All about passwords

This is the 2nd part of my series relating blogging to the Australian Curriculum.

Whenever students log in to the school internet or check emails or write on the class blog, they need to have a password. It is most important they understand the importance of a strong password.

As their teacher, you might decide on the password they use on the blog; younger students may use another password they already have for Study Ladder or Mathletics or Reading Eggs but these are often very weak.

The older students from grade 5 on should be starting to create their own passwords. Here are a couple of videos giving tips on how to create a strong password.

Sue Waters from Edublogs says a strong password:

  • Is at least 8 characters long
  • Is unique and different from your other passwords.
  • Doesn’t include terms that are significant to you like pet’s name, username, real name, date, phone number that are easy to guess or use complete words that make it easier for hackers who use dictionary attack programs.
  • Also avoid common word misspellings and words in which letters have been replaced by numbers or symbols because some dictionary attack programs also check for these.
  • Contains a combination of uppercase and lower case letters, numbers and symbols (keyboard characters that aren’t letters or numbers).

Students need to keep their passwords secure and again here are some tips from Sue Waters.

  1. If you do write down your passwords don’t label them ‘password’ or leave them in plain sight on or near your computer.
  2. Don’t use ‘Remember the password’ if you are sharing a computer with other people.  If someone knows your username, and you used ‘remember the password’, they just need to add your username to log into your account.   You can make sure your password has been removed after you log out by clearing stored passwords.
  3. Always log out of your accounts if your device is around others and make sure all passwords are cleared if someone asks to use your device.
  4. Don’t give your password to anyone except your parents or teacher- not even your friends or a sibling.

Things to discuss with students

  • What are weak passwords
  • How to create strong passwords
  • How to remember passwords

Connection to curriculum

F-2: ACTDIP005

recognising and discussing the need for cyber-safety when using online information systems, for example recognising that shared personal information can be used for undesirable purposes and that using a password is a means of protecting identity

3-4: ACTDIP013

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses, and names and recognising that all digital interactions are difficult to erase (digital footprints)

5-6: ACTDIP022

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses and names

Usernames for digital safety

This is the first part of my series relating blogging to the Australian Curriculum.

When you have a class blog, you probably want your students, parents and other readers to leave comments. They can do this from any computer, iPad, smartphone from anywhere in the world as long as they are connected to the internet and know your blog URL.

But they will have a lot of information to fill in to leave a comment.

  1. Fill in the comment remembering to be polite and address the person the comment is for eg Hi Miss W,
  2. Fill in the anti-spam word – good chance to discuss what this is and why blogs often have them – what is a spam comment?
  3. If you can’t read the anti-spam word then choose another by clicking either the sound or mix icons.
  4. Put in your first name only – if a relative then use John’s aunt or Mary’s dad rather than  Mrs Powell or Mr Dowd. Why do we suggest this happens on class or student blogs? Why do we only use first names?
  5. Enter email – if writing comment from home, maybe use mum or dad’s email or if you know your personal school email use that instead.
  6. If you want to know if someone leaves a reply to your comment, then tick this box and an email will be sent to you. You can always unsubscribe to that post once you have read their reply.
  7. Finally check that the spam word hasn’t changed since you first typed it in, highlight and copy your comment (just in case), now click the blue Post Comment button.

It will now look like your comment has disappeared but in reality, it is being held in a moderation queue ready for the teacher to check it before they publish the comment.

How can I add a comment more easily than filling in all those boxes?

Give each child in the class a role on the blog:

  • user – can add comments after logging in
  • contributor – can add comments and write posts after logging in
  • student – has their own blog and can write posts and pages on it

To do this you need to give each student a username that they can then login to your class blog.

With the xpress360 setup, we try to keep to a particular naming format:

  • gou21john – John will leave Goulburn Street in 2021
  • sor19sally – Sally will leave Sorell in 2019
  • sor19sally2 – A second girl named Sally will also leave Sorell in 2019 – instead of using 2, some teachers use first initial of surname

Once you have given each child a username and a password, see next post, they will then be able to login to your class blog to leave comments easily.

