ClassDojo for iPhone is a simple, colourful classroom management app for teachers, parents and students. Teachers can use the app to keep parents up-to-date about important matters for their children or the class in general, reward and praise student behaviour and instill "classroom values."
With its charming monsters and simple reward system, this app is especially well-suited for classes of younger learners. It also provides additional resources for teachers such as inspirational videos and classroom decorations featuring its cute characters.
The basics of monster management
In ClassDojo, each student receives an avatar in the form of a cute little monster. Thecan simply tap on the monster and mark a positive or negative Dojo Point. Student behaviour is divided into a group of classroom values: these are completely customisable, but the default settings include values like hard work, teamwork and respect for others. By gamifying classroom behaviour management, the app hopes to improve student engagement.
Students can also use this app to share their own work in the form of Student Stories, folders of images or videos shared with the class and parents. Similarly, teachers can share images or video with the whole class and parents. Teachers can also send and receive messages with parents.
Putting it into practice
This is a classroom management app, one that doesn't include any kind of assignment tracking or sharing. Combine that with its focus on lovable cartoon characters, and it's clear that this is focused on managing classrooms of younger children, who need to learn about appropriate behaviour more than they need to learn about algebra. The interface is easy to use, especially given that it's supposed to be used by children, and it should work well in schools where students are issued digital devices.
Integrating parents can be trickier, if only because 20 to 30 families with 20 to 30 completely different devices are inevitably going to produce some technical challenges. Teachers may well find themselves doing at least some of their behaviour reporting the old-fashioned way. In most cases, however, it will be very useful, and it's especially nice to be able to communicate with parents quickly and directly without giving them a phone number and having to worry about over-enthusiastic evening calls.
The teacher resources provided on ClassDojo's website are helpful in terms of getting students and parents up to speed, although they do rather rely on the company using the teacher as an unpaid marketing representative. It's a small price to pay for an app that's otherwise free, of course.
Starting your own dojo
Under the right circumstances, ClassDojo can be very useful. It requires good availability of compatible devices in the classroom, a certain amount of setup on the part of the teacher and a willing and engaged group of parents. When it's working, it does simplify behaviour management and hopefully make instilling the correct classroom values easier and more enjoyable. If your classroom meets these requirements, it can be a valuable tool.