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Class Dojo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
posted by: Alana | October 03, 2016, 07:58 PM   


Since the dawn of the industrial age, teachers of all grades and subjects have been using technology to reimagine the classroom and communicate with students on whole new levels.


Some of these ideas have been quickly embraced as revolutions in education, others have fallen flat on their face, and even more have had mixed reviews.


Take the idea of ClassDojo for example.


ClassDojo is a free app for smartphones and tablets that claims to "connect teachers with students and parents to build amazing classroom communities." Each student has a profile – complete with their own avatar – to which teachers can assign positive and negative points (or 'dojos') throughout the lesson.


Theoretically, the app aims to give students a voice, share moments with parents, and create a positive culture in the classroom through sound recognition, up-to-the-minute progress visualization, and even the gamification of basic classroom behavior management. Teachers have the ability to give students digital high-fives or reward students with points for a job well done, and parents can get immediate feedback on the projects their child worked on in class or their child’sbehavioral needs.


But it has not come without criticism and doubt.


Concerns regarding student privacy, the psychological impact of public displays of student success on sensitive students, and the potential to reduce the amount of face-to-face communication with parents are all just a few of the cited concerns among critics of the app.


Perhaps there's no one perfect system. And while this tool may work for some, others may have a completely different experience for a variety of factors from the students using it to how the educator actually implements it. In the ever changing American classroom, innovations like ClassDojo still reign supreme.



Do you use a class dojo?

Tell us how it works in your classroom in comments below!


Comments (3)Add Comment
written by Kim walker, October 06, 2017

I am a parent, and I am having increasing concerns over the compliance of these kinds of apps with FERPA. I do not like my sons behavior data being persistently stored. Is anyone else concerned of the lack of oversight on district levels with these kinds of 3rd party apps?
As Good As the Person Implementing
written by Tonette Carroll, September 04, 2017

I have used Class Dojo extensively and successfully for years. Class Dojo is as effective as the teacher implementing it. When used as a positive tool it can boost class morale as well as increase class community.

I use this tool to boost class morale by posting pictures to share our class history with parents and students. Class story and messaging parents are the features I use most. I try to post at least one picture each day to share something that happened in our day to help parents feel a part of our class. When students share projects, I video them and post a link to their personal story page so that their parents can watch them present. I use the Class Dojo videos on Growth Mindset and other positive traits to encourage students to persevere and cope with stress.

Class Dojo is more than just giving and taking points for good or poor behavior. As a matter of fact, I have discontinued giving points for good behavior this year except for points given to the whole class, because we are a team and we win together or lose together.

The new features of casting are wonderful additions. You can cast music for your class to listen to as they work or post morning messages. Dojo can create cooperative groups for you and it can make it easy for you to choose random students.

Teachers who use Dojo to reward and punish students generally find the app less useful. In these cases, teachers only remember to reward students to spite students who were not doing well or take points to punish students who quickly disengage because they get the point that they cannot succeed at this game. I've heard of teachers allowing students to get up to -50 points! Why? Teachers who do these practices are also ineffective without class dojo. Use this app as a motivational tool, not as a destructive, point out all of your faults kind of tool, or a bribe students to do well tool, and you will get the most out of it.
Marginally Helpful at Best
written by Jan Stephenson, May 04, 2017

My school banned it. We had teachers displaying the "behavior" information....but this same information was covered in a student's IEP. So yes, they were displaying IEP information/data which was not a good idea.

My third grade class was OK with it but tired of it by October. So I discontinued use.

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