In the world of educational technology, there are countless apps and programs designed to make life easier for students. ClassDojo goes a step further than most software by catering to teachers and parents as well. Unlike many of its competitors, it takes a more comprehensive, community-oriented view of classroom management.
As a complete platform suite instead of merely an isolated application, ClassDojo offers a connective, mobile-ready solution for educators, students and parents alike. Here’s a quick introduction to how it works and what classrooms might stand to gain by using it.
How Does ClassDojo Work?
ClassDojo enables real-time communication between teachers, their students and parents. Educators get to continuously rate students’ performance in areas like behavior and use the software to create instant updates in response to specific events. They can then share the information with parents who get to monitor their kids’ progress.
This app is geared towards encouraging entire families to take more active roles in education. For instance, teachers can send parents “moments” complete with photos or videos to show them when their kids are doing good work or highlight problems that may benefit from extra attention on the home front. Since a significant focus of the platform is to provide positive reinforcement, students also get to view updates and keep track of their ongoing standing.
One interesting aspect about ClassDojo is that teachers have the option to personalize how it works in order to suit their program or classroom needs. They can define the tasks that students have to perform to obtain feedback, which makes the software appropriate for unconventional education initiatives. For instance, in addition to judging their pupils based on whether they raise their hands instead of shouting out answers, teachers might also define good behaviors like cleaning up after classroom activities or helping peers.
Such features afford educators significantly more flexibility and immediacy than they’re able to leverage with traditional performance grading tools, like report cards or written notes. Also, ClassDojo facilitates more regular assessment over time, so teachers can reward and encourage behaviors that might usually go overlooked, such as when students who don’t typically participate volunteer answers.
By cultivating a more holistic view of positive reinforcement where good actions earn rewards on the spot, ClassDojo may help foster stronger mental connections between positive behavior and beneficial outcomes among students who would otherwise struggle to hit their strides. The fact that it allows private messaging communication between parents and teachers may lower some of the barriers traditionally imposed by alternatives like parent-teacher conferences. Because the app can automatically translate messages into any of 35 different languages, it could also help international families get more immersed in the education process.
Cost and Business Policies
ClassDojo operates on an evolving freemium price model. Since the company’s mission is to assist teachers, it offers the software to educators without charging them, and it plans on maintaining this policy indefinitely.
According to one of the company’s help articles, ClassDojo may begin offering additional premium features in the future, although it hadn’t announced these at the time of this writing. Parents and school districts that want to pay for such upgrades can do so, but the firm says that it won’t ever charge for any of the core functionalities that it currently provides.
This service complies with Safe Harbor standards like COPPA by preventing kids below the age of 13 from participating without parental consent, and the product adheres to FERPA standards for school record privacy. Users are also permitted to delete their data and close their accounts at will. In addition to maintaining a staff of privacy advisors, the company routinely submits to third-party auditing.
History and Usage
ClassDojo got its start in the UK in 2011. A mere ten weeks after the creators moved to the U.S. as part of a seed investment project, 1 percent of all teachers in the country had joined. This explosive growth attracted the attention of venture capital, and the firm earned $15 million in Series B funding in 2015 as well as a number of awards and widespread recognition.
According to the ClassDojo website, the product is present in approximately 90 percent of U.S. schools that teach students who range from the kindergarten to eighth-grade levels. Worldwide, schools in 180 countries make use of it in some form, which amounts to tens of millions of total users.
ClassDojo maintains that one-fifth of its workforce possesses a background in education. Although such hiring practices aren’t uncommon in the field of classroom-oriented software development, they speak positively of the company’s dedication to meeting the needs of real teaching professionals.
Does ClassDojo Produce Results?
According to a Forbes report, ClassDojo claims that teachers who use its software say that it raises positive behavior by 45 to 90 percent. Negative behaviors reportedly fall by 50 to 85 percent. With users in about half of U.S. schools, the software seems to have proven successful in a variety of classroom environments.
Teachers and parents also appear to like the platform’s ease of use, which may play a significant role in its rapid adoption and ongoing success. After a teacher sets up an account for their classroom, they can email codes to individual parents to get them connected. The parents simply enter the codes that they’ve received to join the service and begin tracking their children. Since ClassDojo works with Android and iOS devices as well as web browsers, it gives parents more opportunities to stay involved conveniently.
ClassDojo’s classroom community-building spirit also manifests itself in the way the user base comes together to improve the service. In addition to awarding millions of feedback points to students on a daily basis, the teachers added the crowdsourced translation of the site interface on their own initiative. They also contributed to the messaging functionality, which rolled out in just one week and includes perks like office hours.
These events suggest that the software will spread even further in the future. As with many tech products, early participation is a key predictor of longevity. Regardless how the ClassDojo business model evolves with maturity, the platform has already transformed the face of education for good.