Things to discuss with students:

  1. how their username is created
  2. what is spam
  3. how do mum and dad leave comments
  4. why do we only use first names
  5. what is our class blog URL
  6. being safe with our blog

Connection to curriculum

F-2: ACTDIP005

recognising and discussing the need for cyber-safety when using online information systems, for example recognising that shared personal information can be used for undesirable purposes and that using a password is a means of protecting identity

3-4: ACTDIP013

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses, and names and recognising that all digital interactions are difficult to erase (digital footprints)

5-6: ACTDIP022

considering ways of managing the use of social media to maintain privacy needs, for example activating privacy settings to avoid divulging personal data such as photographs, addresses and names

Blogging in the curriculum

Clandon Park

coreeducation via Compfight

Lots of teachers start a class blog but some of them quickly go by the wayside.

Why is this?

Often it is because the teacher thinks of the blog as an add-on to the very full curriculum they already have to plan and teach.

Those teachers, though, who use their blog to plan and reflect on what they have taught, will  use their blog as part of the curriculum.

I am going to write a series of posts about how blogging can be an everyday part of your curriculum and how it can help with assessing students for their ICT capabilities as well as under the digital technologies curriculum.

I will create a category called Curriculum if you want to follow the posts more easily.

If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the comments of each post.

Let’s go global!

Are you and your class interested in

  • connecting with other blogging classes around the world?
  • adding interesting yet educational widgets to your blog?
  • using more web 2.0 tools in your posts?
  • reading what other students around the world are writing about?

Your answer is YES

Then join the March 2017 student blogging challenge.

  • First challenge began on Sunday 5 March so you won’t be behind.
  • Each week is a different topic with different activities to choose from.
  • Spreadsheet to find other classes and students to connect to by just clicking on a link to their blog.
  • If on holiday one week, miss those activities and come back to them later on.
  • No winner, just a chance to make connections and improve your blogging skills.
  • Add the challenge badge to your blog if you decide to take part.

Click here to register your class blog. If any of your students have their own personal blog, they can register here.

Maybe you would prefer to mentor a group of students. You might be able to connect each of your students to one, with their own blog,  taking part in the challenge.

Blogging at beginning of year

Class photo
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Anna M via Compfight

So you have spent many hours of your holidays or evenings getting your blog ready, even maybe taking part in the refresher course. You are overloaded with information and new terminology.

But how are you going to start blogging with your students?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start with paper bloggingHere is a post explaining how to do this. A video of grade 3 students doing paper blogging.
  • Why not create a bulletin board in the classroom explaining the terminology (check glossary in this blog header area) and adding the paper blogs in the post area.
  • Talk to students about creating safe, secure passwords. This blog post includes some videos for students to watch on passwords.
  • Check out how this teacher begins blogging with her class – great list of student friendly blogs to discuss.

In class meetings, discuss:

  • blog title and tagline
  • blogging guidelines – create page on your blog so parents also understand – link to post about pages and guidelines
  • quality comments – show Mrs Yollis’ video by her students and check out how she teaches quality commenting – video at bottom of this post
  • ideas for posts
  • monitors for blogging – eg class photographer, class reporters

So far, all this has been done before students even write on your class blog.

Have students leave comments on your posts without having logged in. This will help when they leave comments on other blogging platforms such as blogger, wordpress and kidblogs. Talk about their email address, the anti-spam word, how to change the anti-spam or captcha if they can’t read it.

Now teach them how to login, update their profile and change their password.

Have lots of posts for students to leave quality comments on. Allow them to visit other blogs on your sidebar to leave comments on those blog posts.

Finally allow those students who are commenting well to start writing posts on the blog – maybe working in pairs to start with.

Any thing else students could do early in their blogging?

 

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