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Showing posts with label Digital Breakouts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Digital Breakouts. Show all posts
Teaching Soft Skills in the Computer Lab using Digital Breakout Challenges

Teaching Soft Skills in the Computer Lab using Digital Breakout Challenges


It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

What is Social Emotional Learning?

When I say Social Emotional Learning, I'm talking about Soft Skills. Things like communication, collaboration, perseverance, and problem solving. 

There is a major trend in education now to bring Social Emotional Learning (SEL) back into the classroom. I'm not sure if it always was there and we were just calling it something else, but it is here in a big way now. 

Everywhere you turn, people are talking about Character Education. How this generation of kids don't know how to get along. How kids can't communicate anymore. How they give up easily and don't persevere. How they can't solve their own problems. 

Have you noticed this, too?
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

Bringing SEL into the Classroom

Soft Skills might seem like a task for the School Counselor. Let him/her come in and teach a lesson once a month, right? Wrong! 

SEL is something that we need to work on every day in order for it to stick. 

Luckily, it can be integrated into pretty much any subject area. There are even a few common core standards that have wording to encourage soft skills. 

BUT, when we put students on a "program" on the computer, they aren't working on any of these skills (maybe perseverance, but the program probably avoids frustrating students for logical reasons). 

Things are about to change, friends. 

Digital Breakouts

You may be asking what a Digital Breakout is, and what is has to do with computer lab time and soft skills. Keep reading. 

If you've use any interactive notebooking concepts, you can do a digital breakout. It is an easy transition of skills. 

Interactive notebook to Digital interactive notebook to Digital Breakout. Let me break it down for you. 

Interactive notebooks have pieces to cut and paste, things to write or draw, and it is all done in a notebook on paper. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

Digital interactive notebooks have these things in digital format. For example, cut and paste becomes click and drag. Write becomes Type. Draw becomes Use the Shape Tools to create a graphic. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.


Digital Breakouts (the way I make them) are basically a Digital Interactive Notebook with one additional layer - the codes. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.
The Hint for this one says "How many parts are included in the citation of an online article?" So, students complete the digital activity, but the code could be related or something completely different. It requires students to practice problem solving and perseverance. 

Each slide has a placeholder for the Code and when students are ready, they enter the codes into a locked Google Form. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.
The form only allows correct answers, so it is self-checking. Once students input all correct answers, they can submit it and get their certificate. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

Soft Skills and Digital Breakouts

What do these things have in common? They require students to work together.

I almost never have students do a Digital Breakout independently. Groups of 2-3 students is ideal. 

This makes them collaborate, communicate, persevere, and problem solve together. 

Collaborate - small groups can divide up the puzzles and codes or choose to work through them together. 

Communicate - students have the opportunity to talk. I know, I know, how dare I let my students talk in class! haha I take this time as the teacher to facilitate their communication and work on skills with them if I need to step in. 

Persevere - these puzzles are going to challenge them. They have to keep at it even if the group is arguing or frustrated about something. 

Problem Solving - they can't complete the digital breakout until all of the answers are correct. Not all of the puzzles are straightforward. Some have multiple layers to solve, kind of like a word problem. There is extra info, missing info, they have to work across slides (pages) to find the answers.

My brother is a Computer Engineer. He spends his day staring at a computer screen. Yet, he has to work with others at almost every step of every project. 

When he was interviewing for the position, most of the questions they asked of him were about his ability to communicate and work with a team. It is unavoidable! 

So, it has become my mission to get students talking and working together in the computer lab. Gone are the days where they plug in their headphones and work independently the entire time. 
It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.


Are you ready to dive in and try a Digital Breakout?
I have tons of topics already. Click on a link to see the options.
Internet Safety
Online Research
Online Test Taking Tools
Coding Vocabulary
Keyboards
Computer Parts
Computer Lab Rules K-2
Computer Lab Rules 3-5

Or would you like to learn to build your own Digital Breakouts?
Make Your Own Digital Breakouts

As always, I want to hear from you! What are you doing to encourage students to work on SEL in the computer lab or any time they are using technology? Fill me in!

It might not come naturally to think about Social Emotional Learning and Tech Class together, but it is totally possible to integrate these two things. Digital Breakouts are the answer, and students are begging for more.

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Brittany Washburn
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Digital Breakout Challenges for Tech Class

Digital Breakout Challenges for Tech Class


You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.

 What is a digital breakout?

You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form. 

Using Digital Breakouts in the Tech Lab

Most tech labs don't have a lot of room for group work. This makes digital breakouts ideal. We want our students to collaborate but it can be a challenge with standard lessons and units. Digital breakouts can be made for absolutely any topic! So far I've made them for the lab rules, some internet safety topics, and online testing practice. 
You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.


Students could certainly complete the challenges independently, but this is also a great opportunity for group work. There is bound to be some conflict along the way, which will help students work on their soft skills along with the academic skills in the clues and codes. 
You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.


When I design the challenges for my digital breakouts I create them in layers. Students may need to solve 2-3 problems just to get one "lock" code. This brings the student engagement to another level because there are easy wins along the way of some serious challenges. Not every group will succeed in finding all of the codes, but they will all learn the topic in a meaningful way. 
You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.

If you're using Google Classroom, these digital breakouts are a breeze. Share the web page or Slides file with students and let them go. If you're using another system it is still possible, you'll just have to set your copy of the Google Form so that anyone with the link can view it. 
You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.

Do you want to try a Digital Breakout with your students?

You can check out the ones I have already created here:
You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.
On my Curriculum Website I also have compiled a list of Holiday Themed Digital Breakouts that are free online. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see them. 

Creating your own Digital Breakouts

Be forewarned, this is a monumental task the first few times. It took me about 10 hours to make my first digital breakout. Getting the puzzles, codes, and clues right is a real challenge. 
There are tons of great resources online for making digital puzzles. You can use crossword puzzles, rebus makers, digital puzzles, fake ticket generators, fake text messages, really anything can be turned into a puzzle. 
I put together these templates and instructional video if you want some guidance and don't want to reinvent the wheel. Check it out when you get a chance. 

You've probably heard about "room escapes" by now. People working together to solve several problems to unlock locks and break out of a locked room. Digital breakouts move this process to the computer. No need to set locks, buy expensive kits, prep clues, or manage materials. The codes and clues are all set on a web page or in a Google Slides file and the locks are a locked Google Form.
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Brittany Washburn
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