One thing that stood out to me was that the terms of service started out by discussing that when you sign up, you are entering into a contract and you must be of the legal age to sign a contract in your geographical area. Now, this app is predominately designed for students under the age of 18 I would say, and so it identifies that users under the legal age must have their parents read the terms of service and give their child permission to use. As a teacher, if you are using or plan to use Edmodo as your online classroom hub, you should consider communicating to parents about the use of Edmodo and that they should read through the terms of service with their child.
Another aspect of this app that differs significantly from the others is the social nature of this app. While the privacy policies are very similar between the three apps I examined, it does highlight in Edmodo’s policies that any information that users put out there, whether in their profiles or posts to the group page, is out of their hands the moment it is posted. Even when content is deleted, it is very possible that others have taken that information and it exists on other devices and servers. This is where it becomes very important to have had discussions on digital citizenship before implementing this application with a class. I think we need to guide students properly before and then during use of technology in the classroom, otherwise students could find themselves making poor decisions due to not fully understanding the implications of their actions. It is also clearly stated in the terms of service that Edmodo is not responsible for material posted by users; the responsibility lies with the original user who posted the content.
Because of the social nature of this app, the terms delve into copyright issues. It discusses that users must respect the copyrights of users posting material, but what is copyright and what is copyleft can be very difficult to figure out, even for those who think they have a good grasp on it! I’d refer you now to read Claire’s blog about copyright/copyleft issues in the digital age. If users are going to use material posted by others on Edmodo, good practice would be to always give credit to the original source. It also discusses the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which allows for users to submit a claim regarding copyright infringement which Edmodo then could remove the material if they feel it is appropriate to do so.
So just to wrap up, I have quickly learned that it seems like most apps have very similar privacy policies and terms of service and having delved into these documents it has been quite informative and now I have a much better idea of how much information is collected from users and how this information can be used. The more social nature of Edmodo though brought about a few new topics that wasn’t addressed with the other two. Through it all, I have really come to believe that we need to explicitly teach and model digital citizenship with our students in safer environments to start so that if there are mistakes made, there can be a certain level of damage control. Like Jon Ronson discussed in his Ted Talk on public shaming due to a single online mistake, we don’t want to throw students into the fire without the proper education and guidance, but with that proper instruction, we can really tap into some powerful learning opportunities.
Live long and prosper