This icebreaker is designed for use in an asynchronous, online environment. It "connects" two learners and enables them to share information about themselves. After gathering information about their partner, the student creates an entry in a dictionary format, which he/she then posts to an online communication forum for review and comments by the other participants.
The original activity has students copy onto a piece of paper several questions that the teacher has written on the board. For example:
Pair the students up and have each student interview his or her partner and record the responses. Then, using the responses, write a "dictionary definition" of his or her partner to include in a Student Dictionary. Have students bring in small pictures of themselves to paste next to their entries in the Student Dictionary. Bind the definitions into a book, and display it at the back-to-school open house for parents.
A virtual course, conducted asynchronously, for members of several learning organizations at Aetna. Participants are in multiple locations across the country. Some work in an Aetna office, some are part or full-time teleworkers.
Post the following questions on the discussion board.
Pair students with someone they do not know and have each one interview his/her partner and record the responses. Then have each person use the interview responses to write a "dictionary definition" of his or her partner to include in an online Student Pictionary (via a threaded discussion). Model this activity by creating a sample dictionary definition about yourself. For example:
Each learner posts the "definition" of their partner to the discussion board. Once a participant's definition is posted, they should add their own picture to their entry via the attachment feature, thereby turning the dictionary entry into a pictionary entry.
Invite all participants to peruse the pictionary entries and add comments, e.g., identifying similarities/differences, common likes/dislikes, comments about a person's location, hobbies, interests, etc.