ClassDojo’s Classroom App: How It’s Built With Privacy By Design

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The ClassDojo platform was launched in 2011 by Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don. It is one of the most widely used tools that enables non-English speaking parents to maintain regular contact with their children’s teachers. ClassDojo is among several home-to-school communication apps that are aiming to bridge the language divide between teachers and parents. It is a tool to support and help develop student skills while maintaining a connection between students, teachers and parents. ClassDojo is a sharing platform whereby parents have access to student reports that are shared by the teachers. It also enables teachers to monitor student behavior as well as upload photos and videos for the parents to view. According to their website, the mission of the app is to foster community building between teachers, school leaders and families as well as improve education. Currently in use by an estimated 90% of American school districts, the app has been made available in 35 languages and has been distributed in over 180 countries worldwide.

 

The platform essentially enables teachers to communicate with and reward their students as well as communicate with the parents of the students. Instructors register for a free account and create “classes” with their students who can see classes as well as their individual progress. They also have the ability to invite parents so that they can see their child’s progress as well as any information shared by the teachers. Furthermore, the platform enables teachers to reward students in real time for any task they perform well as well as to communicate directly with parents. ClassDojo also allows teachers to customize the kinds of skills they want to leave student feedback for so that the students can adapt to the needs of the class or the school.

 

The creators of ClassDojo designed the app having in mind that the relationships that it fosters – teachers to parents to students – require trust. They view privacy protection to be fundamental to the trust that is needed to enhance education, and it is one of their priorities to earn and maintain the trust of their users. As such, ClassDojo has a privacy center that offers even more transparency and peace of mind over how the app protects the users’ privacy and security while also giving them control over their information. In particular, three aspects of the privacy center they highlight are control, a 12-month deletion and privacy. As part of the control aspect, the creators assure the users that they are legally committed to never selling or renting their information to anyone. Neither do they ever share any student personal information with advertisers or marketers. The 12-month deletion component assures the users that students are protected with an industry-leading policy and that ClassDojo does not keep student personal information that schools do not need. They also delete students’ feedback points after 12 months. In terms of the privacy aspect, ClassDojo highlights that it is in compliance with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and that it is TRUSTe certified. In terms of COPPA, ClassDojo has been granted the iKeepSafe COPPA Safe Harbor seal, meaning that the company’s website and apps have been reviewed and approved for having policies and practices surround the collection, use, maintenance and disclosure of personal information from children consistent with the iKeepSafe COPPA Safe Harbor program guidelines. Furthermore, it will be compliant with all applicable privacy laws, it is certified under the US-US and Swiss-US Privacy Shield, and it will be in compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation when it goes into effect in Europe in May of 2018. Furthermore, ClassDojo is also a signatory to the Student Privacy Pledge, whereby they have agreed to a set of principles intended to safeguard student privacy, including responsible stewardship, protection, and transparent handling of student personal information.

 

Additionally, the creators highlight that ClassDojo does not collect any sensitive information about students such as gender, social security number, email, address or student ID. Neither does the app share any information with Facebook or third party collaborators, which they require to comply with the app’s Privacy Policy. Furthermore, in terms of information storage, the creators state that, “ClassDojo’s servers are in highly secure, military-grade data centers that are access-controlled. ClassDojo uses bank-grade security at the software and network level to ensure all information is transmitted securely.”

 

“ClassDojo is used in over 180 countries, so we are always improving how we operate given where teachers are. For example, we comply with Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA),” they state. They also add that “every ClassDojo product is designed with privacy and security first; we have a fundamental belief in doing what’s right for you, our community.”

 

ClassDojo can be used via any devise with a web browser. It is also compatible with native applications for iPhone (iOS) and Android. It is currently free for teachers in all schools as means to encourage learning, skill development and character building. The platform has received several awards and recognitions such as the Today Show’s Education Innovation Award in 2011 and in 2013. ClassDojo was also both recognized as one of the “100 Most Promising Companies of the United States” by Forbes as well as included in Fast Company’s “10 Most Innovative Education Companies in the World” list. In 2012, the founders were included on the Forbes “30 Under 30: Education” list. The operation was awarded TechCrunch’s Crunchie award for Best Education Startup, and its founders were included on Inc.’s “30 Under 30 list in 2015. The following year, the ClassDojo app was recognized as one of “The 35 Most Innovative Apps of the Year” by Fast Company. In 2017, ClassDojo was named one of the “25 Most Disruptive Companies” of the year by Inc.

 

For more information on ClassDojo, please visit their website. For particular questions in regards to privacy, feel free to email them at privacy@classdojo.com.

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