Getting around the email problem

One of the nicest thing about my job is that I get enthused and passionate about what I’m doing every single day! Yesterday, my wonderful colleague and partner-in-crime Katie searched through the depths of her emails and bookmarks and came across a stroke of genius! The little hack she uncovered helped solve one of my small (but persistent!) frustrations with teaching grade 2-4 students.

I am very much into Web 2.0 tools, yet have found many of the great and exciting ones out there require an email log in. Currently, students are not issued with email accounts through the school, and although I support each child having an email address, I can also understand some of the reticence surrounding the decision not to issue them at school.

Katie found that Robby Stein (Associate Product Marketing Manager for Gmail) created this post on March 5th, 2008, entitled ‘2 hidden ways to get more from your Gmail address‘, which contained the following:

Append a plus (“+”) sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address. For example, if your name was hikingfan@gmail.com, you could send mail to hikingfan+friends@gmail.com or hikingfan+mailinglists@gmail.com.

So what that means is I can have a Gmail account which is accessible only by me, but that the students can piggyback off, so as to sign in to various Web 2.0 tools. I tested this out by registering to ToonDoo using the following format: myemail+student1@gmail.com and myemail+student2@gmail.com to see if ToonDoo accepted registrations from what is essentially the same email address. Success! They did!

This has opened up a world of possibilities for me, as I can now use the tools I am so fond of without the stress of dealing with 100-odd different emails. Phew!

I am SOOoOOooOOo excited!

Playing Catch up with the Whiteboard Challenge

Aaaarrrrgh! Can’t believe it’s September 18th and I still haven’t managed to put a post up about the first whiteboard challenge. I have also decided to have a bit of a personal development blog and thus added a specific website for this – welcome to the Tip of the Iceberg!

I am officially into my 3rd ever week of using IWBs, and it’s been really helpful as a new user to see the challenges and ways of making my lessons more engaging for the kids.

Day 1 of my first IT class (EVER!) and some kids fiddle about (and break) the headphones. I recorded a snippet of Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T and had that blaring out when we began to look at our essential agreements for the classroom. I think using music was a great way of reaching more students with the message I wanted to get across.

But still, that wasn’t the objective of the first challenge. The first challenge was to get your voice on your blog. I recorded a few little bits & pieces using Audacity and managed to get them into my flipchart ok. I used a variety of pictures and words to make things interesting.

It came time to do teach the kids and… nothing.

Not.

A.

Thing!

It turns out my speakers were broken and all my good work was undone by a technical hitch. These things happen in the world of IT, so I have not yet shared anything else as we are waiting for our speakers to be repaired.

I am way behind on the other challenges now, so will have to get busy and decide what to do for round 2!