How to Use Digital Escape Rooms in Google Forms™

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I love the community and teamwork that comes from doing escape rooms in the classroom. Our escape days are filled with laughter and competition, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

My favorite method for classroom escape rooms is always going to be paper, but did you know that you can have the same level of interaction with a digital escape room in Google Forms™? The key is how you set up the escape room. With a similar setup in gameplay to the paper escape rooms, we can still encourage both collaboration and individual student work.

Digital escape rooms also allow for these challenges to be completed as a part of distance education. During the COVID-19 outbreak, this has been a necessity. However, there are also many schools that do online education as their norm.

How the Digital Escape Rooms Work

The most common digital platform used is Google, so I decided to utilize Google Forms™ as our escape room platform. Students must be logged into a Google account to access the games.

The setup is the same as my print games because I’ve found this the easiest (and most fun) way to run an escape classroom. Overcomplicated games are not my thing!

Tip #1: Any device that works with the Google suite can be used. This includes both computers and tablets. If students will be using on a tablet, make sure they use the app version of Google Slides for the moveable parts in the challenges.

The students start by learning about the emojis and how they ended up here. This is their game introduction and it’s so much fun! It also explains that they have 60 minutes to escape. This is the only major difference between the digital and print games.

Then, they meet the emoji leader. When they get to this simple step, they’re already hooked!

Next, students go through the same sets of math or readinchallenges that they would in the paper version. Each challenge focuses on one or multiple skills. The answers to the questions in the challenge give students a clue to enter on the form.

Tip #2: It’s ok for students to write work on paper to solve these problems. They can also keep their challenge answers written down in case they have to back out of the form.

If students mistype the answer, they get prompts to help them. If they get stuck further, you have a full answer key to help them to the next step.

Once they get through all of the challenges, they’ll get proof of escape! They can save the digital proof, or print it.

Related Resources

Using Optional Themed Timers

We have optional themed timers for Escape From Emoji Island and Escape From Planet Emoji and they are A-MAZING!

Using Digital Escapes During Distance Education

Go to the next section if you’re looking for tips implementing this inside the classroom.

Distance education has been, well, an adjustment. Teachers are doing the best they can to keep normalcy for students in a wide variety of situations. We still want students to have special activities and events they can remember at the end of the year. Digital escape rooms allow for this, even though we’re not all together.

I highly recommend you run this “live” on Zoom or another live chat. This will allow you to help students who are stuck and really enjoy the game together. If a large number of students seems overwhelming, you can run it in separate sessions with small groups.

However, I know many classes still don’t have virtual meetings, and that’s ok! This can still be completed independently by students at home. I do suggest passing on the answer key to parents/caregivers, if possible. With the technology skills + critical thinking required to complete it, it’s always nice to have an adult to help.

Best of all, you can still play the part of the emoji leader and decorate. Wear a crown and decorate the area behind our screen. Encourage students to make their own emoji decor before the game starts.

Do I need a lot of tech knowledge to run this?

No! I included step-by-step directions and a full answer key to use yourself or pass on to family members helping the students.

Using Digital Escapes in the Classroom

Digital escapes are a great way to save paper while running the same exact experience we have with the printed games in the classroom. If you have 1:1 devices, I highly recommend using the digital version!

You’ll still need some things to make the experience magical:

  • The printed kidnapped cards and sign for students to stand when they’re given this time out.
  • A really awesome adult (you or a helper) to play the emoji leader. You won’t have to check their answers, but you’re there to hand out kidnapped cards and help them when they’re stuck… all in character, of course.
  • Classroom decorations – I get mine at Walmart for cheap (emojis are very easy to find), or you can have students make them the day before!

Related Resources

No matter how you do these escape rooms, your students are bound to have a blast! These classroom escapes are the absolute best way to review the standards and encourage critical thinking skills!

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Written by
April Smith

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