This year we gave students control over their own passwords for Google Apps. I was a bit worried when we decided this, and we have tools to help teachers manage potential classroom disruptions. I am happy to say this has, for the most part, been a great success. Wherever it has not been a success, I believe we need change some attitudes.
Passwords and user names are not going away just yet. Maybe one day they will. For now, keeping track of these things is a life skill.
Maybe the problem is not in what we want the kids to do, but in how we are framing the conversation. I was reading a blog post by Jennie Magiera in which she addresses a shortcoming in a service she recommends. Her solution is a workaround that requires students to make a selection and remember the name of the group to which they belong. Rather than saying, “kids need to know” where to click, she says students are empowered to make their selection.
Is a word choice really that important? I think so. Kids need to understand the power they will have over their own lives when they know how to do certain things without relying on someone else to give them access.