Wednesday, March 04, 2009

10 online icebreakers

For the third time I was going through all my resources- files and bookmarks to find online icebreakers. I thought I'd do myself (and you) a favour by listing the most interesting ones. 10 online icebreakers (the picture relates to number 10!):

1. Two Lies and A Truth. Ask participants to list three interesting things about themselves. (I own two iguanas; I once shook hands with Tom Cruise; and I love to waterski.) Two must be lies and one must be true. Other participants must vote to determine which interesting thing is the truth. The participant with the most incorrect votes wins. Alternatively participants could be put into small groups and find out through teamwork what the truths and lies are. An other alternative game is three truths and a lie.

Source: Using online icebreakers to promote student/teacher interaction

2. Childhood Dream. Ask the participants to share their childhood dream (what they wanted to be or do when they grew up) and then ask them to reflect on how this correlates with their current aspirations.

Source: Using online icebreakers to promote student/teacher interaction

3. Miscomm-puter-unication. Ask the participants to share their most embarrassing mishap using a computer. Share your own experience, for example, replying to the wrong person in an email. This will loosen them up and cause a few to chuckle before embarking on a whole new way of thinking…using technology instead of paper and pen

Source: Using online icebreakers to promote student/teacher interaction

4. Three words. Ask participants to write a story together. The rule is that everyone is only allowed to put up three words. They are allowed to post again if at least one other participant has put up three words. At the end of the exercise you can summarize the whole story of even read it and post it as an audio file or a video.

Source: Nancy White’s online facilitation course.

5. Six degrees of separation. Ask each participant to find out how he/she is linked to another participant through 5 others because they have some kind of connection. The solutions needs to be posted and should look like this: me > Jeffrey > Donna > Patricia > Hans > Sherry with an explanation of the connections. In finding the answers, participants have to interact and ask a lot of questions to each other. It may easily take a week. A shorter variation of this exercise may be to ask participants to find one other person they have some kind of connection with. (a participant they did not know before).

Source: CPsquare’s foundations of communities of practice online course.

6. Personal Cards. Ask participants to make a card representing themselves using trading cards: After making a card they can post it online. You can ask them to prepare a card about a specific aspect of their lives or their own style. For instance, their own communication or learning style.

Source: Trading cards

7. What’s on your reading list? Ask participants to make a picture o f some of the books they have recently read or are currently reading. By sharing the books you are reading you tell something about yourself.

Source: Dorine Ruter, ecollaboration list.

8. Would you rather? Ask participants some 'Would you rather' questions and let them answer them. After this participants can make up their own would you rather questions. Come up with a list of Would you Rather Questions or use some of these:
• Would you rather always win pie-eating contests or always win wheelbarrow races?
• Would you rather be a deep sea diver or an astronaut?
• Would you rather be able to hear any conversation or take back anything you say?
• Would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?
• Would you rather be the most popular or the smartest person you know?
• Would you rather be the sand castle or the wave?
• Would you rather give up your computer or your pet?
• Would you rather never use the internet again or never watch TV again?
• Would you rather not be able to use your phone or your e-mail?

Source: Teampedia icebreakers for online teams

9. Same and different Put the participants in groups - and ask participants to find something that the group has in common (eg 'everyone has been to France' and something that is unique to each person in the group (eg 'plays waterpolo', 'speaks Greek', 'was born in Leeds').

Source: Comment on Kirsten Thompson’s blogpost

10. Video messages. You can ask participants to make a video message for each other using Bubblejoy ( It is easy to do, but it does require a webcam and some experience in using a webcam. After recording a message, you can send it via email. It is possible to ask participants to copy the link and post it online for the other participants.

Source: comment on the ">Bamboo project blog


Anonymous said...

Hi Joitske

Thanks for these ice-breakers.
I like your rich site, I see you have been in the blog-world for a long time.
I would like add it to my Blog-Roll if that is OK with you.
I am keen to come and browse some more.


Joitske said...

Hi Stephen, I also liked your blog and added it to my blogroll, so you are welcome! I found your blog through a comment on another blog about learning and painting. (forget which blog exactly)

Anonymous said...

I really like this list of icebreakers, many of which I had never seen. I get tired of using the same old ones so great to get some new material - thanks. Warmup activities like this are essential for getting lots of interaction in a class right from the start.

Seth Marbin said...

Hi Joitske -

thanks for including Teampedia among the resources you listed!

We set it up as an open-access wiki so anyone can contribute and edit.

Please consider adding your favorites there as well so others can find them and ideally avoid "going through all [their] resources- files and bookmarks to find online icebreakers." :)


Stephen said...

Hello Joistke,
Thanks a lot ofr these ice breakers. Very rich! I will sure put some of these in my GINKS and other activities up north in Tamale.



lasagna recipe said...

I actually use the 3 words story game with my children on car rides. It works wonders, and you get some interesting stories!

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Linda Parkinson-Hardman said...

What a useful set of icebreakers and thanks - they've given me so ideas for a workshop I'm about to start preparing for.

Nathan Stanley said...

Great list of ice breakers!! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Everyone, I was glad when I stumbled upon this site. These are some terrific ice breakers. Thanks to all who participated.

Unknown said...

Many thanks for online icebreakers.
Particularly, I've heard six degrees of separation through BNI organization. Business Network International taught the principle of human network, and I remember it was connected with that.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you for these ice breakers - I think they would be just as good for in class ice breakers!

ugliebettie said...

Thanks for these ...

Anonymous said...

These are terrific! Love the "would you rathers." Agree with Anonymous - good for in class and other situations also.

RL said...

Good ideas. I personally hate having to introduce myself. People think I am out going, but I actually have a very shy side. Using these types of icebreakers make it less dreadful and more interesting.

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Gerard Beaulieu said...

We have recently developed a service called that makes ice breakers even easier.

The Virtual Ice Breaker Team

Joitske said...

I think the website is

Unknown said...

I really like these ideas. I also gained some new ideas for in ice breakers as well. I use to hate introducing myself. blah blah blah! No one ever listens.

Veronique said...

These are great ideas.

madhu said...

Really very nice article.

Dee Thomas said...

I love the truths and untruth ice breaker, however, I adapted that one in my class so people have the opportunity to share three things about themselves. They could be what they do now for a job, if they've ever traveled, have children, hobbies they are involved with or whatever they want to share. It's quite exciting because many people find commonalities with others and this makes them feel automatically part of the college family. A sense of belonging takes place and students feel good about who they are and their accomplishments they have as they come into an unfamiliar situation.

madhu said...

Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

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Love this article it says a lot to learn. Online Ed is very important cause all of the topics are going to spread on social sites. keep doing!

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naresh it said...

I really like these ideas. I also gained some new ideas for in ice breakers as well. I use to hate introducing myself. blah blah blah! No one ever listens.

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Anonymous said...

Some unique ones here. I like to have each student say 1) name and course of study, 2) where they are from originally, 3) one interesting thing you'd like the class to know about you.