The Escape Room that was set up by University of Twente students on campus last year was given a second run at GeoFort in Herwijnen (province of Utrecht).
Last summer, GeoFort was voted the best children’s museum in the world. The hugely successful Escape Room was set up by student association Inter-Actief (Computer Science, Business & IT) and was given a wonderful and public second run. In two cosy rooms in a former fortress, visitors will get to work solving mathematical challenges created by our students.
An Escape Room is a dynamic puzzle game in which a team of no more than six people is locked into a room. They can only escape by solving the puzzles within a certain period of time. Inter-Actief approaches the popularity of escape room activities from the perspective of its own discipline.
726 University of Twente visitors
“These days you can find Escape Rooms anywhere, but ours has a unique theme and strong academic research to back it up”, explains University of Twente student Rien Heuver. “It’s so cool that our escape room is now part of GeoFort. The Escape Room at the University of Twente was supposed to stay open for only three weeks at first. But so many people were interested that we decided to extend this period and keep the room open until late in the evening. In the end we were able to welcome 142 teams, including a grand total of 726 University of Twente staff and students. I hope we’ll see the same success at GeoFort.
Think like Turing
The ‘Think like Turing’ theme in the Escape Room celebrates the accomplishments of the late Alan Turing. During the Second World War, this British mathematician and computer scientist worked for the British crypto-analytical services, whose main goal was to decipher coded messages intercepted from the Germans. Turing managed to be one of the first to crack the German Enigma Cipher, giving the Allied Forces vital information that would help them win the war.
The participants in the Escape Room are prisoners of war in a German cell. Their task is simple but challenging: solve every puzzle and escape with important information about the Germans. The Escape Room at GeoFort has been changed to a geo-theme and is now called ‘War Escape’.
Sociometric Badges measure cooperation
The Inter-Actief Escape Room at the University of Twente was also used by Stijn de Laat, research scientist for the departments of Educational Science (OWK) and Psychology for Conflict Risk and Security (PCRV). Mr De Laat researches personality traits, closeness of the team and interaction patterns such as splitting up a group. “In an Escape Room, participants have to work together in order to be successful. This offers unique opportunities to gain more insight into team processes”, explains De Laat. He did this using Sociometric Badges. This allows him to more objectively measure team effectiveness than by using questionnaires for example. De Laat is currently analysing his data.
GeoFort is an educational attraction that is all about cartography and navigation, located at a fort in the area of the Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie. At GeoFort, the visitor is introduced to old and new geo-technology at the GeoExperience, the intelligent maze and the Bat Hunting Garden.
During the annual Ecsite (European Network of Science Centres and Museums) Conference last summer, GeoFort won the 2016 Children in Museums Award, a prestigious international prize. According to the jury, GeoFort has a wonderful way of explaining dry subjects in a very direct, social and fun way. ‘Children learn by doing, while having fun’, said the jury.
Living Smart Campus
The Escape Room is one of the projects of the Living Smart Campus (LSC) of the University of Twente, aimed at fulfilling the potential of the campus. The Living Smart Campus programme is a collection of campus development projects which use the campus as a living lab. Academic researchers, education departments, support staff or student initiatives can be the start of these projects.
More information is available at: www.utwente.nl/livingsmartcampus
The ‘Think like Turing’ Escape Room at GeoFort has been renamed ‘War Escape’ and is accessible to groups of no more than eight persons aged 15 or up. Participants are given an hour to escape from the room.
More information and tickets for War Escape at GeoFort (in Dutch)