Students and Social Media: A Blog Post Created by Your Feedback

Relief hits me when I return to my seat after my presentation.  I am glad that is over and that I was able to share my knowledge of education and social media with my classmates.   While sitting in my seat, I am surprised about how quickly the five minutes went by and I regretted that I could have concluded my presentation with stronger applicable information.  Additionally, I did not explain whether my opinion on using social media in schools had changed or not.

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Hopefully, my hands were not distracting.

A week passes by, and I received an email from Professor Kane with the feedback for my presentation.   After reviewing and reflecting upon the feedback, I realized that there is so much more that I could share.  So, I thought it would be best to respond to themes and answer questions from my feedback.  Hopefully, by the end of this post, your questions are answered.

Question: What is the general overview of the industry?

ClassDojo, DonorsChoose.org, and KidBlog are a part of the rapidly growing educational software industry.  Similar to other industries, schools are leveraging technology to improve teaching, behavior, and tracking data.  The software education industry is valued at $8.38 billion.  Last year, the valuation was $7.9 billion.  Digital assessments and testing represent that largest category in educational software at $2.5 billion dollars.  The recent focus on Common Core standards and data has increased the demand for digital assessments.

Theme: I do not see the benefits of ClassDojo.  I am concerned about the use of ClassDojo in classrooms.

I was also skeptical about this.  However, when used to promote positive behavior, ClassDojo can bolster classroom culture.  In Boston Public Schools, teachers are required to have a behavior management system in the classroom.   This usually takes the form of a visual stoplight.  Students who are on green are doing well.  Students who are on yellow receive a warning.  Students who are on red must stop and reflect on their behavior.  I have seen this system implemented with more colors and different variations of colors.  d5c4f886296e653b4a8fec2fcafc0156The key to system’s success is that the children understand that they can navigate throughout the colors both up and down and teachers must have flexibility in expectations for different learners. If a student is having a bad day, they can turn it around with positive behavior. Additionally, a good teacher will motivate and even change expectations for student to receive positive reinforcement to get them back on task.  ClassDojo can be used in the same way.  The benefit is that you have data trail on classroom behaviors.  By having data, a teacher can adjust classroom structures or communication to ensure that students are in an optimal learning environment.  Education has been late in implementing data driven practices.  ClassDojo allows a teacher to easily track positive and negative behaviors.  If the data not sway you, ClassDojo also has additional free features such as a classroom stream and free social emotional curriculum.  Parents can see the art project that their child finished or pictures from a field trip.  Teachers can use the social emotional curriculum to explain what empathy or perseverance is.  Social emotional curricula can cost thousands of dollars and ClassDojo is offering it for free!

Question: What challenges do these platforms face?

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ClassDojo received a lot of negative publicity around privacy and parental consent.  The NY Times wrote a critical article about ClassDojo stating that teachers are using ClassDojo without asking parental consent.  When downloading the software, teachers agree to term of service that the school and parents consent to the use of the software.  Some teachers are using the software without the parents’ knowledge.  The NY Times also claimed that ClassDojo plans to sell personal information for marketing purposes.  ClassDojo released a statement that said that they will never sell personal information and that profile data that is not saved by a parent is erased after a year.

The main challenge that KidBlog faces is exposing students to criticism from peers or the public.  However, since the teacher has full control of who can see a student blog this can be limited and monitored.

DonorChoose.org experiences challenges receiving enough funding for projects. To combat this problem DonorChoose.org  promotes specific projects on their home page to ensure that users who travel to their site are first exposed to projects that are close to being fully funded or projects that are for high needs schools.

How prevalent are the use of these platforms?

ClassDojo is used in 90 % of K-8 classrooms in the United States and in over 180 countries.   It has been translated into 35 different languages.  Also, 1 in every 3 US students ages 5-12 have seen the social emotional learning curriculum provided by ClassDojo.

KidBlog does not release any information on how many classrooms use the platform.

To date DonorsChoose.org has given over $525 million to classroom in need.  Around 75 % of public schools in the US have posted a project on the site.  Lastly, over 2.5 million people have donated to DonorChoose.org.

