‘The Odyssey’ Escape: Ozark Junior High teacher plans digital breakout to engage students

By Headliner News Staff

In today’s world filled with technology at our fingertips, it can sometimes be difficult to find ways to engage students in an ancient poem — like Homer’s 8th century B.C. Greek poem, “The Odyssey.”

“I had really been wanting to focus on student engagement and a deeper level of thinking and problem solving skills,” Ozark Junior High English teacher Briea Williams said. “A digital breakout is a way to get basic information to students instead of lecturing.”

A digital breakout is like an escape room but completed on the computer. The game not only challenged students but gave them much-needed background on the poem.

“Students basically had to read through some background information about ‘The Odyssey’ and answer questions,” Williams said. “The answer was the password to locked documents. The question required them to solve puzzles and look for clues.” 

Ninth-grader Livvy Woodall said she hopes to do more digital breakouts in the future. 

“It was really fun. It helped me understand the story and learn about the characters,” she said.

Williams said she plans to find a way to use a digital breakout in each upcoming unit. 

“The Odyssey” is part of a unit called The Hero’s Journey — a literary concept that shows the adventure, crisis, victory and transformation of a hero. 

“I like the idea of the hero’s journey and how that can be applied to the students’ coming of age,” Williams said. “This is an age where they are on their own journey and what they do now shapes them into who they become.” 

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