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Education + immersion + fun = escape room

Education + immersion + fun = escape room

Is it possible to combine learning with a fun, engaging storyline and a series of logical riddles, puzzles and manual tasks? Absolutely! Escape rooms are becoming a more and more popular form of education in the USA or Scandinavian countries, but this trend can be already noticed in most of the developed countries.

Most people have experienced it first hand - sitting idly at a school desk, looking at the clock and counting down the seconds until the end of the next lesson. The teacher monotonously delivers his/her lecture without engaging the class in any way, causing most students to either be asleep or to be elsewhere in their thoughts. It is the traditional teacher-centered model of education that until recently was the basis for the teaching and developing young people.

- One of the tools of modern education have been escape rooms for some time now. These types of rooms are, in short, a specific scenario and plot, completing of which involves solving a series of riddles, puzzles, analytical tasks, or manual challenges. And nothing prevents these scenarios being used in mathematics, physics, history, geography or literature studies. Escape rooms can be adapted in this way both in the traditional version, that is in the real escape room or in the online version - says Bartosz Idzikowski from Lock.me service.

Scandinavia is the leader of educational escape rooms. A series of personalized escape rooms for the Finnish Ministry of Education (OAJ) was already carried out in Finland in 2017-2018. The games were designed around themes such as education, isolation and student well-being. Over the years, dozens of executives from different sectors of public institutions have participated in the event.

Escape rooms are also part of the Sm4rt LOC project, and are developed in collaboration between academic IT and physics teacher education providers. - Education is renewing itself, and this calls for new environments, methods and devices. The escape room integrates 21st century skills in education, including programming, coding, technology education and collaboration skills - says University Teacher Ville Tahvanainen, who coordinates pedagogical development within the project.

Participating in history instead of learning history

You are in the barracks. Behind the wall you can hear Wehrmacht soldiers talking. The scenery is very realistic. Announcements about the immediate evacuation of the entire area are coming from the radio. On the monitors with images from cameras you can see a warehouse of mysterious weapons, which you have to find and stop from being detonated - that's how you can describe your first experience with an exemplary, historical scenario of the latest generation escape room. These rooms have come a long way and nowadays they use the latest technology and special effects known from the movies to engage game participants.

Not only history

The historical context is the most popular among escape room plots that can be used for educational purposes, but definitely not the only one. Escape rooms immerse participants in an environment where they actually become action heroes and must work together to achieve their goal.

- The nature of escape rooms removes some of the barriers to learning, helping you to engage with the subject matter, understand it, take part in it and have a real impact on the course of events. Escape rooms can be very effective in education because of their adaptability to any subject. Math? Chemistry? The psychology behind the criminals? Physics experiments? No problem. Escape rooms can be also prepared for education classes, for example on the occasion of St. Nicholas Day or Valentine's Day. The only thing that limits us here is our creativity. I recommend involving students in the process of designing the escape rooms. My students have created their own escape room as a part of an educational project. The end result was compelling, as you could tell by the delight of the other students at the school who had the opportunity to participate in this fun. In the period of remote work, online escape rooms have become popular: today, in this way, we can include all the material we want to pass on to our pupils - explains Ksenia Erdmann, a teacher from Poland.

Online version for quarantine

Escape rooms are experiencing a real boom. According to various estimates there are about 50-60 thousand of them all over the world and for more than a decade the industry has come a very long way from not very complicated rooms with simple mechanisms to the whole scenographic undertakings located in complexes of rooms, saturated with electronics and even with the participation of actors during the game. It is worth remembering, however, that escape rooms have their origins in... point and click computer games. It means, more or less, that the escape room storylines can be easily created in the online version.

- All studies of contemporary neurodidactics indicate that the learning process is best carried out during games and activities. An interesting story, interactivity and well selected tasks make students approach the proposed issues with greater openness and commitment. When creating an escape room, I often put in it exactly the same tasks that are in the manual. Thanks to such a selected and varied form, my students are able to solve many more tasks than traditionally. They also do not need to be additionally motivated! Many programs, including Google Docs or Genial.ly, are suitable for creating escape rooms on the Internet, which can then be made available to your students and thus engage them more in learning in the era of quarantine. I sincerely recommend this method to all educators - adds the teacher Wojciech Wątor.
 

Jakub Witosławski

Jakub Witosławski

PR expert

15 years of Public Relations experience. Worked for brands such as Allegro, Microsoft, Lock.me, Global e-Mobility Forum, Martin Kaczmarski, Rochstar TV Production. Communication manager of the team participating in the Cross Country FIA World Cup and in the FIA World Rallycross Championship. Organized events around TV series premieres, was responsible for the media coverage of skydiving events and records. Works for the escape room industry since 2017.

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Industry responsibility of online escape room directories

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Despite the fact that the escape room market is not yet of full age, it can be said that it has already passed the phase of growing up. One of the elements of its development were various attempts at "cataloging". After a few years, we live in a world of a few successful projects and many "zombie" sites, which are scary in their appearance and database.

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