Tech Tip #4 from TICL13: Google Email Trick [Innocent Hack]

I want to premise by saying THANK YOU RICHARD BYRNE (@rmbyrne) for this fabulous tip.  For years I’ve run into the ever present problem for any teacher with students lacking an email address…when the school doesn’t provide one, it makes using some of those great services out there hard to access.  But, thankfully, after my TICL experience, I learned a new and yes, valuable, and even better – actually valid trick.  I’ve tried it – it works and I cannot WAIT to impliment it into the classroom.

Basically, when signing students up for a service (note: this works on like 95% of platforms, so just accept that once in a blue moon it will not work), don’t have them use their private email.  So, let’s say students want access to Prezi, for example. Create a class email account; like “”. (This is not a valid email address, at least I don’t think so.)  Create this ahead of time and just have it confirmed via a second address, or whatever your platform requires.

Issue each student email addresses with that as their beginning but add a “+” and a number before the @ symbol.  For example,,, and so on and so forth.  Simple explained, the service you are signing up for with your students recognizes each email as a unique address but gmail overwrites this “+#” and reroutes it to your original address,

This allows you to keep the tabs up on what students are signing up for, does not give them a personal email address…just know that when you do this, you will be in charge of clicking through any “confirmation” emails for services that require a response before giving access.

Richard Byrne disclaims and I agree that this is probably not endorsed by Google (but I believe they must know it exists and choose to do nothing as of yet).  And a simple tip: don’t let students know the email password…that would just make chaos in your classroom.  A fantastic use of trick for your classroom – seriously, why didn’t I know about this sooner.  (Did I say thank you yet, Richard?)

Again, thanking Richard Byrne for this insight.  Unfortunately his blog is hosted by Blogger and I am hosted by WordPress so I don’t know how to reblog his original post.  If you are interested in it, go here. Honestly, he is by far one of the best resources regarding tech in the classroom – and in general, a great resource for teachers.


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