Techy Icebreaker

As any good #SAPro, I have my treasure trove of icebreakers. However, I thought I’d share a new one I created for our Kick-off Orientation Training Workshop that was held last week.

Now, I’m one of those #SAPros who makes everyone at a major training or retreat go “off-the-grid”. I have a “Tech Box” where all phones, iPods, iPads, etc. are placed. Of course, throughout the day there are moments where students or colleagues are able to check their e-mails, social media platforms etc., but the majority of the time, they are completely in tune to the activity and completely tech-less.

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Now, this time I had a box for phones and another for everything else. Once everyone’s gadgets were in their respective boxes, the participants and I sat in a circle. I then passed the phone box around the room and everyone took a phone that was not their own.

For the first part of this icebreaker, we introduced ourselves with typical introductory stuff such as name, major and an interesting fun fact. They were told to particularly pay attention to everyone’s name, as it would help with another part of the ice breaker. In addition, a final detail was required of each introduction. They had to describe the phone they had and guess the personality of the phone’s owner.They could only go by the lock screen and the phone case/ outside of the phone.In our group, there were some…very colorful and unique (yet respectful)  descriptions of the phones and people.

Once we all had introduced ourselves, everyone held up the phone they had and one by one, we each identified our phones. I started and named the student who had my phone, then that student named the person with their phone and so forth. If we came to a premature end, we would just have another student who had not identified their phone do so and continue the activity.If the person didn’t know the name of the individual with their phone we only gave them 2 hints until they remembered the student’s name.

After the ice breaker, and much to the chagrin of my students, we placed the phones back in the box and continued with our team training. Once the phones were returned to the Tech Box,we had a conversation afterwards about preconceived notions, assumptions and how we each express ourselves and how it is portrayed to others. For our training purposes,we then applied it to Orientation and how not to assume or categorize any of the new students as we meet them.

So, just a twist on our plethora of ice breakers that hopefully you might try out!

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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