9 September 2019

IceBreakers, Avatars and Reflective Practice

The end of summer in the Northern hemisphere ushers in a new academic year filled with hopes, dreams and dreads. However, as I prefer to look more positively at new beginnings (rather than the dread of pointless admin tasks which only serve to keep teachers busy without much pedagogical value), today's entry focuses on ice-breakers and how avatars may also have a place in the classroom. 

Some of these activities may need to be adapted, either to one's own classroom and teaching context and/or level of education (i.e. primary, secondary or tertiary level). 

How do You Play  offers different suggestions of games and ice-breakers, while Back-to-School Prep Guide: Games, Icebreaker Activities offers suggestions mostly for K12. 

Mozilla has a wealth of resources for educators, in particular with a focus on digital literacies, but also offers suggestions for ice-breakers with students, many which don't even require an internet connection. 

Lastly, 2 more sites which are worth looking at are GET-TO-KNOW-YOU GAMES and CLASSROOM ICEBREAKERS

Often enough though, learners rarely have the opportunity to stop, think and reflect. Teachers are under so much pressure to deliver the syllabus, to meet learning targets, prepare learners for assessments and so forth, that moments of silence and reflection are overlooked. Reflection doesn't always need to be following the reflective cycle as proposed by Gibbs; sometimes a simple task of asking what expectations a student has for a course is sufficient. This can be done in the written form or with a recording which is then shared on a Padlet. Later in the semester, teacher and students can re-visit these expectations and address what expectations have been met, which haven't and which may need to be changed. 

It is when an academic is still fresh and crisp that students sign up to tools such as Edmodo and/or other LMSes. Should uploading a photo of themselves is inappropriate, why not have students create an avatar?

Dollify is an app for both iOS and Android and creates male and female avatars. Below you can find further suggestions for creating avatars as well as here
How will you be starting off your new academic year?

Further Suggestions:








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