Protect school email accounts from web 2.0 tools

There are a growing number of web 2.0 tools available on the internet and many of these are very useful for teaching and learning. The speed of the internet today, combined with the large amount of useful, and not so useful, information means more teachers are using blogs, wiki’s and other forms of social networking for their classes.

Good web 2.0 tools allow teachers and students to share, create, collaborate, problem solve and can add real value to lessons. And many web 2.0 target teachers and allow free registration and extra benefits as they know teachers will use, test and promote their tools to other teachers, friends and students.

The problem is that most web 2.0 tools want teachers to register with an email address. I recently went to a professional learning day and we were advised to use our school email account, since we are using the tools for educational purposes.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Unfortunately this can lead to an excessive amount of junk (spam) emails, where they try to get you to sign up to a paid account or constantly update you with their latest news. Most teachers are already receiving enough emails and don’t need the constant sales pitch. And who knows less trustworthy sites could even sell your school email address to other companies, which in turn can start promoting their products to you.

My recommendation is that teachers should have an extra email address which can be used for junk email purposes. When you sign up to a web 2.0 tool use this email address while you test out the application. If you really like the application and you want to be updated by their company via email, it is very easy to change your email address from within the site to your school email account that you check more regularly.

It only takes a few minutes to create a Yahoo, Hotmail or Google email account and everyone should have a spare junk email account for signing up for anything you don’t 100% trust on the internet.

Unfortunately some web 2.0 sites do require a school email address that has .edu included if you want to get the extra benefits. If this is the case I suggest teachers do a little research on the internet to find out if the web 2.0 tools are really useful. There are many blog sites like this one designed and written by teachers which give feedback about web 2.0 applications.

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