Help Students Keep Track of Usernames and Passwords
One of the pitfalls of using web 2.0 tools is keeping track of usernames and passwords. Before teachers and students even begin going online, they already have a number of usernames and passwords to remember. At my school, students are expected to know their
- student id #
- login and password for the school’s network
- username and password for the online gradebook
- username and password for their school Google account
- any other usernames and passwords for personal emails
In cases 1-4, the usernames and passwords are decided by people other than the students. Then students are required by teachers (like me) to sign up for various online accounts, such as edmodo, diigo, or the virtual stock exchange. Outside of school, students also have usernames and passwords for facebook, myspace, various gaming sites, etc. As students get older, they may even begin keeping track of finances online, which also require usernames and passwords. It is little wonder that students have trouble keeping track of their usernames and remembering their passwords. As a teacher, you can give them some tips to keep track of everything.
Keep it the Same
Encourage students to keep their username and password for all school-required websites identical. This can be a challenge if schools use first initial, last name for students, so help students come up with something original AND school appropriate. For example, you might suggest a 5-1-3 rule: first 5 letters of the last name, first letter of middle name, and first 3 letters of first name. So Jonathon Robert Smith’s user name would be “smithrjon” for all school purposes.
I know, I know. Most schools don’t allow students to use cellphones in class. Still, cellphones are often the best way for students to get and give information. If you can “break” the rules for 5-10 minutes for school-related purposes, then have your students create a note in their cell phones and program all their usernames and passwords for each website.
Using word, create a table and put in the various accounts and urls your students need to have for usernames and passwords. Then leave lots of blank spots. Have students fill in the table with their usernames and passwords. Have them keep it in a safe spot. My students keep their paper in their classroom folder, only putting down the accounts they use for school and leaving personal stuff (facebook, etc) off it in case it gets lost. If you’re looking for a template, feel free to use mine (see below).
If your students don’t have a Google docs account, you might want to think about having them create one (Google docs is awesome, and will be the topic of a future post). Have students create a document for their passwords and usernames that they can add to throughout the year. The only problem with this is if they forget their Google info, they will have to jump through some hoops to gain access to their account.
Like Google docs, email is a great place for students to keep track of their accounts. It’s important to note that email isn’t always 100% secure, so personal accounts should not be included. Additionally, it’s difficult to change an email document. Students would have to forward the original email with changes on it to themselves every time they add an account.
With a little guidance, your students will be better able to manage their various accounts and passwords. Teaching students smart password methods now will prevent a lot of headaches – for both you and your students – later.