With the thousands of ed-tech tools available to teachers, it can be difficult to find those that work well and complement teaching strategies. It takes a lot of time to research and integrate, and for teachers in cash-strapped schools, access to some technology is completely out of their reach.
Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don, the co-founders of ClassDojo, had the tech limitations of many public schools in mind when they designed the free service, a behavior management tool meant to reduce the amount of time teachers spend trying to get students' attention. Classes need just one device -- an interactive whiteboard, a computer connected to a projector, or tablet or smartphone.
ClassDojo works on three principles:
- Build positive behaviors through positive reinforcement -- basically “catch kids being good” and use specific praise to call out good behavior.
- Real-time feedback is the most effective at improving and changing behavior over a period of time.
- Any tool focused on behavior must engage parents as well.
HOW IT WORKS
Each student gets an avatar and either receives or loses points. The point tallies can be projected on the board for real-time feedback. Teachers and students can come up with mutually agreed upon behavior expectations, and because the categories are framed using positive reinforcement, the tool has the potential to do more than just call out good behavior. For example, a teacher might create a category like “was able to counter another’s point of view without insulting them.” And that behavior becomes part of a classroom norm. ClassDojo can also take attendance and creates pie charts and percentage breakdowns to share with parents.
Teachers' experience with ClassDojo spans the spectrum. Jennie Dougherty, who taught English at a large urban public high school in Brockton, Massachusetts for three years, recently left to become the technology instructor at a school in East Palo Alto, a low-income Bay Area town. When she first encountered ClassDojo she thought it was just a virtual sticker star chart, a paper version of which she already used. ClassDojo met her basic need -- then she discovered it could do more.