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Digital Escape Rooms for Music Class

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Digital escape rooms for music class: The what, why, and how of creating a digital escape room for your music lessons, for in-person or virtual learning

Are you looking for engaging music lessons for the fall? Whether you are in person with guidelines to not sing, or to limit singing, or you are teaching from home, it can be challenging to create lessons for this new environment.

In this blog post, I wrote about escape rooms, and how fun and engaging they can be for students. Typically, escape rooms are played in small groups, and that could be tricky if socially distancing, or impossible if students are learning from home. Digital escape rooms can be a wonderful way to keep students engaged while working individually. In this blog post, I’ll detail the what, why, and how of digital escape rooms.

What are digital escape rooms?

Digital escape rooms consist of digital tasks for students to complete. Each task might give students a letter, or an answer, and they use that letter or answer to solve the code and “escape” the room!

Why should I use them?

Digital escape rooms are super fun and engaging! They can improve students’ understanding of a musical concept while keeping them excited about their learning. In this time, when we have to remain distanced, or have to remain at home, digital escape rooms are a wonderful option for music lessons.

How do I create a digital escape room?

There are several ways that you could create one. Here are three ways that could work well.

Google Form

This is probably the simplest option. To create this digital escape room, you simply create a Google Form. Each question would ask students to visit a website or complete some kind of digital task. After students complete that task, they might be asked a question about the content, or they might be asked to look for a clue within the website. For example, the Google form could link to this video, by my friend Debbie O’Shea from Crescendo Music Education:

After watching this video that asks students to read tika-tika patterns, you might ask “Which of these patterns was ta ta tika-tika ta— 1, 2, 5, or 7?” Students would then hopefully type 2. You can set up the Google form so that when a student answers correctly, it lets them move on in the form; if not, they have to correct their answer, or their form won’t submit. This is called response validation; here is a quick tutorial:

After students answer all five questions correctly, they can click “submit” and escape the room! You might also set up the form so that when the students click “view score,” they get some kind of reward. This might be time on a fun site like Chrome Music Lab, a link to a certificate with a reward, etc. Note: If using response validation, you will want to tell students to use all lowercase letters or all uppercase letters, depending on how you’ve entered the answers.

Thinglink

I just discovered Thinglink a few months ago, and absolutely love it! It is a free website (with some paid options) that allows you to add tasks, websites, audio, and more, to a 360 or static image. If doing a digital escape room, you could add tasks to your Thinglink. After that, you could create a Google Site, and embed the Thinglink, an escape room timer like this, and a Google Form into the Google Site. Here’s an example of what that could look like, from my instruments of the orchestra escape room:

If your district blocks Google Sites, then you could embed the escape room timer, the Thinglink, and the Google Form into a LMS, or Learning Management System, like Google Classroom, Schoology, or Canvas.

Google Slides

You might choose to put your digital escape room into Google Slides. To do this, you could create Google Slides that have one task on each slide. This might be something they do within Google Slides (like watch an embedded video), or it could be a link to an external website. You could also have a link to a Google form, which they would click, answer the question for each task, then come back to the Google Slides to do the next task.

What kinds of tasks could I assign?

Besides the examples listed above, here are some other ideas of tasks students could complete:

  • Create in Chrome Music Lab’s Melody Maker, then answer the question “If do is red, which solfa is orange?”
  • Dictate in The Rhythm Trainer, then answer the question, “How many sounds on a beat are eighth notes?”
  • Read with the Rhythm Randomizer, then answer the question, “How many sounds on a beat are sixteenth notes?”
  • Visit this website, then answer the question, “Which instrument family does the flute belong to?”
  • Watch this video, then answer the question, “What word do we remember for the space notes?”

The possibilities are endless!

I hope this is helpful to you as you consider how to create your own digital escape room. Looking for ready-made digital escape rooms? Check out these:

Also, if you are feeling excited yet overwhelmed by technology, my course, “Tech for Music Teachers,” is open for enrollment now! Click here to check it out.

Comment below with your ideas or questions about digital escape rooms. Happy creating!

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