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Updated January 10, 2018

Flocabulary

  • Privacy polices do indicate a version or effective date.
  • Data are not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Data are not shared for advertising or marketing.
  • Behavioral or contextual advertising is not displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-party advertising or tracking services.
  • Data are used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Third parties cannot use data to create ad profiles, data enhancement, and/or targeted advertisements.
The criteria for "Use with Caution" are narrowly focused around data uses related to creating profiles that aren't related to any educational purpose, and using data to target ads. We include both first party (ie, the vendor that builds the service) and third party (any company given access by the vendor) data use. It's worth highlighting that using data to profile students violates multiple state laws, and in some cases also violates federal law.

A service can be designated "Use with Caution" for either a lack of transparency around data use -- which creates the potential for profiling and behavioral targeting -- or for clearly stating that they use data to target advertisements and/or create profiles. As with any application being considered for use within schools, school and/or district staff should review the privacy policies and terms of service to ensure that they meet the legal and practical requirements of their state laws and school policies.

As with the "Not Recommended" criteria, a "Use with Caution" designation is NOT a sign that a vendor is necessarily doing anything unethical or illegal. It is a sign that, based on publicly available policies,  we do not have adequate guarantees that data will not be used by first or third parties to create non-educational profiles or to target behavioral ads.
Use with Caution
Full evaluation
57
Overall Scoreinfo-bubble

This overall score represents how the service addressed all our evaluation questions. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive policies.

Overview

Flocabulary provides a library of songs, videos and activities for K-12 online learning and research-based activities to teach content knowledge and build literacy skills. The terms of Flocabulary state they do not provide any social interactions between students or make a student's information visible to the public. The terms specify that schools and districts can use Flocabulary without sharing any personal information from students, or they can choose to set up student accounts and use Flocabulary to track their students' progress. Flocabulary's terms state they utilize industry-standard application hosting providers who agree to perform frequent diagnostics, operating system updates, and network security monitoring. Flocabulary's terms state they do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13, but do collect personal information from students and teachers in K-12.

Flocabulary can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on Flocabulary’s website, iOS App Store, and the Google Play Store. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Read the Common Sense standard privacy report (SPR)arrow
The standard privacy report (SPR) displays the most important privacy practices from a product’s polices in a single easy-to-read outline. The report displays an alert when a particular privacy practice is risky, unclear, or not evaluated. This alert indicates more time should be focused on these particular details prior to use.
SafetyPromoting responsible use
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Evaluating safety takes into consideration best practices that protect a user's physical and emotional health. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to safety.
12

The terms of Flocabulary state they do not provide any social interactions between students or make a student's information visible to the public. The terms specify when students have accounts, teachers will be able to assign multiple choice quizzes and other assignments to students in their classes. Students' quiz results and work product are stored so that both the student who took the quiz or completed the assignment and the teacher can review the results.

The terms state for certain types of assignments, teachers can enable multiple students to collaborate to share their work with the class. Lastly, the terms state the student’s username, first, and last name will not be shared with any Flocabulary users other than their teacher and the account manager at their school or district.

PrivacyProtecting collected information
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Evaluating privacy takes into consideration best practices that protect the disclosure of a user's personal information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to privacy.
58

The terms of Flocabulary state they collect personal information from students and teachers and automatically collect and analyze information from their use of the services and activity on the website. The website is provided for potential users, but only school staff and parents or guardians may become users. The terms state a website visitor may not register for Flocabulary as a user for a trial, or paid plan, unless they represent a class, school, district, or are a parent or guardian of a learner.

Flocabulary's terms state schools and districts can use the Service without sharing any personal information from students, or they can choose to set-up student accounts and use Flocabulary to track their students' progress. The school, teacher, or district’s account manager can access, delete or correct personal information from students at any time. In addition, Flocabulary's terms sate they may use aggregated, anonymized and de-identified data to make improvements to Flocabulary, and they may maintain anonymized, aggregated data, including usage data, for analytics purposes. Flocabulary's terms state they do not share any personal information with third parties for advertising, marketing or other purposes, and they do not sell or rent any students' information to any third party for any purpose. Lastly, the terms state there is no third-party advertising on Flocabulary's service, but they do track users across third party websites to display targeted advertising.

SecurityProtecting against unauthorized access
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Evaluating security takes into consideration best practices that protect the integrity and confidentiality of a user's data. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to security.
88

The terms of Flocabulary state they utilize industry-standard application hosting providers who agree to perform frequent diagnostics, operating system updates, and network security monitoring. Flocabulary's terms state they have industry-standard security policies and procedures in place, and take reasonable measures to protect the confidentiality, security and integrity of personal information collected on their website. This includes the use of encryption to protect sensitive information transmitted online, firewalls and other security technologies to prevent access to the data from unauthorized parties. The terms specify all connections between users and Flocabulary are secured via encryption communication technology (SSL). In addition, the terms state all Flocabulary passwords are salted and hashed using the practices recommended by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology).

Flocabulary's terms state their engineering team is committed to creating and maintaining systems to protect a user's personal information. Their terms state only employees who need to access user information in order to perform a specific job (for example, billing or customer service) are granted access to that information. Flocabulary's terms also specify that employees with access to student personally identifiable information have undergone a criminal background check. Flocabulary's terms state that partners, including their outside shipping company and their credit card processing company may only use user information to provide specific services. The terms state these companies do not retain, share, store or use personally identifiable information for any secondary purposes beyond filling a user's order. Lastly, the terms state if Flocabulary believes that the security of a user's personal information may have been compromised, they will seek to notify a user as soon as possible. If Flocabulary has a user's email address, they may notify you by email.

ComplianceFollowing statutory laws and regulations
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Evaluating compliance takes into consideration best practices of companies that collect personal information from children or students and the legal obligations for the privacy and security of that information. A higher score (up to 100) means the service provides more transparent and comprehensive responses related to compliance.
55

The terms of Flocabulary state they do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 13, but do collect personal information from students and teachers in K-12. The terms state when a school or district purchases Flocabulary, the first step is for teachers or administrators to create classes. Students can only sign up for Flocabulary after the school or district imports student roster information into Flocabulary, or their teacher enters class information and instruct students to create an account with a provided code. Additionally, the terms state students cannot sign-up and create a Flocabulary account unaffiliated with a class or a school-wide district.

When students create a student account on Flocabulary, the terms state they need to enter a code which will associate them with their school and teacher. The terms specify if a student is a child under the age of 13, they must get permission from a parent or legal guardian to use the website. If a child under 13 wishes to sign up for a free trial or subscribe to Flocabulary, the terms state they must obtain parent or legal guardian consent beforehand. The terms specify if Flocabulary learns they have inadvertently collected personal information from a child under 13 without parental consent, they will take the necessary steps to delete it.

Lastly, the terms state a parent, guardian, or student can access, edit, and delete their information or the results of their quizzes at any time if the data has been provided to Flocabulary by their school or district. The terms also state that after a school or district has requested their account termination and subsequent removal of student data, Flocabulary may retain securely stored backups in accordance with their agreements with the school or district, and their data retention policy, after which point all data will be deleted.

About Privacy Evaluations

The privacy evaluations have been designed with the help and support of a consortium of schools and districts across the United States. These evaluations are designed to streamline making an informed decision about the potential privacy implications of educational technology used to support teaching and learning.

Our core evaluation criteria are freely available and will remain freely available. People are encouraged to read the questions we use and the information security primer we released. Vendors are encouraged to use our questions and the information security primer to self-evaluate. You can also learn more about our evaluation process.

Please be in touch with any questions or feedback.