- Some of my students do not have e-mail addresses or their parents do not want them to have e-mail just yet
- Students are registering for a bunch of websites for online work, but I can’t help them when they forget their password (or forget the passwords to their own e-mail accounts)
- I don’t like that every time I want to use a new tool with kids that I ask them to give out their personal e-mail account. I’d like to innovate, but not at the cost of student privacy.
- I don’t like giving out my own personal e-mail account when I sign up for these new online services. I want to investigate and experiment, but not at the cost of my own privacy.
One solution: Use a “disposable e-mail” service
MailCatch is one of a number of “disposable e-mail” services that provide solutions to the problems above. The service works like this —
Whenever you create an account on a website, it often asks you for an e-mail address. The creators of the site, if it’s reputable, are doing this mainly to ensure that they don’t get spammed by bits of code (sometimes called “spam bots”) that would create hundreds of thousands of accounts, an action that would quickly crash the site. Once you enter your e-mail address, many sites send a “verification e-mail” that requires you to cut and paste a link into your browser. The site is asking you to do this to ensure you’re not a spam bot.
MailCatch provides you with an automatic inbox you can use when prompted to share your e-mail address. When prompted to enter an e-mail, just choose a username and add “@mailcatch.com” as the last part.
After you complete the registration process, you’ll probably see a message asking you to visit your “e-mail account” to verify your registration. Visit the Mailcatch.com website and put your username in to the “Check your inbox” area.
Find the e-mail and open it
Copy the verification link and paste it into the address bar of your internet
Why might you promote this with students (or use it yourself)?
- No logins are required. If students forget the password to whatever web-based service you’re using at the time, they can ask the service to reset the password and visit MailCatch right away.
- E-mails aren’t kept for an extended amount of time. MailCatch doesn’t store e-mail for long. In a matter of hours, the inbox will be cleared.
- The “inboxes” aren’t full-fledged e-mail accounts, so you’re not setting up students with a communication tool that can’t be supervised.
- It’s a safe and easy way to register with an online service.
Web technologies open up a number of new and intriguing ways to inspire and engage your students. As you put together an activity with one of these tools and, if you have younger students, write for parental permission, MailCatch can be a great way to highlight how students can participate on the web without giving out their personal information.