Cracking the Code with CPD – Technology as an Enabler

Welcome to Enigma

The purpose of Enigma for curriculum teams

Enigma was designed to show by practice the massive impact that technology could have when used as an enabler and not as the focus. The aim of the session was to engage staff in a gamification CPD event.

The event was set up with an escape room style game where staff would decode 7 encrypted passwords using a combination of technology and classroom resources. As there is a strong focus on maths, english, digital literacy and teaching, learning and assessment within the sector we embedded these within the activities.  We later asked staff to identify and discuss these skills within a debriefing  session.

Over the 7 activities there were over 100 identified embedded skills with 63 of these unique skills. The segments at the side of each activity description show the skills that were embedded in each session and form part of a skills wheel.

The briefing

3 groups of 60 staff (30 teams in total) were gathered in the briefing room before being sent off on their mission. The teams were given a folder with their mission destination and identity cards (Belbin Roles) and an instruction to discuss their roles with each other before we commenced the briefing.Roles

When the teams were ready and clear on what they had to do, they were played this video: Enigma had started.

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The activities

Whilst each activity was independent the outcome from each task (word, co-ordinates, shapes etc) had to be entered correctly into the online console (Articulate Storyline) in order to be able to progress through the 7 levels of encryption. The aim was to obtain a code to open the padlocked box and retrieve the blue prints. Each team had a facilitator in the room to guide them if they got really really stuck!


If you want to download a version of the Skills Wheel handout we gave at digifest16, it is available here.


Morse Code


Level 1 – Teams were asked to communicate with a team in a different location in order to complete a morse code task. We used Adobe Connect as the technology to link the teams but to make it a little trickier – one team could only hear and one team could only see. The outcome for the task was for the teams to work together to translate a morse code word. The word was entered into the console to access level 2.



Messages in plain sight


Level 2 – A scenario was presented to the teams using Office Mix which had secret numbers embedded throughout. The numbers correlated to the AR posters around the room. The videos in the posters then gave a sequence which had to be entered into the console to enter level 3.




Moodle Quiz


Level 3 – The next task used a Moodle quiz to give instructions and to work out the correct shift key in order to decode the message. The message had to be entered into the console to enter level 4.





Book Cipher


Level 4 – Using Quizlet to link phrases and page numbers taken from a dictionary, teams were able to form a phrase which was then entered in to console to enter level 5.





Cardan Grille


Level 5 – A Hot Potatoes crossword was used to give teams numbered and coloured squares which could then be used with a Cardan grille to decypher a phrase which was then entered into the console to enter level 6.






Level 6 – Kahoot was used to generate a series of coloured shapes which correlated to specific coloured shapes that were given to the teams in their resource pack. The code that was generated was entered into the console to enter level 7.




Treasure hunt


Level 7 – Google Maps took the teams around the world to see various places of interest in relation to codebreaking, including Bletchley Park with their final location being at Loughborough College. Some locations gave them a code which when entered correctly in the console sent them to a Google photoshere of the eLearning team hidden in a room holding a sequence of numbers. These numbers made up the final code to open the padlock and retrieve the blueprint. The teams had CRACKED THE CODE.



cracked the code

 The debrief

After the blueprint was recovered, all teams came to the debrief and worked together to decide what skills were embedded in each activity and they were all encouraged to make a pledge of how they were going to use technology to embed these skills in their lesson. Bob Harrison also paid us a virtual visit to deliver the final important message “there is no research that shows technology can improve learning but there is lots of evidence to show that good teachers using good technology does”.

Technology is not the focus – it is an enabler for teachers to design, plan and deliver outstanding teaching, learning and assessment.


the debrief and Bob



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