EMC² Blog

The #QRBreakIN Vault Has Arrived!

Hey folks! John here. My 11th-grade English students loved escape room activities in class. But I was bugged by the fact that not every student ended up having access to every puzzle each time we ran these scenarios. Some students might breeze through two or three activities in the same time it took a group of their classmates to crack the code for just one.

Not ideal.

Likewise, for as great as the BreakoutEDU-inspired escape rooms were, I kept running into the fact that they presented four pretty major pedagogical shortcomings:

  • A full-blown class escape room takes A TON OF TIME to create from scratch. Especially if you’re modeling responsible digital citizenship and not just copying other people’s artwork from the web.
  • Some of the “locked” activities were pretty dinky and unrelated to course content (seriously: a word search?!). While there’s a ton of value in giving multiple locks to open, these felt like fluff.
  • The activity really only seems to work best as an end-of-unit recap tool once everyone in class is already familiar with the course content that inspired the Escape Room’s theme. And…
  • There’s an inevitable logjam at the very end of most whole class Escape Room games as some 20+ students crowd around a table that’s only so big to watch only a handful of their peers try to bust open that final lock.
In mulling over these issues, I wanted to create an equally dynamic and student-centered pedagogy that captured all of the excitement of the class Escape Room without replicating its instructional shortcomings. A few weeks (and a ton of revisions!) later, and #QRBreakIN was born. Think of it as a game-changing way to approach small group “centers” instruction. At the outset, I envisioned #QRBreakIN as a sort of “reverse escape room” — think small group relay race through old-school centers. But I wanted likewise to correct some of the problems I’d seen with traditional centers activity, where one group might finish their work early and get off task while another struggled to complete their assigned task in the time provided, leading to a wildly uneven learning experience for all parties involved. 
All of the adrenaline of an Escape Room, none of the time on the bench like you might find with traditional centers. Let’s take a look at a sample activity to show you what it looks like:

This high-energy, and 100% student-centered pedagogy is infinitely adaptable for any course or content area. They’ve gone onto become something of a hit on social media (browse the hashtag #QRBreakIN to see what people are saying!). And in the years since I first shared this pedagogy with the world with the publication of EDrenaline Rush in 2019, we’ve seen some truly amazing work from teachers who’ve fallen in love with this pulse pounding lecture-replacement pedagogy, as literally hundreds of variants on the game have popped up in classrooms both in person and virtual all around the world.

So we decided to put together the very best of the best and offer ALL of these elaborately themed resources in one giant vault. When you become a member of our site as an EMC² Engagement Engineer, you’ll unlock a full year of immediate access to our entire vault of more than two dozen individually themed #QRBreakIN activities! Whether you’re running from dinosaurs, collecting colorful badges playing a friendly game of Quidditch to our Engagement Engineers — it’s all included with your annual subscription. Totally editable and complete with step-by-step video tutorials to help keep you on track in case you need any help setting the activity up in your classroom. It’s all there as part of your site membership. And it’s all yours to remix in any way that you’d like!

We hope you’ll consider joining us as an Engagement Engineer to unlock a full year of site access, which includes hundreds of resources and the entire #QRBreakIN library. For complete details including our exclusive limited time offer for annual site membership, click here.

"This site is a total game changer for both me and my students! Thanks for all the ways you level up my learning and classroom."
Carol McLaughlin
1-8 Teacher

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