Is Class Dojo Simply More Work for Teachers?

By Roxy FavrettoLast Updated September 10, 2020
Photo Courtesy: ClassDojo.com

ClassDojo is a digital application that educators can use to encourage positive behavior and improved education outcomes for students. The main premise of the app is to facilitate more direct communication between educators and parents via a system they can use to directly message one another. Teachers can also use ClassDojo to send parents photos of students and reports about their behavior and performance in the classroom. 

ClassDojo is advertised as an effective means of changing kids' behavior at school. Students can sign up for their own ClassDojo accounts and create their own digital portfolios where educators can leave rated "Dojo Points" based on classroom behavior. It sounds like an innovative way to keep parents and teachers informed. But, is the app creating more work for everyone using it? Learn more about ClassDojo, along with what both parents and educators have had to say about it, to better understand its benefits and potential disadvantages.

How Does ClassDojo Work?

If your child’s school or teacher uses ClassDojo, at the beginning of the year you'll receive instructions on how to download the app, sign up for an account and log in. Teachers can choose a variety of core values they want to reinforce in their classrooms and can customize each period with different skills they want individual classes to learn. Some of these values include helping others, staying on task, participating, persevering, engaging in teamwork and working hard.

Photo Courtesy: ClassDojo/YouTube

Educators can also determine skills and values individual students may need work on. These "needs work" values include disrespecting others, not turning in homework, getting off task, talking out of turn and being unprepared.Teachers can adjust these settings to reflect the needs of different grade levels and abilities, but these are the standard "values" ClassDojo is set to focus on.

Each student creates their own profile in the app, called a digital portfolio, that's connected to the participating classroom. During class, teachers assign students "Dojo Points" based on their behavior. If a child does well in one of the core values, they receive one positive Dojo Point. If they talk out of turn or are off task, they receive a negative Dojo Point. Parents can review this information in the app to see feedback about their children's performance and theoretically learn more about their kids' behavioral needs.

What Do Educators Think of ClassDojo?

According to reviews posted on Capterra, a website that helps businesses and others find ideal software programs for various needs, a number of educators and teachers praised ClassDojo and did not indicate that they felt it was causing them "more work." For teachers who are used to using online or electronic formats for class, ClassDojo is intuitive to use and an easy, organized way of tracking behavior patterns. Reviewers noted that it simplifies the process of rewarding good behaviors and provides incentives kids find motivating.

Photo Courtesy: ClassDojo/YouTube

Teachers also found it was an easier way to communicate between school and home if there was a behavioral problem within the classroom. Many teachers using education technology website EdSurge said they used ClassDojo every day and rated it five out of five stars.

On the flip side, some educators reviewing the app noted that it's not very effective for helping students in junior high and high school classes. They found that the process of using the app to actually award Dojo Points in real time wasn't as fast as they would've liked, which isn't necessarily an indication that the app creates more work but that it takes up extra time. Some educators also didn't like that parents treated the in-app messaging as a substitute for in-person communication.

What Do Parents Think of ClassDojo?

In Capterra reviews, parents didn't seem as fond of ClassDojo as educators. Some parents pointed out that their children received too many negative Dojo Points and not enough positive ones, arguing that this negative reinforcement is not always the best way to reinforce a change in behavior. Also, parents are not always fond of being taxed with downloading yet another app or program at back-to-school time and having to learn how to use it.

Photo Courtesy: ClassDojo/YouTube

In homes without steady internet access, parents could easily miss out on information teachers communicate via the app but neglect to mention in person. Some reviewers were also concerned that teachers were spending more class time adding information to ClassDojo when they should've been focused on working with the kids face to face.

For parents of elementary and preschool children, ClassDojo may be more work for the parents than for the teachers, who may have an existing level of familiarity with digital education tools like this one. Also, there are privacy concerns with ClassDojo. While the developers say that children’s information is not being used, Common Sense Education did point out some privacy concerns, saying that users can freely interact with other unrestricted users (meaning that children may potentially chat freely with others), and that personally identifiable information is collected and often uploaded, which does cause privacy concerns. While this may be safe, it makes some parents feel uneasy.

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