Useful tools and websites that can assist your training preparation
Ice Breakers can be an effective way of starting a training session or team-building event. As interactive and often fun sessions run before the main proceedings, they help people get to know each other and buy into the purpose of the event.
If an ice breaker session is well-designed and well-facilitated, it can really help get things off to a great start. By getting to know each other, getting to know the facilitators and learning about the objectives of the event, people can become more engaged in the proceedings and so contribute more effectively towards a successful outcome.
But have you ever been to an event when the ice breaker session went badly? Just as a great ice breaker session can smooth the way for a great event, so a bad ice breaker session can be a recipe for disaster. A bad ice breaker session is at best simply a waste of time, or worse an embarrassment for everyone involved.
As a facilitator, the secret of a successful icebreaking session is to keep it simple: Design the session with specific objectives in mind and make sure the session is appropriate and comfortable for everyone involved.
This article helps you think through the objectives of your ice breaker session, and then suggests various types of ice breaker you might use. As a facilitator, make sure your ice breakers are remembered for the right reasons – as a great start to a great event!
When to Use Icebreakers
As the name suggests, an ice breaker session is designed to “break the ice” at an event or meeting. The technique is often used when people who do not usually work together, or may not know each other at all, meet for a specific, common purpose.
Consider using an ice breaker when:
- Participants come from different backgrounds.
- People need to bond quickly so as to work towards a common goal.
- Your team is newly formed.
- The topics you are discussing are new or unfamiliar to many people involved.
- As facilitator you need to get to know participants and have them know you better.
Designing your training course
Training is a complex activity and must be carefully planned. Too often when technical experts are hired to conduct a workshop or a training session little thought is given to careful planning and design of the instruction. Design and preparation of a training course usually consumes more time than delivery of the material.
In all training/learning environments trainee motivation is essential for receptivity and learning. Research has shown that learning is at a maximum when people are motivated to learn (Knowles et al., 1998).
Successful training requires careful planning by the trainer. Planning helps the trainer determine that the appropriate participants have been invited to the training course and that the training is designed to meet their needs in an effective way.
Developing Training Material Guide
Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB)
Dr Mo Hamza
Guide designed to document the process and good practice in developing training material, piloting and testing it.
The following sites provide access to free training plans and activities:
Web 2.0 Tools
The term Web 2.0 was coined in 2004 to describe a shift towards new ways of using the web as a platform for tools and services that have an emphasis on user participation and interaction. Now the use of social networking sites, blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and media sharing have become widespread. The existence of such online applications and services as Facebook and YouTube are well known amongst trainers, who are often users of this technology themselves in their private lives, but may not recognise the educational potential for their students.
The affordances of Web 2.0 seem to fit with many current policy initiatives and modern thinking about educational practice. These include:
- Offering new opportunities for learners to take more control of their learning and access their own customised information and resources;
- Encouraging students to have a greater creative input into how they present their work;
- Allowing more collaborative ways of working, with community creation, dialogue and knowledge sharing;
- Giving students the opportunity to showcase their achievements to an authentic audience, often using non-traditional media such as video.
Technology is increasingly becoming a key ingredient in education both at home and school, offering learners more choice and flexibility in how and where they learn. It is important for every educational institution to harness technology’s potential, and for every trainer and student to use it confidently.
Useful Web 2.0 Tools
The following list is in no particular order so be sure to look at it closely. Not all of these may be suitable to your environment, technological ability or budget so it is best to find something that works for you and more importantly works for the young people!
- VOKI: Voki is a great way to have students share their knowledge of a topic in 60 seconds or less. Makes students organize their thoughts to focus on key details.
- SKYPE: Skype is a great way to bring guest speakers to your classroom without the cost of transportation or missed work time.
- POLL ANYWHERE: Poll anywhere is a great way to bring in mobile devices into the classroom to access student knowledge during discussion.
- PENZU: Penzu is a great tool to encourage students to do some online journaling and then they can share their entry via email.
- EYEJOT: Eyejot is a great way to share a quick video message and allows for the nonverbal message to be heard with the written.
- EDMODO: The look and feel of Facebook with the educational perspective…polls, assignments, a gradebook, and now quizzes!
- TRIPITCO: http://www.triptico.co.uk/ excellent free downloadable IWB tools. It gives you the tools to create your own activities for any subject or level. Very easy to use.
- WIKISPACES: Wikispaces is ready for students to edit pages and add to discussions as well as embed links, videos, and other web 2.0 creations
- SCOOP.IT: Social media curation tool. Scoop.it is the best social media curation tool because teachers can use to build a powerful PLN, share and bookmark using social media and also they can receive feedback and likes for the post.
- FACEBOOK: Facebook is the best way for educators to connect with students by setting up a specific group page (obviously do not use your personal Facebook account).
- TWITTER: A quick and easy way to contact students and other organisations.
- WORDLE: An excellent tool to integrate literacy into other content areas.
- PREZI: Prezi makes presentations fresh, energetic and brings the basics of “show and tell” into the future. Excellent tool for sharing and engaging the audience with more creative, imaginative content.
- AVIARY: Aviary, playing with music and pictures becomes fun www.aviary.com
- SLIDESHARK: SlideShark converts your PowerPoint files without losing any of your original formatting, transitions, or animations.
- YOUTUBE: Very useful for getting educational videos to complement training plans.
- TUMBLR: The ability to follow people and see their posts in a list format is what makes this website the best.
- NEWGROUNDS: Newgrounds is a great place for aspiring animators to practice their Adobe Flash skills and share them with the world.
- TYPING ADVENTURE: Typing Adventure is a nice little game that young students can use to practice their typing skills.
- VIMEO: Vimeo is an interesting alternative to Youtube.
- FITNESS FREE: Keep fit with the help of a huge exercise base compiled by pros!
- TEACHING CHANNEL: It is a great tool for educators. They have useful videos for teachers, and lots of resources and lesson plans that go along with the videos.
- TESTMOZ: Easy way to create online tests.