room is an activity students do to gain passwords, retrieve clues, or gather information needed to “escape the room” digitally. Using Google Forms, Slides, or Puzzles, students complete an activity to gain clues about the code to unlock their room. Students enter the code on a Google Form in hopes of achieving their mission.
There are several reasons digital escape rooms are useful to use in the classroom. For one, they are something different to do for students, which always generates some excitement. Secondly, the benefits go far beyond content comprehension.
Digital escape rooms are great for any content area you are teaching and useful for various purposes. For example, they can be used in centers, as morning motivators, or as an exit slip to end a lesson.
Along with being content friendly, they are objective friendly as well. Use the escape rooms to build background knowledge when starting a unit of study.
Sometimes students can be hard to please. While it's not our job to make everyone happy, we do want to make learning fun. When you make learning fun, students tend to retain more information.
Digital escape rooms combine two things most students love: technology and a challenge. If you give a student a challenge, they will rise to the occasion. Digital escape rooms don't allow the student just to give up and write something down. Students must persevere through the activity.
Of course, students LOVE technology and different breakout rooms provide various technology activities; most are interactive and engaging. Students complete puzzles, watch videos, read passages, and solve directional locks. The possibilities are endless!
Digital escape rooms have a specific algorithm, if you will. If you do not answer correctly, you don't get the password or the code you need to move forward. Therefore, students have to go back and see where their thinking was flawed. This process helps build student's critical thinking skills. Plus, allow teachers to see the strengths and weaknesses of the student. You'd be surprised by the students who do well with the challenge.
When students work through the rooms, pay close attention to how they are doing. If students work in groups, don't allow one student to take over the project. I always provide hint cards for students to grab when they struggle with an activity. I try to walk them through their thinking before giving a clue.
When students work together and collaborate, they can achieve great things like getting out of a digital escape room. If you have students work together, they can help each other and use various resources to escape the room. For example, if students have a problem, they might utilize the notes from their interactive notebooks to move them forward. Perhaps one student did a similar question correct on past activity and went back and reference that to move forward. Using interactive notebooks and other online tools while completing digital escape rooms teaches students the reason for creating their notebooks in the first place. Learners need to understand how to develop resources to scaffold them during new learning.
Whenever trying to solve a puzzle, students need to have strong communication skills. Since there could be more than one way to solve a problem, students need to communicate with their partners and potentially the teacher to escape the room in the fastest possible manner.
Digital escape rooms are so fun to use in your classroom. As a bonus, they increase life-long learning skills like problem-solving, collaboration, and communication. Students need to be good at all three of these things for success at every level of life. Digital escape rooms help teachers and students alike and are a great addition to your classroom curriculum. So, log on and try them out!