I designed an activity the other day as part of our Digital Life unit that centered on passwords. We watched the Common Craft video about secure passwords (which was a hit as was the one about protecting reputations online) and used a site called How Secure is My Password, and then, the task before my students was to come up with username and password suggestions for all their teachers. They had to think about what they knew about us — about what we teach and about our lives outside of school — since usernames would reflect our personality, but keep our identity hidden (this connects with our work around identity).
The passwords had to be strong — they had to use the website to make sure the password could resist hacking for at least a week — and memorable. Oh boy, they had a lot of fun with that activity. (I also reminded them to be nice to us. But they were asking more questions about our interests, and pets, and children, and more than ever before).
Yesterday, I had them go to our classroom blog site and post their recommended username and password for me. You will see some themes here: writing, teaching, ELA, saxophone, music, etc. The color “blue” is prevalent because my homeroom’s Quidditch color (yes, we play Quidditch at our school) is blue. I had fun looking over these. They had fun making them.
But the real lesson, as I reminded them, is that when they are confronted with choices about usernames and passwords, they should remember our work here and come up with something that protects their identity but projects something about them, and a password that keeps their private data locked behind the virtual walls.
Peace (in the sharing),