Have you ever heard of Google Easter eggs? They are “hidden features or messages, inside jokes, and cultural references inserted into media” and can be really fun surprises tucked into certain Google searches.
Some of Google’s Easter eggs could be both fun and useful for those of us who facilitate meetings and learning events. Head to the embedded tools section of the Wikipedia article for “List of Google Easter eggs” to see what all the options are. I’ve picked out some of my favourites, along with some simple ideas of how to use them in facilitated sessions. Give them a try by searching for each of these terms in Google. (I’ve also linked to each from the images below).
See what happens! And feel free to make a comment about how you might use one of the Easter eggs in your facilitation. I’d love to hear.
Typing in “breathing exercise” brings up a one minute breathing exercise, with visual cues for breathing in and out. Use it at the beginning of a meeting to ground a group and get them ready to learn together, in the middle of a meeting for a mental break or to prepare everyone for a deeper thinking exercise, or at the end of a meeting to send everyone on to their next activity feeling refreshed and ready.
Flip a Coin
Typing these words into Google brings up a coin to flip, showing heads or tails. Invite pairs to use this feature to decide who should share first in a breakout room, to help a large group choose between two possible activities to undertake, or to solve a (benign) disagreement in a fun way.
This search term brings up a metronome, a device that produces an audible sound at a regular interval of beats per minute. You can change the number of beats in Google’s metronome to suit your purposes. I could see a group using a metronome to clap a regular beat of a chant together, perhaps in some type of a game, or maybe to underpin a participant reading a poem or other piece of writing. What do you think you could use it for?
Random Number Generator
With Google’s Random Number Generator you can set a minimum and maximum number and bring up successive random numbers when you click ‘generate’. I could see a facilitator using this to pick a task from a list of numbered tasks, that different participants, one after another, then have to carry out. Or maybe you could assign each participant their own number and when you randomly generate their number, they have to do something.
Searching for “roll a die” or “role dice” in Google brings up not just one die but multiple dice of different shapes and colours. It gives you one to start and then you can click on the coloured dice below to keep adding more. Or just choose the die that you want. (The numbers on the dice in the horizontal list denote how many sides the dice have each and thus, what the maximum numbered roll is.) Don’t need as many dice for your roll? Click on them in the main pane and they will go away.
Google’s spinner allows you to change the wheel size (from 2 to 20 numbers) or change the numbered spinner to a fidget spinner. I can’t see using the fidget spinner myself but the numbered spinner might be useful for some of the same reasons as I described in the Random Number Generator above.
If you’d rather have a spinner in which you can insert text options, such as participants’ first names, try the Wheel of Names. It’s not a Google product but a free activity that you can customize to your liking. I use it every time I hold a draw to give away a book at the end of a virtual session.
Enjoy your exploration of Google’s Easter eggs! There are hundreds on the list, and yours to discover in facilitation and beyond.