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Updated February 3, 2018

Seesaw: The Learning Journal

  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Intended for students.
  • Intended for teachers.
  • Service does allow free account creation.
  • Service offers a paid version or in-app-purchases.
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service collects biometric or health data.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service collects behavioral data.
  • Non-Personally Identifiable Information is collected.
Use Responsibly
The privacy evaluation process categorizes edtech tools into the following three tiers:
Use Responsibly
Indicates that the service meets the minimum criteria and more research should be completed prior to use.
Use with Caution
Indicates that the service does not clearly define the safeguards to protect student information.
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Overall Evaluationinfo-bubble

This Overall Evaluation 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

Seesaw provides student driven digital portfolios and simple parent communication. In Seesaw, interactions are originated by and largely mediated through the teacher. This hierarchy provides a relative degree of control over who can work in the website, and who can view student work in the website. Parent accounts can be created in the website, and parent access is restricted to their own child's work. Parents have the ability to share their child's work via social media, however, indiscriminate sharing by parents could potentially pose a privacy concern for the child - schools and teachers are encouraged to speak to parents about responsible sharing. Seesaw's terms state they do not create profiles or display advertisements, and all third party service providers that Seesaw works with are contractually required to only use data as directed by Seesaw to support their service. In their terms, Seesaw states they use reasonable security measure to protect student data, including encrypting data in transit. Lastly, teachers and schools signing up for the service should know that they are responsible for obtaining parental consent under COPPA.

Seesaw can be accessed through its website, and is available for download at the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. The Privacy Policy and Terms of Use accessed for this evaluation can be found on Seesaw’s website, iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, and Amazon Appstore. Additionally, other policies used for this evaluation include: Privacy Principles, and Copyright & Intellectual Property Policy. This evaluation only considers policies that have been made publicly available prior to an individual using the application or service.

Key Points
Intended Use
  • Intended for children under 13.
  • Intended for teens.
  • Intended for adults over 18.
  • Intended for parents or guardians.
  • Intended for students.
  • Intended for teachers.
Data Collection
  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is collected.
  • Geolocation data are collected.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service collects biometric or health data.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service collects behavioral data.
  • Non-Personally Identifiable Information is collected.
Parental Consent
  • Parental consent is required.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service limits parental consent with respect to third parties.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service allows parents to withdraw consent for the further collection of their child's information.
  • children's personal information is deleted if collected without parental consent.
  • Parental consent notice and method for submission are provided.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service discloses COPPA parental consent exceptions.
  • The terms are unclear about whether or not this service discloses FERPA parental consent exceptions.
  • Parental consent obligations are transferred to the school or district.
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.
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The terms of Seesaw state they provide control of student journal information to the classroom teacher. Codes to join the service for students are time limited, and expire if not used within a reasonable time, which prevents legacy codes being used for unauthorized access. In addition, the terms state parents have the ability to share journal content on social networks, however, indiscriminate sharing by parents could potentially pose a privacy concern for the child.

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.
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The terms of Seesaw state that depending on the content of student journals, the Service has the potential to store personal information ranging from non-personal analytics to fairly sensitive personal information. While Seesaw's terms do not list third party service providers in their terms, they do specify that all third parties are contractually restricted to only use data to support Seesaw's service. Seesaw's terms also specify that California residents can make an annual request to see "a list of what personal information about them we’ve disclosed to third parties in the preceding calendar year, as well as the names and addresses of those third parties." Lastly, the terms specify that inactive accounts will be deleted after 12 months, with schools being provided an option to archive the data prior to deletion.

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.
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The terms of Seesaw state that data in transit is encrypted. Additionally, Seesaw's terms specify they review their physical and data security processes, and take steps to control access to their hardware and data centers. However, the terms do not specify whether data at rest is encrypted.

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.
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The terms of Seesaw state they do not display ads on its service, or create marketing profiles on students. Seesaw specifies in their terms that they are acting as a school official, and are under the direct control of a school or district. In addition, teachers signing up for Seesaw should be aware that they are creating a formal agreement with regards to the district's relationship with a vendor, and they should make sure they have the right to create this agreement. Lastly, the terms specify that schools and teachers are responsible for obtaining verifiable parental consent for the collection of personal information.

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.