Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Library Orientation-Breakout EDU Style

At the beginning of each year librarians around the U.S. gear up for library orientation.  It's a time to introduce themselves to students and discuss the resources and services available in the library.  In past years this usually included a PowerPoint of some kind and students passively listening.  This year the BLA librarians have taken library orientation to the next level with Breakout EDU.

If you aren't familiar with BreakoutEDU, you must remedy that immediately by watching the video below.  BreakoutEDU is an educational tool that helps students utilize critical thinking skills within a collaborative group to unlock a series of locks to essentially "break open" the locked boxes.

Watch this video to learn more about BreakoutEDU.

Putting together our library orientation game was a collaborative effort among all STISD librarians.  We started with the lesson plan template provided by BreakoutEDU and then developed a story that gave students a reason for "breaking open" the boxes.

Once the game design was complete, we did a run through to make sure that the clues given were in the right sequence.

On the first day of orientation, we introduced ourselves and then immediately jumped into putting the students into groups.  We created 5 teams and each team had their very own BreakoutEDU kit.  The only things the students had were two clues, a UV light, and two locked boxes.  It was up to the group members to decide how they would use the clues.  As the groups worked through the clues, they utilized our library's resources to uncover more clues which then led to even more clues to unlock the locks.  We offered very little help to the students and encouraged them to lean on their teammates for help.

At times the students experienced frustration when they couldn't decipher the meaning of a clue.  As facilitators, we encouraged the students to persist by looking at the clues in a new way.  It's a great life lesson for anyone to learn.  It takes persistence to overcome life's obstacles.  Once the students unlocked a lock, it was difficult to contain their "hoopin' and hollerin'".  It gave them a sense of accomplishment along with a belief in themselves that they could overcome any difficult task presented to them.

It is well worth trying BreakoutEDU in your next class, meeting or library orientation.  The students reported back that they really enjoyed the experience.  Why not try something new? 

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