Creating a classroom community starts on day one by helping students get to know each other. Ice-breakers are techniques and/or strategies used during the beginning of a class or unit to reduce tension and to immediately involve students in the class in a light and effective way.
Online ice-breakers, specifically, include additional techniques that utilize various technologies to further develop a sense of community. Ice-breakers are especially important for online learners, because the face to face interaction is not readily available. Thus, ice breaker activities foster openness that leads to a bonding experience that causes students to feel a sense of community, which motivates them to be engaged in their learning.. Ice breakers can occur synchronously or asynchronously. http://twt.wikispaces.com/Ice-Breaker+Ideas
The term “icebreaker” is borrowed from a ship which “break the ice” in the arctic region. The icebreaker ships help in clearing the ice to make way for the other ships to travel smoothly. Similarly, icebreaker activities help the students to interact with one another and also enhance learning through series of games and activities and teamwork. http://www.buzzle.com/articles/classroom-icebreaker-activities-for-students.html