Has my opinion changed about social media use in schools?

Yes, it has.  Social media has great potential for enriching learning environments in schools.  However, they must be strictly monitored and regulated. I support the use of platforms that are made for school purposes because they have privacy and security tools built into the program.  I do not support the use of Twitter, Facebook, or more generalized platforms in K-8 schools.  There is too much risk of exposing students to explicit content or bullying.

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8 comments

  1. Thanks for this follow-up to your presentation. I’m most interested in ClassDojo and its ability to collect data to better inform teachers and parents of behavioral and other issues a student may be facing. While security issues are always a concern, especially when dealing with children, I think ClassDojo’s use rate of 90% speaks volumes about the value it is providing to everyone involved on the platform. It will be interesting to see how ClassDojo continues to evolve to fit the needs of parents, students, and teachers.

  2. Really great decision to directly respond to your presentation feedback! I will definitely steal this for my first post-presentation blog. I really like how the blog format allows you to provide information that you just couldn’t fit into 5 minutes. I had no clue ClassDojo is used in 90% of US elementary classrooms. As someone who got in a bit of trouble in middle school for misuse of social media, I definitely agree that these school-specific platforms are a great idea for the future of our classrooms!

  3. I was interested in further explanation as well! It seems that these social media platforms were not just innovative, they were necessary. There is so much risk with creating a platform that will evaluate children and track them. I understand how it was met with negative press, but I am glad to see it has matured. I wonder how schools are tracking the data from these sites. Although these platforms now know selling that data is not going to be received well by the public, there must be something positive they can do with it. That behavior will allow people to track emotional behavior and trends on such a large scale. Potentially being able to recognize mental health issues before they become wide spread.

  4. I thought Joe’s blog was really great. It takes a lot to admit the things we regret, especially when it’s about the presentation we all saw. I applaud Joe for owning what he thought he could have improved on. It is difficult to do what Joe accomplished in this blog. This immediately caught my attention and really made me pay attention to what he had to say. I also thought this blog was effective and cleared up some of the questions he fielded after his presentation. I enjoyed how his blog was directly correlated to his presentation and how the format of his blog allowed the reader to revisit the information he presented. These social media platforms that are school oriented are a great idea for the future of our youth.

  5. Great idea to respond to the comments! This topic is particularly interesting because most of the class has little exposure to K-8 schools and tech. I think this really speaks to the value of niche markets. While we may have never heard of ClassDojo, it’s market penetration is unreal. I remember the stoplight in my elementary school classrooms, and I can definitely see ClassDojo as a natural next step. I agree with your opinion on the value of education social media platforms in the classroom, but not traditional platforms. But, I’m curious what you would think about high school classes integrating mainstream social media into their curriculums?

  6. Really interesting post, I had no idea Class Dojo was that popular in schools. I agree having data analytics insights into the classroom can be a huge advantage. As with any social media platform the key lies in protecting peoples personal information. I think this was a great idea to answer the feedback from the presentation since there is only so much to cover in such a small amount of time. I can see this being really helpful for teachers when assessing students performance since recent interactions can leave the teacher with a bias opinion of the student based on a small subset of their overall behavior and contributions.

  7. It was great to read your follow-up post considering the relevant and informative perspective you bring to the discussion of these digital teaching platforms. In particular, it was interesting to read about the privacy concerns that have arisen. Immediately, I envisioned a world in which high school and college admission offices could tap into data collected via these classroom platforms (purchased or otherwise) to access first-hand information on student behavior and performance that goes way beyond SAT and GPA scales. I would be curious to find out which Universities may be spearheading these more back-door approaches to evaluating candidates as well as methods they are using that mainstream audiences (and even college counselors) are not aware of. Ultimately, I am convinced by your argument that the net benefit of using other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook in the classroom is likely negative.

  8. What a great followup post! I wish I had read it before class on Wednesday (it was one of those weeks). I do think the role of social media in K-12 education/ development is going to be an issue that we wrestle with for a long time. It’s going to keep changing and we’re going to have to stay ahead of it, because the kids wont take a break in their evolution with it.

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