Icebreakers can be a useful way for students to get to know each other, and also an opportunity for you to get to know your students. We’ve curated a short list of links to articles with some icebreaker activity ideas as well as a few hints for using currently available learning and teaching technology to facilitate ‘getting to know you’ interactions within your cohort.
Before you get started, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering icebreaker activities in your teaching sessions:
- Bring students together – select activities that bring students together rather than those that could potentially single out students or make them uncomfortable.
- Keep in mind the diversity of your student cohort – most cohorts are made up of students with diverse backgrounds and life experiences; creating an inclusive learning environment enables opportunities for students to learn from each other.
- Be ready to move on – sometimes an icebreaker activity might not go to plan, so have a few ideas on hand to move to if needed.
On campus icebreaker activities
- Learning activities to develop cross-cultural competency (ExLNT – Explore Learning and Teaching) – watch and read this Faculty Spark from Associate Professor Karine Dupre (Griffith Sciences) for a Griffith perspective on a successful icebreaker activity.
- A Classroom Icebreaker with a Lesson that Lasts (Faculty Focus) – this icebreaker activity requires a few props, and is an interesting approach that may be especially useful for first year students.
- First Day of Class Activity: The Interest Inventory (Faculty Focus) – a simple activity with a few examples and ideas to get you started.
- Icebreakers that Rock (Cult of Pedagogy) – while this article mostly mentions school students, these suggestions could be tweaked for a higher education context.
Online icebreaker activities
Note that some of these activities can also be implemented on campus with a device.
- Multimedia-based communication and collaboration (with VoiceThread) – come along to a VoiceThread workshop to learn more about how you can use VoiceThread for ‘getting to know you’ types of activities with your cohort
- Online Question and Answer session (with Echo360 Active Learning Platform) – you can use Echo360 to do a quick Q & A with your students
- Great Icebreakers for the College Classroom (Cengage Blog) – includes example activity ideas from a range of educators, with activities able to be implemented online or on campus.