Student privacy – should apps like ClassDojo be a no-go?

In reading the topic on “Big Data and Learning Analytics” I have been thinking of the longer-term implications for education. The recent revelations about Cambridge Analytica has shown how a “limited” amount of data was able to have large effects on democratic processes. Therefore, what effect could the release of data from an app such as ClassDojo have? ClassDojo has 700 million users and collects a range of data (Chaykowski, 2017; Saner, 2018).

Even if we are not concerned with one app in particular, I wonder what the need is for teachers to be “privacy advocates” for their students. This would be a tricky role, especially when the use of certain apps and technology is mandated by the school or government. But if teachers don’t advocate for privacy, then who will? Not all parents are well enough informed to make an informed decision (and they may not be allowed to opt-out). I do not have enough understanding of the schooling system to know if this role is already undertaken, but I know at the work level, there are not enough safeguards in place to ensure that privacy is prioritised above convenience. It may not be until schools or the workplace experience their own Cambridge Analytica moment that things will change.


Chaykowski, K. (2017, May 22). How ClassDojo Built One Of The Most Popular Classroom Apps By Listening To Teachers. Retrieved 10 May 2018, from

Saner, E. (2018, May 1). ClassDojo: do we really need an app that could make classrooms overly competitive? The Guardian. Retrieved from



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