HowTo – Use Private/Incognito Browsing

In a recent blog post by, Richard Byrne talks about the stereotype surrounding the “Private” or “Incognito” mode found in most web browser applications; that users only use this tool when they have something to hide. And while this is indeed one way that private browsing can be used, it is not the only way.

Google Chrome:

Chrome-Incognito Mode

Another use is to access a website that you are currently logged in to as both the teacher/manager and as a student/visitor. Using the private browsing mode, you can view a website from two different perspectives without having to log in and out of your account or use two different browser applications. As Richard Byrne points out, this avoids a great deal of hassle for him when he is providing professional development and would like to demonstrate a website, service, or tool from both the teachers’ perspective and that of the student. Teachers could use this to verify that the content they have posted online will look correct when accessed by students in class, or that content intended to be viewable only by one class session is not accessible by another.


Safari-Private Browsing Mode

Using the private/incognito mode can also be helpful when a student needs to access information on the teachers’ laptop, which is connected to some sort of presentation system (i.e. an interactive whiteboard). Instead of the teacher logging out of their account so that the student can login to access their work, teachers can open a new private/incognito window for the student to use. This allows the teacher to remain logged in to their web services while the student logs in to theirs. When the private/incognito tab is closed then that user is automatically logged out, thereby maintaining the security of their account and the information contained within.


Firefox-Private Browsing Mode


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