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Parent of 2 elementary school kids

Hi Lisa, I wanted to let you

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Hi Lisa, I wanted to let you know of our latest release of MommaZoo, a parent engagement app (www.mommazoo.com). We do all this mobile & online: directory, communications, homework, reminders, volunteering, photos. Everything is translated and available on all mobile devices and computers. Did you know that 91% of parents have a mobile phone and smartphone adoption for Hispanic, Asians, and African-Americans is greater than Whites (see Nielsen report http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/newswire/2012/who-owns-smartphones-in-the-u...) ?

To jhengstler: check us out our new site with everything updated, including our new TOS and PP.

Oh and I also updated my profile on Edutopia - I didn't even realize I was anonymous before. Now you can see and know more about me =).

Elementary Teacher from Texas

Thanks for the information.

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Thanks for the information. This is the first time I have heard of ClassDojo and Remind 101. I plan to look into them and see if they will be something that I can use in my classroom. They sound like great ways to communicate with parents and keep them informed about their student. Has anyone used any of the new school methods and have they helped out with communicating with parents. What are the pros and cons of them.

Kindergarten Teacher

Thank you so much for sharing

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Thank you so much for sharing your ideas on how to have more parents involved in the classroom and their child's education. Being a new teacher in a Title I school where parent involvement is a struggle, your article has given me great ideas on how to involve my parents!

5th grade teacher in Delaware

Thanks Tracy! I figure even

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Thanks Tracy! I figure even if I get one more parent involved, it's worth it for my students!

1st grade teacher from GA

I enjoyed reading your blog

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I enjoyed reading your blog about keeping parents involved. I liked your idea about the test folder. I have heard about ClassDojo and Remind101. I plan on trying them this year. Hopefully they will help to increase parental participation in my class.

Parent of 2 elementary school kids

Hi jhengstler, Thanks for

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Hi jhengstler,
Thanks for reminding us that we need to revisit our TOS and PP! The good thing is that where user security really matters - in the application itself - is where MommaZoo has been laser focused. If you read all the recent security issues that have plagued a number of apps commonly used in the classroom ("Data Security is a Classroom Worry, Too"[1] and "How Shutterfly and Other Social Sites Leave Your Kids Vulnerable to Hackers"[2]), you'll see that if the developers don't do the right thing, it leaves teachers, students and parents completely vulnerable, regardless of the TOS and PP. MommaZoo's security procedures are documented in "On Security"[3]. We encrypt the database, the transmission (we use SSL throughout the entire MommaZoo application, not just the login), we salt the passwords, we harden our servers, and each group is also passcode protected. Security can never be guaranteed, but we do our darndest to protect our users where it really counts. And yes, now we will make sure our TOS and PP are updated. Thanks again for the reminder!
Links to the above references:
[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/business/data-security-is-a-classroom-...
[2] http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/shutterfly-teamsnap-eteamz-s...
[3] http://blog.mommazoo.com/2012/12/20/on-security/

5th grade teacher in Delaware

Thank you jhengstler, for

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Thank you jhengstler, for reminding us how important it is to read the Terms of Service etc, especially where our students are involved!

5th grade teacher in Delaware

You are welcome Kathryn! I

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You are welcome Kathryn! I always tell my parents that communication is key!

5th grade teacher in Delaware

I agree, consistency is

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I agree, consistency is important. I make sure to use methods I know I will continue to use year round.

Initially, KidParent,

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Initially, KidParent, Mommazoo looked quite promising--but then I dove into the Terms of Service & Privacy Policy--something few educators do, but really need too. Whenever services are provided for free--our personal data & content we generate are the currency that pay for it. We need to really seeing this for what it is--a trade. In Mommazoo's case, I feel that the trade is not equitable.

There are a few things I don't like about Mommazoo's Terms of Service. For example, in 4.1 they reserve the rights to change the provided services without any prior notice to users. Not a great practice. Under 5.1 you have to agree that all registration info is accurate & up to date--precluding the ability to create digital avatars for individuals not comfortable sharing their personal data. In BC, Canada, where I teach, legally we need to provide these types of options for participation.
Especially problematic to me in the Terms of Service is section 11.1 where Mommazoo retains "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services". This makes me very uncomfortable. In fact in section 11.2, Mommazoo says users agree that the license includes a right for MommaZoo to "make such Content [like documents, text, etc. provided by you the user] available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom MommaZoo has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services".
Scary is provision 14. 2 where Mommazoo does NOT assure that YOUR USE OF THE SERVICES WILL BE...SECURE".

In the Privacy Policy I would really like the section "If MommaZoo becomes involved in a merger, acquisition, or any form of sale of some or all of its assets, we will ensure the confidentiality of any personal information involved in such transactions and provide notice before personal information is transferred and becomes subject to a different privacy policy." to add, In the case that the user elects not to transfer personal data to the 2nd party in the merger, acquisition or any form of sale, such data will be deleted and destroyed prior to the completion of the merger, acquisition, or any form of sale."

Further under the "Information Security" section, there is no provision that Mommazoo will contact users/subscribers in the case of a suspected privacy breach to allow users to take action to protect themselves. This would be quite helpful.
While I realize that business providing "free" services need some type of structure for cost recovery or profit model, I think that it needs to be a more balanced equation.

Given these terms, I would have to say--"Thanks, but no thanks. Get back to me Mommazoo when your terms & policies are a bit more protective of your users."

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