What are your key questions for experiencing classroom digital escape rooms this school year? Are you planning on using one with your students? Do you have the technology to explore digital escape puzzle options? Here we have the key questions and answers for having a successful experience using classroom digital escape rooms.
What is a classroom digital escape room? There are many variations of the digital escape game. I personally love when a breakout activity ties into a literature unit or a unit of study. It is great when the classroom escape room is the ultimate way to bring it all together including your students. Students are challenged to compete against other. Small groups will try to escape before the clock runs out of time. The escape room is set up with clues so your students can escape. Study All Knight Digital Escapes are designed around a specific topic, particularly literary units, include 360-degree views, and a VR option.
Shown in this demo is The Tell-Tale Heart Escape Room. As you can see it was loved by all! “It engages the most difficult to engage students. And it forces students to think critically and read for detail. I will work toward creating more lessons like this in the future.” Thank you @hellomrsmoore!
6 Reasons Digital Escape Rooms are Perfect For a Classroom that Has Few Devices, BYOD, or 1:1
- Great for review and reinforcing skills. Promote team building, cooperative learning, and deductive reasoning
- There are no forced copies with this digital escape room. Just share the link.
- Clues that are usually involved: Jigsaw puzzle, reading comprehension, author’s bio, Google Earth, an order of events (plot map) deciphering a code in a point-of-view video clip, cryptogram, a hidden message, and watch/listen to film clip.
- Designed for small groups/cooperative learning / collaborative learning.
- Digital Escape Room reflection- the opportunity for students to reflect on the collaboration, deductive reasoning, and solving their clues.
- It is really important to find breakout games that were tested extensively on a PC laptop, Chromebook, Mac, smartphone, and tablet.
So let’s get started — here are the top questions and answers for you to start adding digital escape rooms to your classroom!
Digital escape rooms are packaged really well for a smooth-sailing classroom activity. The problems mostly occur when a teacher tries to use one without looking at it first. Digital escapes appear to be “no prep.” Remember this, “no prep equals no luck.” Educators should always be familiar with the curriculum, classroom technology, your school’s online restrictions, and of course, your students’ needs.
Your students. Digital breakout games are challenging. You will need to move around the classroom to give a “facilitating” hand. Allow your students to experience the challenge. “Challenge does not equal struggle.” Critical thinking, analytical skills, recalling details, and deductive reasoning are all a part of escape room activities. Experiencing a digital escape room might be the best day of the school year, for teachers and for students!
1. Can I email you if my students cannot open the Google Site, cannot solve a clue, cannot open links, or cannot view a puzzle?
My email inbox is packed with teachers who need help with troubleshooting. That is why I wrote this post. I cannot help with your district’s firewall, network connectivity issues, or hardware. Your best bet is to read the escape room description carefully, read all of the directions, run through the links and clues, and refer to this post for any issues you might experience.
2. What is a 360-degree view?
It is very cool! Students can explore an environment as though they are in the environment. The user can move around the escape room like they are actually in the “room.” You might be familiar with sites like Google Maps or Google Expeditions. The user can explore world landmarks, visit natural wonders, and go inside locations such as museums, arenas, parks, and transport hubs, without leaving their seat! I recently visited the Cairo Museum to explore the treasures from ancient Egypt!
3. What is Virtual Reality (VR) and do I need headsets for a digital escape room?
Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of cutting edge technology to create a “simulated environment.” VR places the user inside an experience, in this case, an escape room. The virtual reality option and capabilities are available on a smartphone. **You do not have to use the VR option. Not all classrooms have VR headsets. Therefore, it is an option you can explore in the future.
4. My students are unable to log in from their Chromebooks. It says there is an error. I’m able when I log in on their Chromebooks, but not as a student… Suggestions?
Before you troubleshoot, are you having problems opening the Google Site? Or is it something else? If it’s the Google Site then that means your district is blocking Google Sites. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do regarding your school’s firewall. You can contact your tech support and ask for permission to view the activity. Most school’s have different levels of capabilities. Teachers will have access to links that their students do not. So, it is important to test links on the student’s network not the staff’s network. Just because a teacher will see a site doesn’t mean the students will, too.
There are some ways to get around a firewall on a Chrome Browser that you can try. A teacher contacted me to let me know this worked for her:
Log onto the Chromebook. Have your students open their browser. Access the file shared with them via your LMS. Then, in the browser settings, “log out,” and continue browsing as a “guest.” The Google Site should then appear with no problem. **Reminder, this was a tip sent to me, and I cannot validate this will work for you.
