Digital Thank Yous

It was my daughter’s 4th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and of course she was spoiled rotten by friends and family.

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Of course in this busy life we all lead, finding time to write thank you letters is a tricky business. Cue technology!

First up we hopped onto Facebook and created video messages of thanks. If you have a webcam it should be remarkably straightforward. Just go to ‘compose message’, click on the video button and record!

The quality isn’t brilliant, but the ease of use definitely makes up for that (image below)

For those not on Facebook, we used the Voice Memos app on the iPhone to record a very simple message of thanks.

Voice memos

Clicking on the red circle starts and stops recording, and then you can email the mp4 file wherever you want.

Check out a sample thank you below!

I promise you, this took hardly any time at all, and I know the people who received their digital thank yous absolutely loved them!

Getting around the email problem

One of the nicest thing about my job is that I get enthused and passionate about what I’m doing every single day! Yesterday, my wonderful colleague and partner-in-crime Katie searched through the depths of her emails and bookmarks and came across a stroke of genius! The little hack she uncovered helped solve one of my small (but persistent!) frustrations with teaching grade 2-4 students.

I am very much into Web 2.0 tools, yet have found many of the great and exciting ones out there require an email log in. Currently, students are not issued with email accounts through the school, and although I support each child having an email address, I can also understand some of the reticence surrounding the decision not to issue them at school.

Katie found that Robby Stein (Associate Product Marketing Manager for Gmail) created this post on March 5th, 2008, entitled ‘2 hidden ways to get more from your Gmail address‘, which contained the following:

Append a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address. For example, if your name was hikingfan@gmail.com, you could send mail to hikingfan+friends@gmail.com or hikingfan+mailinglists@gmail.com.

So what that means is I can have a Gmail account which is accessible only by me, but that the students can piggyback off, so as to sign in to various Web 2.0 tools. I tested this out by registering to ToonDoo using the following format: myemail+student1@gmail.com and myemail+student2@gmail.com to see if ToonDoo accepted registrations from what is essentially the same email address. Success! They did!

This has opened up a world of possibilities for me, as I can now use the tools I am so fond of without the stress of dealing with 100-odd different emails. Phew!

I am SOOoOOooOOo excited!