ISTE20Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Summit
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Breakout and Game On

Location: W183a

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 25, 10:00–11:00 am
Location: W183a

Sean Arnold   Amanda Mcfee  
People's Choice winner. We'll combine Classcraft's new quest feature with BreakoutEDU to help turn your classroom into a playful learning adventure. You'll get the chance to play yourselves in an escape adventure created especially for ISTE. It will be backed by game-based learning research that we will present as we play.

Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: NECESSARY
a laptop or mobile device capable of connecting to the internet (a laptop is preferable, but a tablet would work as well)
a Google account, most importantly with access to Google Forms (

The following are not necessary to participate but are recommended to make full use of some of the materials presented.
a Classcraft account (
a Breakout EDU account (

Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Game-based learning and gamification
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Special education, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.
Related exhibitors: Classcraft

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Many students are disenfranchised by traditional learning because of background, access, disability, or sheer boredom. We will look through the UDL lens to build higher order thinking and 21st-century skills for ALL learners through accessible and differentiated game-based learning (GBL) and classroom gamification. We will dig beyond bells and badges to show teachers how to create intrinsically motivating instruction that empowers students to move past frustration with instruction/content.
We will present a history of GBL and research into its effectiveness while identifying the building blocks of good learning games. After a sufficient background into the basic use of the digital assessment tools, we will guide teachers through creating full-fledged learning adventures.
The tools being utilized will be Classcraft online, digital Breakout EDU, multi-platform accessibility tools (Apple, Google, Microsoft), Google Forms, and other Google Apps for Education. Teacher learning will be based on the SAMR model while student learning will be demonstrated through GBL, challenge-based learning, and blended learning models. Lesson examples can be found linked at Several classes of students with behavioral challenges and autism in New York City have utilized the platforms to re-engage them in learning and higher-order thinking despite their perceived limitations. It led to increased student engagement, improved academic outcomes, and decreased incidences of negative behavior.

Participants will learn to digitally assess and differentiate.
Participants will learn to build challenges for students in class and beyond by creating gamified experiences.


5 min - Introduction & Introductory Game - The best way to learn about engaging students through play is by having teachers play themselves. Teachers will collaborate and play a simple GBL history game.
10 min - GBL Overview - We will address a history of GBL and research into its effectiveness while identifying the building blocks of good learning games.
20 min - Differentiation & Digital Assessment - We will begin to demonstrate for teachers how they can utilize digital assessments and GBL platforms to differentiate student work. This portion will cover managing engagement and behavior as well.
20 min - Quest-Based Learning - We will demonstrate how to engage in quest-based differentiated learning with students and give teachers opportunities to create their own. They will also be playing an exemplar game that demonstrates best practices with the platforms.
5 min - Wrap Up/Q & A

Supporting research

Mind/Shift Digital Game Guide
FutureLab Games In Ed
University of Rochester Vision Study
Project Evo & Sea Hero Quest FDA research
see and also

Explore Like a Pirate by Michael Matera
Man, Play, and Games by Roger Caillois

More [+]


Sean Arnold, NYC Dept. of Education

Sean is a special educator and STEM Coach who has taught in New York City’s District 75 citywide special needs program since 2005. Despite it being somewhat antithetical to his introverted personality, Sean wants to share his experience and expertise at making learning accessible, inventive, and playful. He presents these ideas at professional development opportunities and conferences to any educational change agents that would hear it. He has the following achievements: NYCDOE Excellence in School Technology Award, Apple Distinguished Educator, Google Certified Trainer, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, SMART Exemplary Educator, BrainPOP and Flocabulary Certified, and a Classcraft and Minecraft Mentor.

Amanda Mcfee, NYC DOE

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