5. Can my students do a digital escape room on their iPads?
This video demo shows how a digital escape room from Study All Knight looks on a tablet or smartphone. (most widely used are the iPhone or iPad) Notice how the user holds her iPhone and moves around with it. The 360 degree “moves with” the user. Very cool! To view the 360-degree view on a smartphone or tablet, just open the view and go! That’s it. You do not need an app to make it happen. The digital escape game will open right in the mobile browser. Thank you @litwithlyns for the awesome video!
6. I cannot scroll the 360-degree screen on a Chromebook. How can I fix this issue?
Open the 360 view. Then once in it- using the touchpad move your finger around. That’s it. If the touchpad is broken then it won’t work. Remember to click on the touchpad while you move. Sliding your finger won’t work, you’ll need to click and slide. If you move to the right using the touchpad, you’ll go to the right. Up and down, left. You can spin in circles. There are icons all the way around. Last effort, you can try a different Chromebook. It isn’t the issue of the technology- the technology is used widely in schools and has been tested extensively across different devices and browsers.
7. The digital breakout won’t move on the Chromebook. Help!
Don’t worry! You are just moments away from exploring the room! You don’t need to move the Chromebook or laptop around to make the room move. Just leave it flat on the desk. The 360-degree view works amazing on a laptop and Chromebook. Let the touchpad on the Chromebook do the work. Remember to click on the touchpad while you move. Sliding your finger won’t work, you’ll need to click and slide. If you move to the right using the touchpad, you’ll go to the right. Up and down, left. You can spin in circles. There are icons all the way around. Last effort, you can try a different Chromebook. It isn’t the issue of the technology- the technology is used widely in schools and has been tested extensively across different devices and browsers.
8. Why do my students get a different latitude and longitude on Google Earth It does not match the lock’s answer. Help!
If your students are required to use Google Earth, for finding a latitude and longitude, here is how to use it. In the search bar type in the landmark or location, you are looking for. When it appears, CLICK ON IT. The globe will move to the location. Click on the red marker. In the bottom right corner, click on the “street view icon.” Click on the red marker again. Look at the TOP RIGHT CORNER! The exact coordinates will appear. That is the correct answer for your lock.
here is a short tutorial to show you how to solve a latitude and longitude clue on Google Earth.
Google Earth is a great tool to find landmarks and locations. Many times I will use it for a clue to ask students to locate a road or a modern day name for a location.
9. We cannot open the puzzle. It is saying, “error loading media”
Unfortunately, your district is blocking JigsawPlanet. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do regarding your school’s firewall. You can contact your tech support and ask for permission to view the activity. Many schools block external links. It is important to read what is included in the escape room to ensure your students can access all activities / and links.
10. What does it mean to “complete a puzzle clue?”
This is a fun way to solve a clue! Assemble a jigsaw puzzle on JigsawPlanet.com. I’ve included a sample of one of the puzzles I use in a digital escape room. Give it a try! When your students encounter a puzzle clue – it will open in a window. There is an option to “view in full screen.”
11. Do my students need Google Accounts to complete a digital escape room?
If you have a digital escape room from Study All Knight, then, no. I do not require a forced copy or anyone to log into a Google Account. All of my digital escape rooms are simply, “share the Google Site link,” and go.
12. What if my district blocks Google Sites, is there a workaround to share the digital escape game with my students?
You can export any website as a PDF file and keep most all of the formatting intact. This is a tricky concept and many people don’t know this even exists. By doing this, you can hopefully “bypass” the Google Sites issue. It works for many teachers who have tried it. You would paste the URL of the Google Site into the “convert” bar. Then take the converted pdf from your downloaded files – finally, share it with your students. I do not offer tech support for this. If you try it, please do not contact me for help.
There are two free online tools I recommend for a possible workaround. The first is an amazing website-to-PDF converter called Print Friendly & PDF <https://www.printfriendly.com/>. The directions on the site are really easy. I love it so much that I added it to my browser for easy and quick access. The second site I really love is PDF CROWD, https://pdfcrowd.com/.
13. My school blocks YouTube links. Do we need access to YouTube?
No. All of my videos are on the ScreenCastOmatic video server and are school-friendly. You do not need to have access to any YouTube links. All video is delivered via ScreenCastOmatic in a window inside the escape room. **BUT, if your school blocks all external links this won’t make a difference.
Are you ready to learn why digital escape activities are great for your classroom and your students?
I am adding more to this post. updated 11/20/2018. So check back soon and often! I will be adding videos, too!