What is an escape room and how to integrate it into the classroom.
One of the difficulties that a teacher faces in his or her classroom is maintaining the attention and interest of the students in their subject, in the subject that he or she is teaching. The fact is that today’s students are not those of a decade ago. Innovation in educational techniques and methodologies, such as experiential learning, are gaining ground progressively or in a coordinated way to the traditional ones.
One of the techniques that are booming lately all over the world is the use of the escape room. If this is the first time you hear this term, don’t worry, I will now take a tour of this concept, its methodology, its objectives and how you can apply it in your classroom. Many education professionals are already doing it with very interesting benefits for both students and teachers.
Escape room in education
It is a very current concept in education, based on the development of mental skills for the solution of enigmas and problems so that children put into play creativity and critical thinking. They come initially from the adventure games or Real Scape Game created in Japan in 2007. Later, they were spread all over the world in a dizzying way and in 2015 they were already known all over the world.
The idea is to create an escape room in which a group of people must stay for a certain time until they solve an enigma or problem through a set of clues. In this way, a series of cognitive mechanisms are activated that enhance the players’ abilities. The game has a story or narrative, which has to do with how the escape room is contextualized.
What this method brings to education
It can be interesting to include within the educational classroom, combining the escape room with other educational techniques can be achieved in students:
– That they acquire or develop the ability to see the whole, since the students have to develop a reflexive process in the situation to be solved.
– Students have to put into play their personal communication skills, their ability to work as a team, their problem-solving ability, and they must work as a team.
– Motivating students to learn. In this sense I am not saying that everything should be learned with this methodology, but it is demonstrated that using this technique to learn in some areas produces an increase in the motivation of children and adolescents in their learning process.
The escape room contributes to education: Motivation for learning, development of communication skills, teamwork, problem solving and develops the process of reflection
What it brings to the teacher
You would be surprised at how much information this type of educational game can provide to the educator. The challenges will motivate the students and everyone assumes the rules of the game, in addition, different levels are scaled and when the challenges are achieved are rewarded, making the motivation increase.
For these reasons, this type of games are a very attractive work tool that can be applied in the whole class or in smaller groups of students.
In addition, once made, it can be reused in various disciplines or subjects, in different groups and modify the challenges depending on the subject that interests you as an educator.
How to design an escape room for the classroom
To design this type of activity you must follow the steps below:
Design according to the students.
A teacher knows his students, he must create an activity that fits their age and developmental characteristics, cognitive and emotional. You must take into account what goals you want to achieve. For example, if the subject is mathematics, the challenges will be mathematical within their educational level and age group.
It can be used for different lengths of time, from 15 minutes to 1 hour, and this difference in length makes them more or less challenging and more or less complex.
To motivate students, you can start with easy challenges and increase the complexity and difficulty of the challenges as they are solved during the course.
The mode of the game can also vary, from the cooperative mode to the competitive mode, where the winner will be the first to decipher the enigma.
The objective is to leave the room and for this the players must use all their intellectual, creative and deductive reasoning abilities. Actually, it can be done in a virtual way, so it can be incorporated in education as a tool to develop the cooperative, cognitive, deductive and logical reasoning skills of the students.
Have clear objectives before starting.
The learning objectives should be as concrete as possible in order to be able to evaluate them later.
One of the objectives will always be to promote communication skills, for this, the players must cooperate and inform each other. If two or more rooms are available, the different groups can solve different challenges that, later, will serve to solve the final enigma.
The subject must be developed
In other words, there must be a common thread to the activity. This makes it easier for children to integrate into the activity. For example, solving hieroglyphics to get out of a pyramid in Egypt.
Play and mechanical elements are designed and developed
It is time to create the puzzles, the riddles, the instructions and the game manuals, the rules must be clear and everyone must understand them. Keep in mind that the game can get stuck and you will always have clues ready to help you solve it.
The riddles and challenges used can be of different types, for example:
- Physical: can be used in physical education classes, such as searching for certain objects or performing certain gymnastic exercises.
- Intellectual: logic problems, math problems, puzzles or answers to specific questions.
Choosing the space you will need
It will be carried out in the best possible environment, always within the possibilities of the educational centers. Physical support is important and all necessary objects will be used, computers and virtual reality can be used.
Know the five steps that you have to take into account to create an escape room in education. Use this tool to trigger the attention of your students.
The innovation of the escape room also implies a final feedback with the students, both of their emotional experience and of their learning, as well as of the puzzles that remained unsolved.