Practical activities

ACTIVITY 1 – Cordless telephone

Duration : 0.5 hours
Equipment :

Computer or tablet, internet connection, scrap paper, pencils, whiteboard


‘Cordless telephone’ is an activity in which participants play together and witness together the disinformation that a speech or event can undergo when it is shared and spread on social media as well as in everyday life. The activity teaches the issue of how statements that circulate online can be twisted and explains the consequences this distortion can cause, especially if the statements directly target people or groups of people.


To begin, a person makes up a story, then whispers it into the ear of the person next to them, who does the same, continuing until every participant has heard the story and told their version of it.


In the post-activity discussion, teachers can bring up the issue of interpretation and subjective biases in spreading information.



Activity variation:

  • You can show a picture or short video to the first participant, who then tells their neighbour what they have seen without showing the neighbour the same image. The information is passed orally to the next participant, and so on. At the end of the activity, the teacher shows the original image to the group and observes how it was distorted.





1. Prepare the activity: Teachers must first prepare one or more stories for the game or find images showing an action or event to maximise the number of elements to take into account. You can adjust the difficulty of the activity by adjusting the complexity of the image or story.


2. Set up the room: Teachers give the instructions and tell their version of the story or show the image to the first person.


3. Procedure: First, students sit in a large circle. The first person whispers their story (or their description of the image) into the ear of the person sitting to their right. This person then whispers their version into the ear of the person sitting next to them, and so on until everyone has heard the story. The last person repeats the version that they heard aloud. The group then compares this version with what was told to the person who first told the story and note the differences.


4. Class discussion: To discuss, use the following questions (written on the board): How did the story change when it was told multiple times? What affects the way someone hears and interprets information? What impact do our experiences and interests have on our points of view? Do people sometimes hear multiple interpretations of the same story and start to wonder which version is more accurate? If everyone sees and hears everything slightly differently, how do we know if the story is accurate? How do the changes to the story make you feel? Compare how the first person to tell the story feels compared to the rest of the group. What happens when the story is a personal one and the meaning of the story changes? Would you be willing to share what happened in this activity on the internet?