Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seven more online icebreakers

I've noticed my post about 10 online icebreakers is very popular. It gets often linked from online courses too. Therefore I thought it would be nice to add some more icebreakers. All those heavy reflections.. Let's get very practical. Here we go:

  • The A, B, C of the group Though A, B, Cs at weddings are extremely boring, this worked very well as an icebreaker in a large international group. You ask people to share something about themselves choosing the next letter from the alphabet. Example: the first person chooses A from Appetite since you are a person who needs to eat regularly, the second chooses B from Brasil, the wonderful country he lives in and adds something about his country. You may leave it open for people to think of a personal or more profession-related word.
  • Free Associations You may ask people to use free association and think of three words they associate with a core theme of the online workshop. You can then enter these words into the free tool Wordle to compose a nice visualisation. You may analyze that further as a bridge to the content of the session. What strikes you as important key words? What are positive and negative associations?
  • Households or flatmates This is an icebreaker I learned through CPsquare's foundation workshop and I've used it a couple of times since. It always leads to a lot of social, informal talk. You may create households and divide names of the participants over the households (or flats, compounds, farms or tents, whatever the context). Give them some assignment, for instance to think of a name for their household or a description of their favorite living room.
  • Image search Ask people to search through Google images or through a photo site like Flickr for an image that represents their expectations from the course. What will they gain through the workshop? It may lead to creative visualisation of the expectations. Ofcourse you may tweek this exercise to suit another question. For instance, you may ask people to share an image of their own specialism. It's more fun to use image search than to ask people to share their own pictures because it stimulates creativity.
  • Voice icebreakers You may use a service like Voicethread to create a short video to which participants may comment. For instance, use your webcam and share a questions and ask participants to respond by adding their voice. A disadvantage of this icebreaker may be that not everybody may be comfortable enough using voicethread.
  • Scavenger hunt I remember I did scavenger hunt in one of my first trainings in Mali. Small groups were asked to go out and come back with a certain number of items (eg. a cigarette of a certain brand, a tomato etc. People had to get very creative. The first group won. I've never done it online, but I'm sure you could do it as a synchronous activity. You could ask people to find internet resources on for instance, with tips for managing information overload through social media (either individually or in small groups). The persons with the fastest replies or the best resources could be rewarded. In this way you end up with a nice resource list too. A type of scavenger hunt I've tried is selecting an image (in this case from Flickr) and asking people to find that image. Interestingly, people start to search for the words in the image, whereas the tags are actually important. It was harder than I had thought.
  • Youtubing In a Dutch program on television they have a Youtube compilation on a certain key word. In similar way, you could ask people to share the funniest videos about social media culture for instance. Or videos which illustrate their point of view. We once asked people to blog about their impressions about the Netherlands. The group found a wonderful video of bicyles in Utrecht.
Do you have your favorite online icebreakers? Please share them in the comments!
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SimonKoolwijk said...

Hi Joitske, thanks for sharing. Very useful. I would just like to add one, a youtube game: How many passes did you see in the basketball game? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bioyh7Gnskg Regards, Simon Koolwijk

Joitske said...

Ha thanks Simon. I've seen the video, but nice idea to use it as a perception icebreaker!

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