Common Sense Review
Updated May 2016

ClassDojo

Handy management and messaging tool helps recognize, reward students
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • Students appear as colorful monster avatars.
  • Choose from a variety of positive and negative behaviors.
  • At the end of class, you can show a whole-class report.
  • View or display each individual student’s progress and share this information with parents.
  • The built-in messaging tool helps keep everyone in the know -- teachers, parents, and students.
  • Share information and stories from your classroom.
  • Built-in timers make it easier to keep Class Dojo running.
  • Messaging with parents is instantaneous and private.
Pros
Convenient combination of student feedback and parent communication features.
Cons
Effective (and ethical) use is largely dependent on how teachers utilize the program.
Bottom Line
With thoughtful classroom implementation, it can help students, teachers, and parents support students' growth through goal-setting and celebration.
Jason Shiroff
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The interface makes tracking and reporting student behavior easy for teachers. The bright colors, avatars, fun graphics, and sounds appeal to the senses of elementary school-age kids. Long-term engagement will depend on effective use.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

It's a powerful tool for monitoring students' growth and setting goals. However, some kids could interpret it as a system of extrinsic rewards and punishments. Teachers will need to set the right tone and use the platform responsibly.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Extensive documentation is available, including a FAQ page, suggested uses, and helpful videos.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Start out by using ClassDojo to track class-wide progress toward behavioral goals. Use it like a high-tech marble jar: Points can be added or taken away depending on how the class is behaving. Help your class set goals and work toward rewards based on how many points they've earned. However, be careful to ensure that individuals aren't publicly singled out in negative ways. You can also use the system to monitor students' individual progress and look for behavioral patterns. In this sense, you could use ClassDojo as more of a high-tech behavior chart, with frequent assessments for each student.

At the end of class, consider how you'll display the behavior point totals for the day -- either by class or by individual student. Be sure to utilize the built-in tools to communicate with parents, which can help bridge the gap between home and school. ClassDojo can also be incredibly effective as a teacher tool. Teachers who are concerned about privacy and don't want to make class behaviors public could privately use the app to track student behavior. The behavior reports would be very helpful for reporting!

Watch this video to see more ways you can use ClassDojo:

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What's It Like?

ClassDojo is an online classroom-management platform that helps teachers record and track their students' behaviors in real time while also giving students instant feedback. Much of this happens publicly through the use of a visual tracker, often displayed to the class on a screen or interactive whiteboard. Teachers can keep some information private depending on how they choose to set things up. The platform is designed to help individual students, as well as entire classes, identify areas for improved behavior and set related goals.

Teachers can set up various behaviors to track, whether specific to their classroom or based on school-wide expectations. Behaviors are categorized as "positive" or "needs work" and could be labeled in a variety of ways; anything from "on task" to "critical thinking" or "kindness" could be fair game. Each behavior is paired with an icon that students can easily identify; as points are awarded or taken away, the system also plays positive and negative sounds. Teams of teachers who share students throughout the day can set up shared behaviors to help offer consistent expectations. With the mobile app (iOS and Android), teachers can give points from anywhere in the room, potentially freeing them up to move about as they teach.

Students and parents can create accounts to see data on progress toward various goals; this includes detailed reports on the types of behaviors that were observed in each class. Families can also use the ClassDojo Messenger app to monitor their child's progress and communicate with teachers. Newer additions allow teachers to share classroom events and photos, giving families more of a connection to the classroom.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Many teachers see ClassDojo as a transformational tool in their efforts toward employing better classroom management. This type of real-time, class-wide communication can help make behavior expectations more clear and concrete for students. At the same time, it's important to note that the platform may not be for everyone. Teachers should be sure to emphasize positive reinforcement and utilize the tool's public features in ways that support students' privacy and dignity. Also, even in light of teachers' best efforts, some students might still interpret the system in more of an extrinsic way. The program's effectiveness depends largely on how you use it -- it's bound to work best with continual and consistent use.

ClassDojo excels the most as a communication tool, where it helps make a wider picture of students' daily experiences in class more transparent for teachers, parents, and kids. The program can give teachers a more specific look at students' behaviors and the social skills they're learning. The reports are also very useful for parents, although they don't automatically include detailed explanations about why students' points were awarded or deducted. While it might be more labor-intensive for teachers, an embedded commenting feature could help make this data more meaningful and actionable for parents and kids. Overall, the program can be a valuable way to keep instruction more whole-child-focused, as a complement to schools' attention toward students' academic skills and assessment.

If you're interested in ClassDojo's privacy and security, please consult our evaluation.

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