Parents eager to keep tabs on their kids’ classroom activities have a new tech tool to help. Class Dojo, an app that allows a teacher to swiftly and instantly communicate a message to parents about a child’s conduct, is becoming more widely-used in schools.
Class Dojo was created using $75,000 from the 2011 Citi Innovation in Education Prize, awarded to entrepreneurs who develop technology to help educators. According to its website, hundreds of thousands of teachers worldwide now use it. Christina Claudio, a teacher who uses the app, says the program brings out her students’ competitive streaks as they want to earn more points they can redeem for incentives such as using the teacher’s rolling desk chair or sitting with a friend for the day.
“This generation of students, I feel, loves anything that’s ‘gamified.’ If it feels like a game, they’re in,” said Christina, who teaches fourth graders at Pine Trail Elementary in Ormond Beach.
Claudio allows her students to customize their avatars, little icons that represent each student, all with the aim of making them feel more accountable and connected. While logged in, a parent could find out right away whether his or her student earned or lost points and why. Janie said she sent 41 invitations at the start of the school year to parents detailing how to sign up for Class Dojo and track their child’s progress and 37 accepted.
“Before, as a teacher, you really only had time to call home when a kid made a major error,” Janie said.
Other than simply showing whether a child had a good or bad day, Class Dojo includes time-stamped information about students’ ups and downs in each day’s report. According to Annie Martin of the Miami Herald, a printout of a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder was used by his parents to review his care. The printout showed more problems in the afternoons than in the morning, so the parents presented it to their son’s pediatricians, who determined the boy’s medication wore off around lunchtime each day.
“The fact that it’s immediate gives me a tremendous amount of data about the students’ behaviors in my classroom,” she said.
However, whether Class Dojo has improved Janie’s students’ behavior is still unclear.