A New Digital Age of Celebration

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Yesterday, I aged another year! Yes, it was my birthday and what made it really special was my personal learning network (PLN)!

Some people may think that choosing to spend time online for a birthday is insane, weird, antisocial, or geeky. They rather disconnect and that’s okay because every person should be allowed to spend a birthday the way they wish. For me, I have enjoyed exploring the ways to celebrate digitally. I moved to Germany 4 years ago and during that time I have been away from family and friends. However, digital technology continues to amaze me in the way it affords me to spend time developing close friendships and relationships and keep in contact with my friends and students across the globe.

Second Life

This is my second year spending my birthday with my online community. Last year I had a great celebration with close friends on Second Life, all who I met face to face later in the year at conferences. We went to a poetry reading that day, exchanged virtual gifts, danced, and enjoyed a Pearl Jam live concert on Second Life. In the past year, I attend edone of their weddings in Istanbul, met another’s newborn baby at a conference in the UK, and spent the summer in Greece with another one. The first time I met each of them face to face felt like I knew them for years because we had spent time together chatting and getting to know about each other.

Ways to Celebrate Digitally

Through technology we can show are appreciation in so many ways. We can send e-cards, share videos, exchange photos, leave a message on social networks, and so much more. This year my PLN created a birthday Wallwisher for me which was incredible. With Wallwisher, friends can leave a 160 character message accompanied by a video, image, or audio. Thanks to everyone who left a birthday message on the Wallwisher, Facebook, or Twitter!

Special thanks to Greta’s (@gret) wonderful 5th graders from Argentina who left me the video message below.

More Ideas

  • Try sending a flash card through Care 2 Cards and support a cause at the same time! This is a free service!
  • Send them a thank you video!
  • Manipulate images so that you create a magazine, newspaper, or other image for them!
  • Create a comic for them with many of the ones listed in David Kapular’s blog.
  • Send them an Animoto music and image video! Thanks to Lisa Dabbs who sent me one of these!
  • Create a talking photo with Blabblerize!
  • Create a slideshow with music, pictures, audio, and more! Larry Ferlazzo has a great list of these on his blog.
  • Send them a birthday audio message with an image through Fotobabble! Thanks to Ana Maria Menezes for this birthday Fotobabble!
  • Send them their own Twitter Parade!
  • Throw a party for them on Second Life!
  • Dedicate a song to them on Twitter or Facebook through Blip FM or on many online radio stations!
  • Make them a birthday Wordle or use another word cloud tool! Thanks to Marisa Constantinides who made me a very cool one that was in the shape of my profile!
  • Find another very creative way to show your appreciation or celebrate with your friends digitally!

Challenge:

Celebrate with someone digitally using one of these tools!

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What has been your most special digital celebration or gift?

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

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