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Teaching students about creating and managing passwords

On a recent visit to a local school that is using Typing.com in their classrooms, we discovered that the teachers were facing a major headache at the start of each class when the students had to log in.

At least 20 minutes of the class time was eaten up by students who couldn’t remember their passwords and couldn’t log in.

Now, I’m sure that these teachers aren’t the only ones facing this challenge, so here are some tips we’ve come up with to help young students understand, create, and manage their passwords.

Explaining the importance of passwords to students

Before setting kids off on a new computer program where they’ll need to choose a password, make sure to have a conversation about what the purpose of an internet password is and why it is important to make them unique and keep them a secret.

Even if the threat of someone accessing their Typing.com account doesn’t seem all that imminent or dangerous, we want students to take password creation seriously as early on as possible.

Thus, down the road when they are creating passwords for an online bank account or health insurance provider, they understand the importance of the task.

Helping your students create their passwords

With kids (ok, and most adults as well) it is important that passwords strike a balance between being memorable, but not so easy that they could easily be guessed.

With younger students, a good place to start is to have students generate passwords that use a combination of a personal word, phrase, or abbreviation with a number that they will remember.

To keep this simple you could ask them all to make a password with their favorite color and number. Eg. blue7

Optional: Use a password generator

There are also websites such as dinopass.com that will automatically generate strong passwords for kids. But, since these are not personalized, it is less likely that a student will remember it.

How to help students remember their passwords

When starting out, we recommend that students write down their password somewhere safe when they first create it so that they can reference it the first few times they log-on.

Soon enough, they will have committed it to memory and as long as they are using the website on a regular basis, they shouldn’t have any password problems.

What to do if your students forget their passwords

On Typing.com, even though teachers have the option to login and check or reset a student’s password, we recommend against doing this.

Instead of just giving them their passwords each time, we suggest having a “memory question” that you can ask students that will help them remember their password. This will help them to improve their memories and to teach them responsibility.

If you have them all create passwords with the same combinations (ie. favorite color and number), your job will be even easier.

Teaching your students early on the basics of creating and managing passwords, you will be doing them an invaluable service, which will help secure their online presence in the future.

We hope these tips will save you a significant amount of time and headache with each lesson!

If you have any additional suggestions, we’d love to hear them! Please leave a comment below!


10 thoughts on “Teaching students about creating and managing passwords

  1. As a Computer Lab Para I saw many different usernames and passwords studebts had to try and remember soI created a “Username and Password” sheet. Working at a “Personalized Learning” school where the majority of work is online; several passwords were needed. The sheet has a blank line for the name of the software; tab over twice draw a blank line for the usernane; press enter and do the same for the password. Then continue down the page making several sections. The student can then slide the sheet in the front of their binder! We also, kept a three ring binder with usernames and passwords in the computer lab…for those that “mis-placed” their sheet.

  2. What if we decided that each student has a generic password for our class. This is each child’s password is the same but the username is different?

  3. I have a password card (actually a 4×6 index card) for each student in our school. I color code them by grades, too. Each time a student creates a user name and password, our procedure is to have them write the name of the program, followed by user name, followed by password. No exceptions. I keep all the cards in a recipe box that only I have access to. I issue cards as needed at the beginning of class and the students are responsible for their safe return. The same card is used from kindergarten through grade 8. This does a few things: it reinforces the need to use different passwords for each site, and is tangible proof that writing down a password and keeping it in a safe location is a good idea. Both of these concepts are discussed at the beginning of each year, too.

  4. I like the memory question idea. But my overall concern is the number of passwords that students need to have for online tools and curricula. Single Sign On or saved passwords in Chrome/browser or a tool like Clever might be better for elementary students.

  5. My students’ username is the first name.last name. For the password, they use their initials and their school student id number, the first name initial is capital. They use this password for all classes and programs which helps them to remember, as well as the teachers.

  6. I have the students use their school (login) and lunch code. This way they get continued practice on numbers they will need for their school career

  7. I love Nancy’s idea of a card but I work with 11, 12, and Post Secondary students. I recommend they write their passwords down somewhere safe and where they can find it but I also have a generic password with the students’ name as the user name.

    If they forget, I know what the password is or I can always change it as the instructor in the class.

  8. I keep an index card with the student’s name, the login for the site, and their password, handing it out at the beginning of each class until they can remember it on their own. To log onto their tablets, they must use the school call letters and their lunch code. We reviewed the importance of a password being about 6 digits long, combining letters and numbers.

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