Is ClassDojo Pursuing a ‘Platform Capitalism’ Strategy in Schools?


Is ClassDojo Pursuing a ‘Platform Capitalism’ Strategy in Schools?

May 30, 2017

CLASS CAPITALISM: ClassDojo made its rounds across the national media outlets last week, winning features in Forbes, CNN and even Hechinger Report. Yet its popularity and pervasiveness in U.S. classrooms—reaching 90 percent of U.S. elementary and middle schools, the company claims—raises questions for others. A post on DML Central questions whether ClassDojo is “prototypical of how the business model of platform capitalism is being applied to public education.”

“Platform capitalism,” a term borrowed from author Nick Srnicek, refers to tools that mediate conversations and connections, making them powerful in their potential to influence information, and lucrative in terms of the data they capture. ClassDojo’s growing role as a social media platform for schools positions it to generate revenues from at least some of these activities, posits the post’s author, Ben Williamson. The company, which has raised more than $31 million, has yet to offer concrete monetization plans.

“As an indispensable part of schooling amongst millions of teachers, the owners of ClassDojo could well be seen as claiming ownership of a significant part of the infrastructure of public education today,” writes Williamson. He continues: “However, it is an intermediary within a significant public institution, acting as a go-between that criss-crosses the purposes and interests of public education and venture capital.”

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