Digital Breakout.edu: My first attempt

At this past February’s PETE and C  in Hershey, PA, I learned more about a concept called Breakout.edu.  The premise is that students or adults solves a series of puzzles and/or problems to achieve a predetermined learning goal.  Breakout.edu allows for critical thinking,  collaboration, and creativity.

These lessons can be either digital in nature or actual physical lock and puzzle boxes.  There is a growing and strong support network for teachers online, with numerous resources, but that is a topic for another blog post.

I chose to work with a digital breakout to start, it is free and I have access to all of the necessary online resources.

This post is currently under construction.

EverFi Teacher Sign Up

I am blogging about my EverFi trial run with my students.  While our school is in the throes of Keystone Testing, I thought it best to take a side excursion with a lesson on Digital Citizenship; students are sometimes fried from 3-4 periods of standardized testing so why pile on.  There is also a lesson on STEM Education, but I am not attempting that with my students as of yet.

Starting out with EverFi is easy, the URL for the site is www.everfi.com/loginIf your school is not listed in the drop down menu while creating an account, it may take a bit of time to become verified.  You could also email my contact at EverFi Alyssa Mahramus, her email is amahramus [at] everfi.com, I checked with her about publishing her email before posting it here.  

Once you have your account started, the easy to use dashboard allows you to create classes, I made one class for each period, I will explain more in a bit.  You can also use the dashboard to review student scores, review ands reset student information, create student accounts, access your courses, and review support materials.   The entire menu is uncluttered with an easy dropdown interface.  You can also preview the lessons from the students’ perspective which I find very helpful.

I actually started by creating a class for my daughter, jumping right in without previewing the resources, it was easy to maneuver through the lessons.  I did preview the resources before rolling out the courses with my students at school, I wanted to be prepared for any questions they may ask.  

So, I clicked on the “Classes and Codes” tab and set up one class for each period of students, I like keeping the groups organized so I can filter information during class in an easy fashion.  I set up for the “Ignition” course; EverFi automatically creates a course code for the “Future Goals” STEM course if you go this route.  I did find that creating a course for “Future Goals” does not seem to reciprocate for “Ignition” in the same fashion.

Armed with class codes and pre-made curriculum I was ready to rollout the courses to my students.  The roll-out will be discussed in another post.

 

 

 

EverFi Experiment

Recently I encountered the opportunity to try out EverFi, a free website/program that offer courses in Digital Citizenship and STEAM Activities.  Digital Citizenship fits nicely into my curriculum, so I am giving it a try.

I started out the pilot project today with several of my classes; our school’s Winter Semi-Formal is tonight and many students had early releases to prep for the dance.  I thought it best to work with start with small groups and see how things work.

Overall it was a fairly painless experience, I will post a bit later on how to set up classes and how to sign up students for the lessons.

I learned a new game today…

I learned a new game today, well I heard of it Saturday at EdCampPGH, but I tried it out with my students in class today.  The game is QuizletLive.  Students are broken into random teams and must communicate and collaborate to answer questions correctly.  My students loved it and I was able to use my existing Quizlet flashcards as the basis of the game.  There was no need to build new material, which a a HUGE time saver.  QuizletLive motivated my students, the vocabulary review grew into a repeated competition for class supremacy.

There is a brief tutorial video embedded in the site so there is no need to repeat instructions here.  You see live tracking of student progress while the students are playing.

In my not so humble opinion, the random grouping of students is probably one of the biggest benefits of this tool, along with using pre-existing resources.  Having students step out of their comfort zone to work with new group members is important.  They can no longer become complacent and work with their usual band of cohorts.

If you get the chance check it out…SOON.