E-Learning Module

Unit 4 Grain 16
Online Tools: Digital tools to create a digitally supported escape room
60 minutes

In our digital era, digital tools become more and more prominent in all fields, including education and games of course. Digital resources can be both free and of easy use and allow for a flexibility of the digital escape room. This grain will equip teachers and other people wanting to create pedagogical escape rooms with the knowledge necessary to use simple, freely available digital tools. We will cover two main free online resources: Google Tools and Genially. More specifically, we will concentrate on the use of Google Forms to a create a series of locks, as this is one of the tools that is the easiest to use and most versatile available to create escape rooms. Lastly, we will see how to go about creating a Genially digital escape room.

By the end of this grain, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the interest of using Google Forms and Genially in pedagogical escape rooms
  • Build a Google Form according to pedagogical objectives
  • Build a Genially according to pedagogical objectives
  • Understand the actual functioning of Google Forms and Genially
  • Be able to create their own series of Google Form or your own Genially in the context of an escape room

Google Forms

Google Forms is one of the main free resources online to create escape rooms. It will allow you to create simple locks of more complicated series of enigmas and locks. Basically Google locks will allow you to set up a series of pages on which an enigma or a question can be written. The pupils will need to enter a specific answer, like a password, in order to access to the next page, on which a next enigma or clue will await them with a new code or password to enter. The path to solving the escape room is thus mainly linear, which has its pros and cons. As was mentioned in lesson 13, an advantage of the linear path is that the solving path is very clear for the pupils and rewarding when they can access the next level. On the other hand, a con would be that it does not promote teamwork as much as there is only one enigma or puzzle to work on at a time. It can, however, be combined with physical clues to assemble and solve. The full enigma does not have to be on the Google Form. It can be a missing clue to solving a physical puzzle, outside of the Google Form if necessary.


Genially is a platform on which, as an educator, you can create different pages with backgrounds, images and designs in a way that will allow the pupil to explore it online. An invisible box that leads to another page when you click on it can be drawn over an element of the décor. This way, by clicking on the element (which has the invisible box over it) the pupil can be redirected to another page, giving further information/clues/enigmas. Here, the exploring of the game is not linear like with Google forms but allows for different threads of game. It does, however, mean that the use of a computer is essential, which can make teamwork difficult in this case.

Both Genially and Google Forms are user-friendly, free online tools but the aim and the type of gameplay (entirely online, half on a computer and half in class with concrete clues or mostly concrete clues. Or also, in teams of pupils or all pupils are solving the escape room separately as homework) need to be taken into consideration before deciding on using them. In order to do that, the technology available in class or at home (for homework or remote learning) is crucial. Making an Escape room entirely on Genially with only one computer for 30 pupils may not be very relevant.

One way to promote teamwork and to allow all pupils to explore it in case of a limited amount of computers, is to use Google Forms or Genially mainly as a structuring tool (with the enigmas and locks) and to have a lot of visual clues and small puzzles in physical form around the room.

Instructions (Step-by-Step Process)

While the practical construction of a Google Form is accessible to people who doesn’t dabble into informatics and the practical creation of a Genially, although time-consuming, is pretty accessible as well, the preparation of the content and structure of your Google Form/Genially are what need more theoretical explanation. We will go through every preparatory step in this lesson and there will be video tutorials that explain how to create a Google Form or a Genially for escape rooms in practical terms.

Let us begin with the preparatory steps.

Define your target group and the objectives of your escape room

The first thing while setting up a Google Form based escape room, is to determine your target group and educative goal, as was outlined in Grain 2 and Grain 5 respectively.

Is it a learning escape room or an escape room to test knowledge, or simply a way for pupils to put their lessons into practice and to think outside the box using their knowledge learnt in class? In the first case of a “testing” or “putting into practice” aimed escape room, you are supposed to use knowledge that they already have. In other cases, the students need to have the tools necessary at hand to figure out the answer. (Books, schematics, notes, etc.)

Assemble the precise materials that you want to cover in the ER

What kind of materials do you want to cover?
What kind of answer do you expect them to find? A numerical one? A mathematical one? A theoretical one?

