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Overcoming the email obstacle for student Google Docs accounts
by Jim McDermott

We love Google Docs, yes we do, we love Google Docs, how about you?  With the ability for real-time online collaboration from any web-enabled machine, Google Docs creates so many new opportunities for collaboration, peer review, project based learning, and file sharing / storage.  I’m recommending that every educator put this tool in their toolbelt and imagine how it can transform what they do.

The problem is that to have a Google Docs account, you need an email address.  You need it to verify your Google Docs account.  Most elementary and some middle school students don’t have email addresses and their parents may not want them to have one.  If a teacher helps a student create an email account and the student uses that account for troublemaking or connects to the wrong people, there could be some liability issues.  At least that’s what scares teachers. is a disposable email address service.  You create an email address by just using it.  Then you go to and retrieve any emails sent to it.  In a few hours, the email disappears.  You can't send email from it and you can return to it to get recovery password emails.

So for example, let’s say you want to make an Google Doc account for Jenny Love, your 4th grade student in class 406.  Go to Google Docs and click create a new account.  Then when it asks for the email address (which is what they use as the username), enter  Finish filling the form out and then click Create my account (or OK).  Now, go to and enter “jennylove_406″ in the check your inbox box.  You should see the confirm your account email in there (sometimes it takes a few minutes).  Open the email, click the confirmation link and voila!  You've overcome the email obstacle and created a Google Docs account for your student.

Jim McDermott has served the New York City Department of Education as a teacher and an instructional technology specialist. He has presented at state, regional, and national education technology conferences on topics such as project based learning, immersive gaming, online learning communities, and technology based curriculum development. As an avid blogger, Mr. McDermott's "Tales of a Technology Omnivore" can be found at His current interests revolve around online learning, web 2.0 tools in the classroom, and his long time passion: feature rich mobile devices.