handshakeIn honor of the start of a new school year, I am sharing one of my popular posts again with you with a couple of new additions!

On Monday I will begin my new job. As I’ve mentioned before, I will be working as a Technology Resource Specialist as well as teaching a couple of classes. As always, I am nervous and excited for the first day of school, and eager to meet a new group of students. As an educator, I often find myself repeating the same icebreakers each year, trying to quickly get to know my students through “Two Truths and a Lie” or a “Getting To Know You” fact sheet.

In an effort to bring my own classroom to the present, I’ve put together a list of 13 icebreakers that use technology and fit with 21st century students:

  1. Have students create a Pinterest board with 10 pins that summarizes them.
  2. Ask students to create a 30 second podcast that introduces themselves. Then allow students to present them or play them on separate devices as an audio gallery.
  3. Create a classroom blog and ask each student to write a blog post introducing themselves to the rest of the classroom.
  4. Have students create a quick comic strip to describe themselves or to recreate a recent funny moment in their lives.
  5. Use PollEverywhere to ask students interesting questions and get to know them as a class, like their favorite subjects, bands or TV shows.
  6. Use GoogleForms or SurveyMonkey to survey students about their interests, academic inclinations, and background info – a 21st century alternative to the “Getting to Know You” info sheet!
  7. Have students create word clouds to describe themselves and share with the rest of the class.
  8. Have students go on a QR code scavenger hunt in teams to get to know each other and learn about your classroom rules in a fun, engaging way.
  9. Ask students to create their own Voki avatars that introduce themselves to the class. Encourage them to be creative with the backgrounds, characters and details of the avatar to reflect their own personalities and preferences.
  10. Have students create graffiti online that speaks to their interests and personalities and share with the class.
  11. Have students create mashup videos of themselves with Weavly to introduce their interests to the class.
  12. Have students create GeoSettr challenges of 5 places they have visited and share with the class.
  13. Have students research their birth date in history and share interesting events with the class.

Have any other 21st century icebreakers? Please share them below in the comments, I would love to hear from you. Wishing everyone a great first day of school!


76 thoughts on “21st Century Icebreakers: 13 Ways To Get To Know Your Students with Technology

  1. Have students create a Voki sharing something about themselves. Ask students to provide you with the embed code (or better yet use a wiki so everyone has authorship) and post a class introduction page. Students can refer back to this over the first couple of weeks as they are trying to get to know everyone in their class. You need to make one too!

    1. Voki is a fantastic tool, and definitely a fun way to do introductions 🙂 great call about having the teacher also do one!

  2. Use ‘Storyboard’ to create a short story about themselves. Storyboard is free and comes with pre packaged and wonderful artwork. It will require some teacher prep but stories can be saved, shared, and even emailed to others with links. Great intro into digital storytelling for all grades and age groups. I used it with high school students to write a birthday story.

  3. Hi,
    They are great tools and ideas but is there any possibility that any of your students won\’t have the required tech(computer, i-phone ect.). What would you be your plan B in a class where almost half of them have smart phones but not all of them.


    1. Great question, Asli! In that situation I would have students pair up or use the devices in groups to accommodate students who didn’t have the required tech 🙂

  4. I find that online discussion tools make it easy for all students to share about themselves! Collaborize Classroom offers a few great icebreaker discussions you can set up for your class and SCAN, the online discussion tool at TregoED.org has two scenarios that students can discuss to help them get off to a great start!

    1. Great ideas Sandra, thanks for the suggestions! Discussion can definitely be a powerful way for people to get to know each other.

  5. Reblogged this on Michael Shouldice and commented:
    I like a lot of these 10 ways to get to know your students. I’d lean more to using the tools that are not student created as they may be left untended after the initial posts. Some great ideas to work with though. Thanks Aditi Rao for sharing them.

  6. Have students write a 6 word autobiography ala Hemingway – “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” They can create a video to go along with it.

    1. This is a great idea! Not necessarily technology based by itself, but could go well with a lot of web 2.0 tools!

  7. These are some great ideas. Coincidentally, we are using a QR code scavenger hunt for our FACULTY get-to-know you (and your campus!) during back-to-school planning week. We have a social media workshop that week, too, where we will be employing polling and Pinterest. I may try to work in a couple of your other suggestions (and your commenters’ suggestions), too. Technology icebreakers: They aren’t just for students!

  8. Hi Aditi,

    What I often do is let people create a mind map about themselves before we meet each other. This can be done on paper but also using an online mind mapping tool. The last method makes it easier to share the map and update it as well.

    By the way, besides the information in the map, the way the map is created also gives you great clues about the students.

  9. For young primary grades (K-2), I used an online searching game called “Find the Technology.” Using the SMART board, they had to come up and within a picture of a very messy room, point out various pieces of technology, like a monitor, flash drive, printer, etc. It was a good way to introduce some of the items we’d be using in class that year. The game was interactive and kept track of the found items.

  10. Well I am not very good in integrating technologies in the classroom but somehow I mostly let my students use my iPad and MacBook for some productive learning purpose. If you guide them properly how to use these gadgets and interactive technology then it would be great advantage for their better linked learning

  11. This is a good way to get to know your students in the 21st Century, and I am sure they won’t find it boring, as it is using technology in a positive way. I love that.

  12. Very exciting! It is encouraging to know that our children are in educator’s hands that care and are truly excited. That excitment and desire for learning is picked up by the children! Keep sharing!

  13. Reblogged this on principalaim and commented:
    This is a great resource for any teacher searching for ways to get technology directly into their classroom (and more importantly directly into the hands of the students). Enjoy! tlb

  14. Reblogged this on The Redhead Tech Teacher and commented:
    While a handful of schools started back up last week, I know today marks the first day of school for a large majority of students and teachers. With that in mind, this post on “21st Century Icebreakers: 13 Ways to Get to Know Your Students with Technology” seemed like a great fit for today’s events! Happy first (or what ever number you may be on) day of school!

  15. Well as a Technology Resource Specialist these tips really works but i’m a teacher of theoritical subject so i usually advice my students to avoid computers and internet, take interest in books. i know the importance of tech and internet in modern world but i persoanlly don’t like. it seems a negative comment from my side but i just said what i want to say. thanks.

  16. I love Thinglink.com as a way for students to introduce themselves, as well. They can connect all sorts of multimedia to their Thinglink and it becomes a pretty comprehensive introduction.

  17. Excellent ideas from everybody! I want to add another great tool that may help. It’s called Mixbook. Students can create a photo story including some photos of themselves and their family, friends, etc. and add comments to the photos. Then, the photo books can be embed in a class blog or a wiki for everybody to see.

  18. Pingback: New School Year!
  19. Nice read. Thank you. The problems most teachers face when they try to deal with icebreakers is the inertia of some students that have a counter effect on the teacher himself. Really difficult to engage students to study something that it is not their major

  20. Great ideas! How can I make this work for my 1st Graders? I would love to have them do an activity on their computer.

  21. Great ideas – thanks! I use Padlet and have each student create a sticky note with their photo and name. Every few days I post a different question and have students sort their notes – Who has a pet? Who likes to ski? Coke or Pepsi? Mac or PC? They take a screen shot and after a month or so each student creates a bio about another student.

  22. These are great ideas. Specifically, the idea of creating a classroom blog and requesting students to post something about themselves. This will not only provide the opportunity for the students to get to know themselves, it will also facilitate discussion on different classroom experiences among the students. Students may even share experiences they were unwilling to share during class discussions in such forums which can provide the tutor a lot of insights going forward.

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