  • In Google Forms, you can choose different types of answers: numerical locks, word locks or colour locks.
  • Genially can contain anything visual from numerical locks, images, puzzles, colour codes, etc…

It is essential to identify your escape room fundamental mechanisms:

  • Hints: do you deliver them? And if yes, how?
  1. Limited or unlimited hints?
  2. Automated at certain times / on request / given in exchange for “time”, or in exchange for an “answer to an additional enigma/puzzle”, etc…
  • Enigmas, how do you present them?
  1. Presented as such / hidden inside a puzzle / divided in several pieces
  2. Physical enigma (printed, paper puzzle, images, etc) / digital enigma (Google Form / Genially / another supporting platform)
  • Puzzles, how do you present them?
  1. Physical puzzles (special lock, wood pieces puzzle, japanese box, etc) / Digital puzzle

Content creation of the locks.

The materials to cover can be taken from previous or future quizzes that you intended to make. There are different ways to present your materials in the escape room. Questions that can be made into enigmas or puzzles. The corresponding information needed to solve it should be disseminated in the room. It can be presented as it is, or it can be hidden in an image, a text, an object, etc.

For example, if you are in a math class, you could leave an image with triangles somewhere, with information regarding the length of only two of the three sides. The pupils would need to find tools somewhere inside the room to measure the last side of the triangle. Maybe the two other sides have their values written with invisible ink and they need a ultraviolet (UV) light to reveal it. Another way to find the values of the two initial sides, would be to have them hidden in a fake article on Phytagoras’s statue. The ideal would be to find a picture containing a triangular form, or a hidden triangle. For example, a picture of Phytagoras’s statue in Phytagorio. (see Figure 1 down below)

Figure 1 source: Pixabay, Matthias_Groeneveld, consulted 28 on the 20th of October 2020

Once they found the measurement of two of the sides, they need to use Pythagoras’s theorem to calculate the value of the last side. The value would be the numerical code to the next enigma on the Google Form for example.

Define the theme and adapt those questions to fit in.

You will need to find a common thread, a theme or reason for the pupils to resolve the room. All the locks and enigmas need to evolve in a logical and clear manner. You can either tailor your questions according to a theme you have chosen before. Or, if you do not have much inspiration, rounding all the questions/answers/materials that you want to cover, can help to think of a common theme after having the whole list. It is also useful to find a reason why pupils would have to solve all enigmas in the narrative (especially through the computer).

Example of a simple scenario: A Mathematician, Pr Square, who is also a well-loved Math teacher at school, made an incredible discovery. Something that will revolutionize Mathematics but can also be used for nefarious means. He was worried his research would fall into the wrong hands. He knew that his rival, Pr Maladvised, was spying on his research and was jealous of his talent. He didn’t want him to be able to find his research easily, but he also didn’t want his research lost forever, should something happen to him. So, he decided to hide it in a way that his intelligent pupils could find clues to it and continue to preserve his research in case of a mysterious accident. He hid clues in lessons in a way that Pr Maladvised would never think to look there. Pr Square disappeared, but not before sending a message to his pupils so that they may discover his research in time and give it to his trustworthy colleague Pr Triangle. But Pr Maladvised has hacked part of that message and is now on the lookout for the research as well. As loyal pupils to Pr Square, you have one hour to solve his mystery, or else Pr Maladvised will crack the code before you, steal the research and use it for his own nefarious agenda. If you fail, Pr Maladvised will be able to create a new weapon that could start a third World War and all will be lost for humanity.

Create a new Google Form and inject all the enigmas into the template.

Each correct answer should bring the student to the next enigma. The final message can give the code to open a box, containing the “objective” or the “reward” of the escape room. For example, in the example above, the box could contain the pages of research and formulas of Pr Square of which they would need to take pictures and send them to a previously created email address: prtriangle@gmail.com.

Materials and Resources

Your preparatory questions to making your escape room locks on Google Forms:

Q1. What is your objective?

◦ What is your goal? (To test? To discover new materials? To rehearse know materials? To put viewed materials into practice?)
◦ What kind of answers do you expect? Numerical? Letter-based?

Q2. What is the information you want to test/cover with this escape room?

◦ List all information
◦ Write down all the questions that would lead to the information
◦ Make those questions into enigmas
◦ Find or create all additional materials that the pupils might need to solve the enigmas (pictures, theory, etc.)

Q3. Find a good story to make your questions and enigmas into one cohesive experience, write your story line.
You will need:

◦ A reason why the pupils need to solve the escape room
◦ An element of time-pressure (logical)
◦ A goal/end result/

Q4. Incorporate the questions and enigmas into the storyline in a cohesive way.

Q5. Build the questions into your Google Form or your Genially. In order to have all technical details, please refer to the video tutorials “How to create a series of escape rooms locks with Google Form” and “How to create an escape room using Genially”