EXCEL Students Catch a (Virtual) ‘Breakout’

EXCEL Students Catch a (Virtual) ‘Breakout’

Middle schoolers in the district’s EXCEL program for the academically gifted recently had a chance to work with a “breakout box,” an immersive learning games platform from Breakout EDU. The students had to use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open a locked box.

Afterwards, as part of EXCEL’s ongoing “Inventing Self” series, the students were treated to a virtual meeting with a surprise guest via Google Hangouts. The students had to figure out who the mystery guest was, where he was and why he was there. Through a series of perceptive questions, the students deduced the identity of the guest, Breakout EDU founder and CEO James Sanders of San Francisco, California.

Sanders began his education career as a middle school history teacher in South Los Angeles, where he worked with Google to pilot and launch Chromebooks for Education. As a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, he he led the development of Future Ready Schools and the White House Film Festival. His inspirational virtual talk with the Islip students addressed the idea of embracing setbacks, touching on how his experience with failure served him well in paving the path that led to his great success as an entrepreneur.

“Having successful real world giants like Mr. Sanders speak so openly and honestly with students about the non-linear pathway to success and happiness is what Inventing Self is all about,” said Julia Johnson, the EXCEL program’s coordinator.