Surveillance in our schools: Have you heard of the ClassDojo app?

Its interface is colourful and inviting. Each child in a class or school is assigned an avatar: a smiling, cartoonish monster that represents them in the app. Based on a student’s behaviour in different areas, the teacher can assign – with a Pavlovian ding or harsh buzz – positive, neutral or negative Dojo points to their avatar.

This gamifies behaviour for students and helps teachers to keep extensive data on each of them. The app has expanded to become, in many places, a school-wide social media and content sharing network. Users can sign up as school leaders, teachers, parents, or students.

In a new paper, education researchers from the University of South Australia (UniSA) say that while the technology may be innovative, ClassDojo encourages an archaic approach to school discipline and neglects a genuinely educational approach to developing behaviour.

Further, they express concern that the app conditions children to accept rising levels of surveillance and control….

This article first appeared at Eurek Alert.

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