The first step is to plan your activity. To do so, you'll want to think about what you're trying to accomplish with an online escape room. Is this a review exercise? Are you presenting new knowledge? Are there specific objectives? Is this a trial to see how well such an activity will work with your students? Answers to these questions will help you develop your escape room. Planning involves the following.
What is the purpose/goal/objective of the activity?
How many students will participate in the activity, and how many times will the activity be used? This can help determine the benefit of the time required to develop the activity.
How much time do you have available to develop it?
What is the storyline for your escape room?
Do you have help developing it or do you need additional help?
Do you have someone to test it?
Is it an Individual or group activity?
Will it be hosted In BlueLine or elsewhere?
What content will be in it (including background information for the topic, questions, definitions, etc.)?
Do you have images that you want to incorporate in it?
There are many ways that you can use Google and other tools to create an online escape room. However, because of the flexibility of Google Sites, creating one can function well as the basis for your escape room. Google Sites provides one of the easiest ways to create a free website. It is available at: sites.google.com. The page entitled "Google Sites" from the link in the navigation as a subtopic of "The Steps" contains an introductory video on how Google Sites work. It is worth your time to watch the 15-minute video. Once you have done that, you will better understand how Sites work.
Once you have created the first page of your site, "Home," you will want to write the scenario for your escape room and its image - more about that later. This is accomplished by adding a text box from the "Insert" tab on the right.
You can create additional pages for the clues. To create those pages, select the "Pages" tab at the top right (between "Insert" and "Themes" tabs), and select the add page link at the bottom right of the Google Sites editor.
You probably want to control access to the clues by limiting the navigation to the pages containing them. This may be done from the "Pages" tab, where the pages you have created are listed. When you mouse over a page name, three vertical dots appear on the page name's right. Select them and then "Hide from navigation."
Pages that are not visible in the navigation will be identified with an icon indicating so from the "Pages" tab.
You can insert the image on the site's home page that will be your escape "room." That image will contain the links to the pages that will have the clues. Instructions for finding that image and creating an image map with links to the clues may be found from the navigation under "The Steps" entitled "Google Drawings."
Now that you have a basic plan and have started your Google Site, you are ready to move on to the next step. This step is where you will develop the challenges. Based on what you decided in Step 1 and the pages for clues that you created in Step 2, how many challenges would you like to create? What types of challenges are appropriate? Here are some ideas of challenges that may work for you.
With Google Forms, you can create "tests" that include short answer, multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdown, multiple choice grid, and checkbox grid type of questions. Since a Google Form can be inserted into a Google Site, these forms can be used for students to solve for clues necessary to "escape." You can learn more about how to create them from the Google Forms button in the navigation as a subtopic of "The Steps." Google Forms can be inserted into pages in Google Sites.
Free tools are available to create a crossword puzzle that can be embedded on a page in your Google Site. PuzzleFast (https://www.puzzlefast.com/) is one of those. You can copy the code to embed the puzzle on a page on your Google Site.
Another option is to create a jigsaw puzzle that, when completed, can provide a clue for students. An example of this is with Jigsaw Planet (https://www.jigsawplanet.com/). With this free tool, you can create a jigsaw puzzle by uploading an image related to a clue in your escape room, copying the embed code, and putting it on a page in your escape room Google Site.
You can create codes to change letters to numbers, for instance. These can be used as clues. Provide the instructions within the "room" you are creating and the link to a decoder, such as Boxentriq (https://www.boxentriq.com/code-breaking/letters-to-numbers).
Suppose you have a video or a website you would like to use for a clue. There are several ways to do this. One would be to record your video, upload it to BlueCast (Panopto) and embed it into a page. Another option is to create a QR code associated with the link on YouTube or to a website. QRCodeMonkey (https://www.qrcode-monkey.com/) is a free source for creating QR codes. All you need is the link to the video, website, or another resource.
These can be ones that you record or others available online, such as on YouTube. Videos can be embedded on a page and contain clues.
After participants have gathered the clues from the challenges you created, there needs to be a way for them to "escape" the room. You can create a page on the Google Site to do this. This can include a form that requires the input of the answers to the clues and can be accomplished with a Google Form containing a series of questions asking for those answers or a single one for a final answer based on what the participant has gathered from the clues. If the student answers the question(s) correctly, you can provide feedback indicating that they have escaped. This will generally be inserted into an "Unlock It" page on your Google site.
With the ability to add feedback to a question, you can congratulate the participant and let them know they have escaped. This can even include a video!