I recently rediscovered something that I had learned about a few years back and then forgot about because at the time, I didn’t really understand how it worked. I had wanted to start blogging with my 6th graders, allowing them to create their own blog attached to mine, and I was exploring using Edublogs.org. Through this website, I learned that I could use my own gmail address, add +student1 (or something that makes sense for you) and students could use that to create their edublog accounts.
It seems like everything I recommend to teachers to do with students requires them to have an account, which means they would need an email address. Not all students have email addresses, so this “trick” seems like an easy way for students to create accounts for tools such as Evernote, Voicethread, Wikispaces, and other Web 2.0 tools. Just be sure to have obtained parent permission through an AUP or something similar for students to be accessing these tools.
From the Google Support website:
“Gmail doesn’t offer traditional aliases, but you can receive messages sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. For example, messages sent to email@example.com are delivered to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Here are the steps you would need to take:
- Create a gmail account separate from any personal accounts you may have (for example, email@example.com)
- Assign students a number or have them use their first name to set up accounts
- When asked for an email address to sign up for something, students put in firstname.lastname@example.org.
- When the website or application sends a verification email, it will come to your new gmail account. Verify all the accounts and your class is in business!
The students will always their +student1 email address to log into the account, but any correspondence from the tool will come to your inbox. It shouldn’t be a whole lot to handle, but you should be aware that it will happen. This isn’t the ideal situation, but it works in a pinch!
What Do You Think?
I’m sure there are other ideas for using this Gmail trick with students. What are yours?