User Generated Education

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Cell Sharing: An Ice Breaker Using Mobile-Devices (BYOD)

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The following ice breaker is quick and easy to do (especially part 1) in all types of settings.  I have used it for the first meeting of my face-to-face college courses, conference presentations, and orientations for teen-age summer camp counselors.

Part 1:  Cell Sharing

  • If a large group or class (over 20-25 members), separate members into smaller groups.
  • Ask participants to locate a photo, song, or video from their mobile device that best represents them.
  • Each person then shares with the group his or her media and the reason it was selected.
  • For photo or video sharing, ask students to pass the device around so all students can view the image or use a webcam to project the image onto a larger computer screen or whiteboard.
  • For sharing of music, attach portable speakers to assist with the sharing of songs so others can hear them.
  • Also inform them that they will be asked to report via a group texting service what they liked, what they discovered about their group members.

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Part 2: Sharing of Favorite Cell Shares

During Part 2, members share what they learned about their team members via Celly, a group texting service.  The rationale behind Part 2 is twofold: (1) It reinforces learning about one another through sharing one another’s names and interests, and (2) It gets members registered for and accustomed to using a group texting service so that it can be used for future activities.

  • Provide instructions to the members about how to join and use CellyCelly is very easy for participants to join and use.  Messages can be posted via all cell phone or directly through through a computer URL.  The biggest learning curve is for the facilitator who needs to set up his or her cell for the activity. step-by-step guides can be found at Learn It in 5 provides the following tutorial about how to set up and use Celly.

  • Once members have joined and the facilitator cell, ask them to text in interesting things they learned about their group members through the cell sharing activity.  Ask them to text the first name of the person who they selected along with what he/she shared.
  • Project these text messages via an LCD projector or interactive whiteboard so everyone can view them or if none is available, provide them with the URL to the cell so those with laptops or smartphones can view them with some of their classmates.  For example, here is the URL to the cell I use for my team building activities

More experiential mobile learning activities like this can be found at Mobile and Technology Enhanced Experiential Activities.

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

April 19, 2012 at 2:13 am

One Response

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  1. I’m not sure that this kind of icebreaker would work in my middle school class. However, at my trainings, this would be fantastic! I’m so sick and tired of the “2 truths and a lie” and “find someone you don’t know and tell them 3 things about yourself”. Those are so passe. Integrating technology will make the training that more tolerable. Great idea!


    September 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

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