Teamwork Technology

Challenge Courses are traditionally an outside, hands on learning experience, and because they are outside we tend to turn off our cell phones, walk into the woods, and disconnect from the world for a little while. During this disconnected period, we reflect on the experiences we are having and how we can take our new found knowledge back to the real world.

It is becoming harder and harder to get people “disconnected” from the world during team building programs, especially when those programs are occurring in gyms and classroom settings. So how can you use traditional team building concepts and incorporate technology at the same time? Below are a few ideas:


Picture Debrief:

  • Provide participants with a set of cards with commonly used words in de-briefing (For example: inclusion, trust, planning, communication, etc.) and a wide variety of props.
  • Ask the group to take their phone, a partner, a word card, and some props that describe the answer to a specific question and go take a picture.
  • Allow them to roam to take their pictures and give them a time limit or signal to come back.

Big thanks to Mandy Stewart for this fantastic idea!


Smartphone Sentences:

  • Split the group in half (or have the activity going with multiple groups). Ask each mini group to use their smartphones to take pictures. When they are lined up the pictures should “spell out” a sentence.
  • Once all the groups have their sentence they will share it with the other groups, who must figure out what the sentence is.
  • Think charades with smartphones instead of motions.

Thanks to Ako Johnson for this one!


Communication with texting:

You can use text messaging as a form of communication in many activities. Choose an appropriate activity, such as a structure build activity and split the group in half. Separate our two groups between rooms or far enough distances that they cannot communicate or see each other well. Give group A the materials needed for the build and Group B instructions on how to build the object (or instructions with just enough details for them to figure it out). The two groups can communicate but only via text message (not photos unless appropriate).  The two groups will have to collaborate and learn to use the right wording to help the two sides solve the puzzle / build. Some activities you could do this with:

  • A traditional 50 piece puzzle with large pieces (Group A has the picture Group B the pieces).
  • Scavenger hunt (Group A’s clue sends Group B to clue # 2, Clue # 2 sends Group A to Clue 3 and back and forth. Each group has a designated area in which they               must stay so the groups can’t combine)


A few considerations when using cellphones:

  • Make sure your participants are willing to use their cell phone.
  • If using an activity that requires texting, be aware that while most people have unlimited texting not everyone does.
  • Design activities that require a few  cell phones, not everyone to have their own.