ClassDojo: A Fantastic Teacher Tool
Community Review for ClassDojo
In its first iteration, ClassDojo had two functions: reinforcing positive behavior in the classroom, and facilitating communication between teachers and parents related to positive behavior in the classroom. These are still the main functions, although at the time of this publication the app has been expanded with at least one additional major function and a number of other features as well.
The behavioral component allows teachers to reward students with positive feedback in real time by assigning points to the students' avatars. Students can choose their avatars from a gallery of appealing cartoon figures. The avatars accumulate points for positive - or negative - behaviors, which teachers can customize and use (or not) as they please.
Teachers can share reports, private messages, and student work samples with parents at any time, and parents receive a weekly report automatically.
A new addition to ClassDojo is Student Stories, an online portfolio created by the individual student to showcase classwork in photo and video format. Student Stories are viewable by the student's parents and teacher.
Critics of ClassDojo all end up admitting - sooner or later - that ClassDojo has several very good uses and their only real concern is that it has the potential to be misused. This is not a legitimate critique. . Everything, including the critics' own blogs, the Internet and literacy itself, has the potential for misuse. Technology empowers - it is the users' responsibility to translate that power into positive effect. ClassDojo goes above and beyond the norm in providing resources for proper, positive use of their product.
ClassDojo is not doing anything new. Teachers have been using strategies and techniques for behavior management in the classroom since the beginning of time. ClassDojo just does the job in a user-friendly, fun, collaborative way. That's a good thing.
How I Use It
ClassDojo's default settings reflect the behavioral management focus of the app as originally designed. Further upgrades to the software have added functionality. The ability to edit buttons - which enables a shift from behavioral management to any other set of criteria, for example mastery learning. ClassDojo now supports student portfolios, shareable with parents, where students can store and display their work. All of the tools in ClassDojo are intuitive, quick to set up and easy to learn.
In my classroom, ClassDojo was an infusion of fun and joy that also facilitated safe, non-threatening discussions about behavior. Since becoming an EdTech specialist, I no longer have a classroom of my own but consult regularly with classroom teachers whose general impression of ClassDojo aligns with my own. I have seen it used with good student buy-in even at the high school level.