The New York Times business section reports today on the mild controversies surrounding the use of ClassDojo, an application that enables schoolteachers to upload a running log of every student's behavior into a cumulative scoreboard:
"I'm going to have to take a point for no math homework," Mr. Fletcher said to a blond boy in a striped shirt and then clicked on the boy's avatar, a googly-eyed green monster, and subtracted a point.
The program emitted a disappointed pong sound, audible to the whole class — and sent a notice to the child's parents if they had signed up for an account on the service.
Should this scoreboard be kept publicly—complete with that avatars and sound effects—so that students are constantly able to monitor their own behavioral performance relative to that of all their classmates?
Or should each student's moment-by-moment behavioral score be kept secretly, for delivery to the parents—supplemented by marketing offers for "more detailed behavior analyses" or perhaps by targeted third-party ads?
Whether it's a constant, audibly ponging presence in the classroom or simply a hidden data stream, ClassDojo is "used by at least one teacher in roughly one out of three schools in the United States," according to the Times. A sidebar describes how young students, who go to school to be educated in and socialized to the terms of contemporary adult life, are taking the whole enterprise in stride:
It turned out they liked its familiar video-game like structure — with one boy comparing it to Skylanders, a fantasy game, and one girl comparing it to Candy Crush.
In the main, the third graders preferred being able to monitor the public scoreboard to not knowing their scores.
"You can see your friends and see if you are, like, tied or not," one boy said.
What sort of constant record-keeping and electronic supervision will best meet the needs of your child?