Monthly Archives: June 2009

G-mail Accounts for Students

I have not tried this myself, yet. I would check the acceptable use policy at your school before putting this into use. The method came from one of the groups I belong to:An additional description of this method comes from Kim Cofino who suggests using this for elementary students.

Gmail for Student Accounts

The problem that many teachers face when having students create user accounts for web applications is that most applications require a valid e-mail address to create the account. There is a solution that I learned from Alice Mercer about harnessing Gmail to create “fake” accounts that applications will recognize as legitimate.

Create a legitimate gmail account at (e.g. Then, you can use that base account to “trick” web applications that require e-mail address to create user accounts. The way it works is that you add a + and a student name/alias after the gmail user name (e.g.,,, etc.)

The web applications will recognize those addresses as real e-mail addresses, but students never see an inbox. They cannot send nor receive e-mail because you haven’t actually created an e-mail account for them; they don’t have a password to sign into Gmail. Any e-mail (i.e. registration confirmations, etc.) that are sent to the username+name@gmail accounts will be delivered to the Gmail inbox that only you can access.

I have used this to register students for blogs, wikis, and other Web 2.0 applications. The one catch is that it does not work when registering students for Google applications, like Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Notebook, etc.

Here are those instructions as steps:

1. Create a legitimate Gmail account at (e.g.
2. Add a + and a student name/alias after the Gmail user name (e.g.,,, etc.)
3. Start registering students for web applications
4. Check the inbox of your Gmail account periodically



Filed under Blogging, Classroom Practice, Cool Tools, Web 2.0, Writing

Edmodo and Wiggio, Microblogging with Students

These two sites offer opportunities to microblog with students. Edmodo has a place to post a calendar, assignments and files. Wiggio was designed by college students who needed a better way to collaborate. You can send all kinds of e-mails and messages, work on files together, poll the group and keep a group calendar. I may set one of these up for parents this year or use it with the writing project or . . .


Filed under Blogging, Classroom Practice, Resources, Web 2.0, Writing

Summer Reading and Blogging

Clara shared this article from today’s Commercial Appeal. Blogging is a great way for students (and teachers as well) to stay connected to their summer reading and each other. While this is a great tool for AP English classes, many grade levels could benefit from this type of collaboration. Thanks Clara!

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Filed under Blogging, Classroom Practice, Cool Tools, Resources, Web 2.0, Writing


A demonstration of Voicethread is here.
An example of Voicethread to discuss digital storytelling.
Finally, here’s an example from some French children about some English limericks they have created.
There are plenty of examples all over the internet using this great tool in the classroom. I can think of plenty more!
LATE BREAKING NEWS: Tonight Jason in Denver e-mailed with an update on , what else, his voicethread. Let’s explore his Daddy Duty story together!

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Filed under Classroom Practice, Cool Tools, Digital Storytelling, photos

Online Alternatives for Popular Applications

Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, what have you, here’s a nice list of alternatives to try out.

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Filed under Uncategorized

Tag Galaxy to Search Flickr

Need a fabulous way to collect pictures for a presentation? Want to get your students revved up about a new topic? Try Tag Galaxy You put in a tag and photos start building to a giant planet. If your tag is very general, say “animals”, surrounding your giant planet, will be smaller planets such as “zoo”, “pets” etc. to refine the search. By clicking on your planet, you can make it spin around to view more photos or click on a photo and it will enlarge and may give further information. Try this. It’s super-cool!

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Filed under Classroom Practice, Cool Tools, Digital Storytelling, Making Movies, photos

CommonCraft Video-Blogging, RSS

Lee LeFever has created videos for all of your “what in the world is that and how do you do it” tech needs. For our blogging discussion, I am including links to Blogging and Blog Readers (RSS). Trying to access these at school? No problem. These are from Teacher Tube, which should be accessible at school. To find more videos from Lee Lefever, just search for CommonCraft or “in plain English” at Teacher Tube.

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Filed under Blogging, Web 2.0, Writing