Activity Overview

This part of the workshop provides an opportunity for the workshop instructors to present the overview of the workshop structure and agenda, as well as take part in an icebreaker activity between students and educators. This activity can be used prior to any of the subsequent activities throughout the guidebook related to virtual identities.

Key Terms and Concepts

  • VIRTUAL IDENTITIES include but are not limited to game avatars, social media profiles, online shopping accounts, general media representations, and are created and maintained for self-expression, surveillance by law enforcement, as well as corporate user data management.
  • Driving Questions:

  • When you think of the words “virtual identity,” what do you think of?
  • Materials and Preparation:


    1. Paper & pencils
      • Alternatively: Computers and moderated group discussion forum (e.g.: Slack)


    Instructors may look up or create additional icebreaker activities and/or journal prompts to facilitate student/teacher relationship development.

    Activity Instructions

    Icebreaker and Reflection on Virtual Identities (20 minutes)

    1. Introduce purpose of workshop, activity agenda, and expectations for students
      • Rules may include: keeping an open, safe, and supportive atmosphere by respecting when other classmates are speaking, focusing on offering constructive feedback, respecting our selves and others’ property.
    2. Everyone participates in a verbal icebreaker activity. You may want to use a timer to ensure an inclusive dialogue within the time constraints, particularly for larger groups.
      • Instructors Begin: Share about where you are from, what you wanted to be when you were their age, how you got interested in computing, what you do for a job and how it involves computing. Instructors should provide an example for students to follow of conveying information efficiently in the allotted time.
      • Students Share: Share about their passions (in general), their interest (if any) in computing, and what they hope to learn from the workshop.
      • Optional: Add in a “fun” question such as favorite ice cream flavor, favorite mobile/web app, or favorite TV show to provide a more personal introduction between instructors and students.
    3. ASK: When you think of the words “virtual identity,” what do you think of?
    4. Have students individually reflect on this question by silently writing a response.
    5. Once students have responded to the prompt, have instructors facilitate small group discussions sharing what students’ responses were and probing their responses with additional, more challenging questions.
    6. As a large group, verbally reflect on major themes and close with overaching definition, broadening virtual identities to any collection of information related to a person’s identity.