ClassDojo: A Unique, Techy Tool for Teachers

For school teachers looking to keep the little monsters under control, ClassDojo is an engaging and innovative web app. It uses cute monsters and pop-up notices to instantly reward good behavior and admonish naughtiness.

Teachers create a “dojo monster” for each student in their class. Then using a projector or interactive whiteboard teachers can display reward points for traits like citizenship, listening, following directions or a creative insight. Similarly, a point can be deducted if a student is off task, out of their seat or being disrespectful. A large pop-up icon with the monster’s name flies on-screen, complete with a Foursquare-like icon for the specific behavior. There is a default list of behaviors, but these and icon choices can be customized.

Even more clever is an accompanying mobile web app for smartphones and tablets. A teacher can be walking around the room and with a few taps dish out rewards or demerits.

Class Dojo is the creation of entrepreneurs Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don. Chaudhary taught social science in the UK and worked for consulting firm McKinsey & Company in London before joining with Don to launch Class Dojo. The co-founders now work in Palo Alto after winning funding from technology incubator Imagine K12.

The peculiar name Class Dojo comes from a brainstorming session when the team stumbled across the Japanese term “dojo,” which means “place of the way.” The concept was that the classroom could be a place of instruction for proper behavior and good character. Something that, as Chaudhary sees it, is in danger of being pushed aside as California and other states place heavy emphasis on standardized testing.

“We have 40 years of education research that shows behavior is a major indicator of academics, career success, or social ills like substance abuse and criminal prosecutions,” he said. “Self-control is the biggest predictor of lifetime success.”

What makes Class Dojo different from the usual, dry character-building program is the familiarity kids will feel with it. It uses icons, badges and pop-up notifications; all tech tools that school-age children know through their own smartphones or iPod touches.

What may appeal to teachers is the compilation of data. Class Dojo creates student report cards that include a pie chart summarizing how their monster was rewarded and admonished.

“It’s very engaging and the students like it,” he said. “The byproduct is you get all of this data for free. We have a vocal group of teachers who are actively using it and providing us with essential feedback.”

The developers are encouraging users to contact them if they have suggestions or find bugs.

Class Dojo certainly has room to grow. The student report section needs to be more printer-friendly. While the mobile web apps are handy, they are slow and sometimes buggy. Fortunately, the Dojo team is working on native apps for iPhone and Android that should create a smoother experience.

Also, updates are rolling out at a rapid pace. For example, just last week users were given the ability to re-size monsters so they could fit onto one screen. There are now more notification options and other features planned to rollout soon. Even in its beta state, Class Dojo is a refreshing alternative for both teachers and students.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Kalen from ClassDojo here!  Thanks for the great blog post Derek!  

    If anyone who comes across this article has any questions – definitely reach out!  hello@classdojo.com.  Cheers!

  2. danielle adcock says:

    i am a wonderful teacher but i will tel you when i use this my 5th graders get better every point they get

  3. This is an awesome program! I have a very challenging class (behavior wise) this year and this program has saved me from loosing my mind! I love that we can send reports via e-mail to parents, that we can customize the behaviors, add notes, and the list goes on and on! Thank you for creating such a comprehensive program for teachers…it is nice to have a computer program that I don’t need three days of inservice to learn to use!

  4. my son is on this site and he says that his teacher told him to go online to schooldojo.com to play the games, we cant find it, is it really a learning game on that site. he like educational games online to play for free

  5. my teacher uses this she started yesterday and i already have 5 pts

  6. i love classdojo

  7. I love class dojo by nadia 2013

  8. Heather Baker says:

    This is my 2nd year of using Class Dojo and I love it. I notice an immediate change in student behavior when they hear that familiar “ding” or “bonk” for a positive or negative dojo point. Parents love having easy access to their child’s behavior reports. This is the best behavior plan I have used in the classroom. I have found the app to be more challenging to use at times though.

  9. Judy McGibboney says:

    Hi, I am a teacher and I found out about this web site from the school that my personal children go to. They are signed up on my e-mail address. The problem is that I now want to use class dojo for my students but I am unable to sign up as a teacher due to me being signed up as a parent using the same e-mail address. This is the only e-mail address I use every day. Do you have any ideas on how to work around this problem?

  10. I am confused. So giving children rewards is supposed to teach them self-control? As a teacher with 20 years of experience and a person who had read at length the research on rewards and punishments, I respectfully disagree that this will teach children self-control. Displaying the behavior of others for all to see is public shaming. There are more positive ways to teach children self-regulation. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline is a great place to start. Maybe this app can be modified?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Soon: Startup Exits Beta August 15, 2012 By Derek Walter Leave a Comment Web-based education tool Class Dojo, which has had phenomenal word-of-mouth growth in its first year, is planning an “early [...]

  2. [...] 10, 2012 By Derek Walter Leave a Comment Tech-savvy teachers can rejoice: the long-awaited ClassDojo app for iOS is here. You can now reward and penalize your little monsters from an iPhone or iPad [...]

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