Do you have a hard time coaxing your child to open up about his day at school? Rest assured that help is on the way. ClassDojo is headed to a school near you, and you can get updates on classroom goings-on as often as you like.
The education app, designed for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, is being used in 90 percent of U.S. school districts and more than 180 countries worldwide. There are versions in 35 different languages. Given that the idea for the app was conceived just six years ago, growth has been astronomical.
ClassDojo was formed when two highly educated 26-year-olds from the U.K., Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don, asked a simple question: What’s the worst part of teaching?
After talking to hundreds of educators, they launched the app that’s getting kids all over the globe excited about school.
How It Works
ClassDojo functions like a social media community for individual classrooms. It connects students, teachers, parents and administrators. Throughout the school day, users can watch videos, share photos, post comments and otherwise participate in classroom activities.
Teachers can post lesson plans, describe group projects or announce upcoming events. Imagine an ongoing open house or Meet the Teacher Night.
The goal is for users, especially parents, to become active team members in their student’s educational experience.
Fans say that ClassDojo provides a network of support that inspires kids to put their very best ideas to work. They report that students are more engaged, confident and well-behaved. Everyone works together to create a learning environment that’s tailor-made for the children and teacher in any given classroom.
A Range of Applications
The ClassDojo team continually works with teachers to address their frustrations and provide solutions. Here are some of the app’s diverse features:
- Student profiles and portfolios
A profile and avatar are created for each student. Teachers can go to a student’s page and post feedback on schoolwork or encouraging remarks. Parents can comment, ask questions or send a message to their student.
Students can showcase their classwork or special projects in personal portfolios. Moms and dads can access them at any time. Kids may upload photos or film themselves in action to explain their work. Thanks to videos of an ongoing art project, for example, parents don’t miss a thing.
- Class news
Teachers keep parents updated on day-to-day activities. Parents know what books the class is reading. They get live videos from the field trip to the aquarium. If the class gets a new hamster, there are plenty of pictures to document the event. Urgent news, like early dismissal for bad weather or a health alert, is communicated quickly and efficiently.
- Private messaging
Teachers and parents can communicate privately without even exchanging phone numbers.
- Strategies for success
Several series of videos teach basic skills for succeeding in school and life.
Teaching students to develop a growth mindset is one key element of ClassDojo. The idea is for students to set learning goals, work to achieve them, grow from their mistakes and rebound after setbacks. A growth mindset refutes the notion that intelligence alone determines success. Students who grasp the concept stop making excuses and work harder. The ones who don’t need a lot of academic help stop basking in their achievements and start setting harder goals.
Mindfulness lessons are integrated into the Big Ideas series. These videos teach emotional intelligence, and ClassDojo partnered with Harvard University and the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to develop their content.
Students learn to put strategies in place for regulating their emotions when life throws a curveball. The focus is on managing stress, anger or sadness without overreacting or feeling overwhelmed. Breathing techniques and calming movements are integrated into mindfulness instruction.
Since parents can watch the videos at home with their kids, the lessons are reinforced, and dialogue about them is ongoing.
- Behavior monitoring
Teachers can award or deduct points based on behavior. Life points might be added for a neat appearance or politeness. Learning points are awarded for things like completed homework assignments and extra-credit work.
Reasons to have points deducted might include disruptive behavior, leaving trash in the lunchroom or forgetting to bring the right book to class.
Whether the news is good or bad, parents see it.
Awards and Funding
Since winning the NBC “Today” Education Innovation Award in 2011, ClassDojo has racked up a number of honors from Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc. Magazine, LinkedIn and Fast Company, a leading business media brand.
ClassDojo raised the initial seed money of $1.6 million in 2012. The following year, its first institutional funding effort raised $8.5 million. Series B venture funding in 2015 added $21 million.
When your student isn’t forthcoming about what goes on at school, ClassDojo is the next best thing.
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