Friday, February 1, 2013

App Review: Class Dojo

Class Dojo has been around for awhile. Many teachers I've worked with over the last year have used it for various purposes. If you are new to Class Dojo, it's essentially a program that allows you to track progress, behavior, participation, etc, through a points system. Class Dojo is web-based, so you can access your account from anywhere. Here's how to get started.

Visit Class Dojo's website or app. You'll need to create your account first. Remember to write down your password. Once you have your account created, you can go in and add classes and assign students to each class. Unique avatars can be added to the students to add a bit of flavor. Finally, you need to customize the behaviors you would like to monitor. You can add positives (hard work, on-task, participation) and negatives (talking, off-task, unprepared). I'll have more thoughts about this piece later.

Time to start class. Open up your class on your iPad and you'll see all your students and their avatars. All you have to do is choose a student and select the behavior. If it's a positive, a green number will appear. If it's a negative, then it's red. Simple as that.

Now some thoughts on how to use it. Teachers will find different uses based on grade level and content area. On a surface level, you could use it for monitoring behavior. However, there is no need to include negatives if you don't want them. Focus on the positives. Or you can use it to identify great questions, clarifying responses, connections, or predictions. And the age of the students doesn't matter. I've heard from high school teachers who use Class Dojo for their socrative seminars and kindergarten teachers who use it to monitor center time.

Display is another thing to consider. I've heard from teachers who have their Class Dojo displayed on the SmartBoard for students to view. You can be logged in to the iPad app and have the web version displayed through the projector. When you add/subtract points on the iPad, it changes on the computer as well. But displaying the Dojo is another personal decision that would depend on the purpose. Personally, I wouldn't display it if I was monitoring behavior. I don't see the need for that. But if we were focusing on discussion skills, then I think it would make sense. 

Finally, there are some great options for sharing the class data. From the web version, you can enter parent email addresses alongside the students. Class Dojo sends the parent a request to join the class. A login is created by the parent so he or she can view the child's report at any time. It also shows a breakdown, not just a number total. So you can see that Billy had 5 points for questions, 2 for hard work, but lost 1 for being unprepared. Great job, Billy. We all have ups and downs.  

Overall, the app is easy to use and has some great potential when matched to your teaching goals. Try it out for awhile and then determine if you want to open it up to parents. It's always easy to add access instead of taking it away. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Matt - Kalen from ClassDojo here. Thank you so much for the great post - our entire team here appreciates your support.

    I think you'd be an amazing guess blogger on our new ClassDojo stories page. We get thousands of teachers asking for strong examples of how they can use ClassDojo to enhance their classroom and I love what you wrote about using the site to "identify great questions, clarifying responses, connections, or predictions."

    Let me know if you're interested and we can take it from there. My email is :)

    Thanks again!