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Break out the games pt 2: Unlocking clues and hidden messages

Kia ora e te whānau, we’re all heading into week two, where our family’s (friends and neighbours) wellbeing continues to be a priority. Please take this time to focus on what matters most.

As we move into facilitating distance learning across Aoteaora, the Ministry of Education is creating some resources to help with physical, social and emotional wellbeing. So watch this space (https://learningfromhome.govt.nz/wellbeing). In the meantime, Enabling e-Learning team wants to share some mariko (virtual) manaakinga and let you know we’re here to support you online. We’ve started by collating some resources to help with setting up learning spaces, technologies and strategies for distance learning @ Enabling e-Learning communication technologies.

Enabling e-Learning team

Want learning to be fun?


As we consider what distance learning might look like, we can’t assume all learners are self-driven and will be motivated to stay on task. What we do know, is there is a generation of millennials who’s brains (including chemical dopamine challenge achievement) are increasingly shaped by gaming. Gamified scenarios can directly affect engagement and behaviour through; feedback, friends and fun. Engaging millennials with gamification: Gabe Zichermann at TEDxBroadway

We can set learning tasks from a distance using digital platforms to increase/maintain motivation and engagement online by turning learning progress into a game. Platforms like Rezzly, Classcraft, Classdojo and Education Perfect can create gamified environments that reward students in a positive learning culture where ‘players’ can complete quests, “level up” compete or collaborate to reach their educational goals. Students can monitor their own progress, earn experience points, ranks, rewards and badges. This is Gamification at its best.

Why not turn your lessons into Escape rooms?


Clues pictureAnother concept proving very popular, is the Panic Room or Escape Room concept – also called Exit Rooms, Escape Games or Mystery Rooms. Here classroom challenges can be turned into digital breakout rooms where students are given a series of tasks, such as find clues, solve puzzles and unlock levels using pin codes and passwords to escape a room in certain amount of time. This can be done synchronously (in real time in breakout rooms in video conferencing tools such as Zoom, or asynchronously (over time) or with family and whānau input at home.

The beautiful thing about these resources, is they can be created and shared between classrooms. You can take content from worksheets and make your own digital breakout tasks by using this Digital Breakout template.

The idea is extremely innovative: it works with any content area, particular skill or objective you’re teaching, and students are needless to say, extremely into it. After all, their “lives” are on the line! https://www.classtime.com/blog/digital-escape-rooms/

Platforms to consider


Here the lines between socialisation, entertainment, productivity and performance can become blurred and as teachers, we can capitalise on a gaming culture that many of our young people respond to. Of course, we can also appreciate doing simple tasks around the house and spending some quality time offline. It’s all about balance.

If you have any queries or comments, pease feel free to add these below (you will need to be a member of the e-Learning: Teaching group) or if you would like more personalised support, please don’t hesitate to message me. 

Ngā mihi nui,

Tess (on behalf of the Enabling e-Learning team)

Also see


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