Friday, July 22, 2016

Password Security

Creative Commons image via Pixaby 
Digital Literacy is an important life skill that all of our students need to know. Back in 2012 I had the opportunity to create and teach a course titled "Digital Media & Literacy" as an elective 8th grade class.  Although I am no longer able teach this course, I think that some of these lessons are still very worthwhile and wanted to share them on my blog post.

One of the lessons I had students go through was titled Password Protection.

Lesson Begins:

I had students start the lesson by viewing:

  • Secure Passwords video via CommonCraft This a great video that gives some great examples of how to create secure and safe passwords. Provides for a great introduction to passwords and a good starting point for this lesson. 
 Next students and I discussed the following article to talk about what makes for a strong password and why this might be the case.  

Since I taught this course back in 2012 here are some more recent website articles that might be helpful.

Guided Practice: 

I than had students complete an activity from Common Sense Media. They have lots of great lessons on a wide range of Digital Literacy Topics and I hope to share some other examples in the future that I've used with students. To download their material you will have to create a free account. Check out their educators Scope and Sequence Page for other lessons.

  • Strong Passwords: This lesson has student handouts for students to work through on creating stronger passwords. This is now part of their elementary scope and sequence, but if students haven't had any lessons on the topic I think it would still work for middle school age students. 

Finally in the lesson I had students use the following two websites to check out some of their created passwords from the Common Sense lesson.

  • How Secure Is My Password is a fun little website that looks at how long it would take a computer to crack your password. I wouldn't use your actual password on this site, but it might be fun for students to try different combinations to see how secure different types of passwords can be. (The site is supported by Dashlane.)
  • Passwordmeter is another website that looks at strengths of passwords. Again, I would recommend not actually using your passwords on this site but would be another helpful site for students to try different combinations to see how secure different types of password combinations can be.

For Further Learning: 

Creative Commons image from Pixaby
Here are some other resources worth checking out for you or your students.

Use WolframAlpha to Create a Strong Password via Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne

Have I been pwned? allows you to search if your e-mail or username has been compromised. Learn more at there FAQ page.

Do you have any great lesson ideas or resources to help students learn about online security and passwords? I would love to hear about them in the comments section below. 

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