Zoom magic tricks

Today I’m working with Nick Francis to develop some playful breakout activities for a conference. Here’s what we came up with.

The aim is to create a sense of play between participants. Through play we become more open and so might open ourselves up to more conversation with other people.
How it could play out:

  • Introduction – our starting point is that Zoom has become our stage, and we are going to explore what we can do with it. 
  • Nick and Oli demonstrate the first warm-up activity.
  • Explain we will work in breakout rooms and that they will have a set of instructions to follow.
  • Group splits into breakout rooms and follow a set of written instructions to do the following activities. 
  • Warm-up exercise #1 – find an object on your desk. Pass it to someone else on the screen (say their name). When it appears in that person’s screen it has transformed to whatever object they are holding. Try to give and receive from the same direction to make it look like the object is moving seamlessly.
  • Warm-up exercise #2 – go and find a more surprising object from your house. Now repeat the exercise. What do you learn or discover about each other from the objects you are passing?
  • Briefing for main activity – between them they have to come up with some sort of magic trick that uses some of the magic things you’ve discovered you can use in zoom. Explore how to work with space and size, things appearing and disappearing, changing backdrops etc.
  • Reconvene – there may be time for one or two sub-groups to present their tricks back to everyone else.

This sort of thinking builds on work we did in the playful presentation and clowning for engineers courses – details below.