It’s that time of year again and we are back to school…September has arrived, and with it come students, reluctant and enthusiastic alike, flocking in their droves to begin the new school year. Starting a new term can be tough, both for students and their teachers. It can be nerve-wracking to get to know a new classroom or a new tutor group, to take on new subjects and make new friends. And for teachers, the first days of the new term can be highly pressurised too – how do you enthuse a new group of students and encourage them to approach the year ahead with the best possible attitude? Try these great education technology icebreakers to get the school year off to a fantastic start…
Get to know your students
There are hundreds of fantastic edtech tools that allow students to express themselves – so take advantage of them and encourage your new class to project themselves in their own unique ways. A great online tool like DoppelMe is a brilliant, free way for students to create their own avatars. Let them customize their own appearance, props and costumes in a few clicks to give a vibrant flavour of their own identity. A great way to extend this icebreaker to include student interaction is to split pupils up into pairs and give them five or ten minutes to ask each other as many questions as they can. Each student then ‘presents’ their partner to the class, repeating as many facts as they can remember, using their avatar as a funky visual aid.
Many 21st century teachers have a class blog, but did you know there are fantastic ways to use this edtech tool as an icebreaker with a new class of students? Experience the hilarity of creating a ‘single word story’, where students take it in turn to contribute a single word (or a sentence, if you’re short on time) each at a time until a whole, hilarious story emerges. If you’re uploading directly to the blog, using a mobile technology device like a tablet or an iPad is a great way to do this, so you can pass it easily from one student to another. Or get each student to write a short paragraph about themselves and add them together to make a great ‘introduction to our class’ or ‘class of ‘12’ blog. Try using a great site like Edublogs to create a safe, easy-to-use class blog, or explore other students’ blogs together using Class Blogmeister which offers “learning as a conversation”.
Let them express themselves
There’s no better way to make your students completely forget their initial awkwardness and act like long-lost friends than by getting them working together on a creative project which they have to negotiate, plan and create as a team. The wealth of fantastic edtech tools available mean that creating a video is a fantastic option for this kind of project. Try a purpose-designed platform like Kids’Vid to ensure the tools are so simple to use the kids can focus on their creativity and sharing their ideas! For a variation on the theme, let students use a tool like ToonDoo to create their own comic strip – perhaps with a few exaggerated classroom characters thrown in or a portrayal of their teacher as the wicked mastermind! The possibilities are endless…
What are you using to innovate back to school this year? Is technology changing your approach to engaging a new class of students?
1st image courtesy of Flickr, Rita Willaert 2nd image courtesy of Flickr, mda621