Kindergarten to college: Educators learn about using breakout games in classroom

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Aimee Bates, technology integration specialist for Cullman City Schools, checks in with attendees of the Educator Alumni Connection workshop hosted by the Wallace State Community College Alumni Association. The workshop showed educators how to use breakout challenges in the classroom to engage students in active learning.

HANCEVILLE –  More than two dozen area educators from kindergarten through college level gathered at Wallace State Community College to learn how they can utilize the breakout phenomenon in their classrooms.

Aimee Bates, a technology integration specialist for Cullman City Schools, and Susan Boyd, a library media specialist at Cullman High School, led the Educator Alumni Connection workshop, providing the educators with information about how they’ve utilized the trend in the classroom and links to online resources they can use to find existing challenges and ways to create their own.

Boyd said she’s used the breakout challenges as a way to challenge students and encourage collaboration. When students come in to the library for Academic Enrichment study hour and have the time, she’ll make them aware of new challenges she’s created and have them partner up with one or more other students to solve them.

The challenges can be physical, using boxes and locks; digital, using computer-based locks; or hybrid, using both physical clues with digital locks.

Bates said the challenges are meant to be immersive learning activities that promote collaboration, team-building, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and perseverance skills.

“We’ve done them in some elementary classrooms, in a middle school computer classroom — there’s always an option to make them content specific and make them applicable to a specific subject area or grade level,” Bates said.

“One of my goals this year is to get the students to where they can make their own (breakout challenges),” Boyd said.

April Sutherland, a Diagnostic Sonography instructor at Wallace State was one of at least four WSCC faculty sitting in on the class. She sees ways she may be able to use the challenges with her students.

“There are some in there that are geared toward physics already, so I could incorporate some that are already made for my intro to physics class,” Sutherland said. “The students can work together and get to know each other. I think it will be good for team building.”

The workshop was hosted by the Wallace State Community College Alumni Association, and provided the educators with six and a half hours of professional development hours.

For more information about the Alumni Association and upcoming events, trips, and activities, call 256-352-8071 or visit