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Can The Class Dojo Android App for Teachers Get Your Class Into Shape?

App Name:  Class Dojo

Link:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.classdojo.android

Cost:  Free for teachers, parents, and students

 

The Basics: 

 

Class Dojo is an app that you can use on your SmartPhone, Tablet, or your computer.  It allows teachers to quickly give or deduct “dojo points” for student behavior.  Both parents and teachers have a login and are able to see a timeline of the student’s behavior.  Teachers can also share pictures and posts within the app so that parents and students can see what is happening at school.

 

The Good: 

At first glance, I thought that Class Dojo seems awesome.

Everything is private.  Only the invited students and parents will be able to log in and see the information, including the class pictures and posts.  So, you don’t have to worry about whether your child has given permission for pictures to be posted online, unless your school has any kind of issues with other parents from your class seeing them posted online.

Student can log in to customize their own avatars and they are notified when their classmates update theirs.  Parents and teachers can send messages back and forth at any time within the app.

Teachers are able to click an individual student to assign positive or negative points.  Or, teachers may click the “Class” icon to assign points to everyone at once.  There is also an option to create groups of students.  These could be table groups, reading groups, or anything you can think of.  Then, points can be assigned to the entire group at once.  Tasia from the Great Minds Teach Alike blog makes an interesting observation about how the groups can be used with teachers who are sharing the same class on Class Dojo.

Class Dojo also has an attendance feature, which Matt Hurst illustrates in his post at the Mull Over Things blog.  Instead of doing attendance himself in the app, he uses Class Dojo on the SmartBoard to allow students to mark themselves present.  One interesting thing about his method is that he has them do this only after they have finished the bellwork, so that he can look at the SmartBoard and instantly see who is not finished.

A Frugal Teacher mentions the portability of the app.  While old behavior charts and sticker charts were left in the classroom, Class Dojo can be taken on your phone or tablet anywhere your class goes.  This means you can award points while walking through the halls, or even while on a field trip.

Class Dojo also provides a concrete and ongoing documentation, if it may be needed with parents or administrators.

The Bad: 

Alesha Bishop from Getting Smart raises a question about other students being able to see each student’s points.  Is this a good thing or not?  It’s no different from the behavior charts on the wall; however, some teachers are moving away from those methods.  If there is a way to turn off the ability for everyone to see everyone, I haven’t been able to find it, yet.

Class Dojo is compared to a taser by Karen Langdon at Teaching Ace.  Karen mentions the differences between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and whether the extrinsic actually works with students.  Again, this is no different from behavior charts on the wall; however Karen also includes several links from other education bloggers about why they are abandoning behavior charts on the walls.

 

My Take:

As an app, I think Class Dojo is great.  It has a lot of useful features to add functionality to your classroom, including not only the behavior, but also the attendance and random student generator.  To determine whether the app is for you and your class, you would need to consider your opinion on behavior or clip charts.  If you, your school system, your administrators, or your parents disagree with behavior charts, this app might not be the way to go.

 

Your Take:

So, what’s your take?  Have you used Class Dojo?  What do you think about it?  Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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