What is ClassDojo?
ClassDojo is an online interactive platform, that teachers can use to encourage positive behaviours in the classroom. Teachers can set up student profiles, where they can award students points when they demonstrate good classroom conduct (such as teamwork, helping others, participation) and can deduct points for poor behaviour. ClassDojo does suggest some ideas for what to give points for, but teachers are also able to set up their own skills to award points for, meaning that they can be tailored to fit teacher expectations.
Involving parents in their child’s learning is important. This makes ClassDojo effective, as it creates a classroom culture that families can be part of. ClassDojo allows parents to not only see school stories that provide news from the whole school, but also class stories depicting what their child’s class is currently working on. Parents also receive updates when their child receives Dojo points and can see photos and journals entries relevant to their child.
In addition to the above, ClassDojo offers a messaging service, which allows teachers to easily contact individual parents or parents from a whole class, a service which is useful when teachers want to remind parents of upcoming class trips, for example.
Finally, ClassDojo features ClassDojo Big Ideas, a series of videos and interactive activities that teachers can share with their students in class that offer a more entertaining way to develop behaviours and habits such as growth mindset, perseverance, empathy, gratitude and mindfulness. The series aims to encourage students to think differently and contains questions to promote discussion in class, as well as offering suggestions to parents for follow up conversations to instigate at home based on the content.
Why use ClassDojo?
ClassDojo can be used to encourage changes in student behaviour, through the use of incentives and creating a positive classroom environment. Research has shown that hard work is contagious, such that if the person next to you is working hard, you too are encouraged to work harder. Therefore, if teachers are able to use Dojo points to incentivise some of their students to work hard, others should follow suit and work harder as well.
ClassDojo also offers parents a way of keeping up to date with classroom activities, meaning that they are better placed to offer more specific guidance and support. Parental engagement and having a team around them can be essential for students, as this can help them to overcome setbacks, deal with stress and improve their resilience. Furthermore, if parents are aware of the important concepts that their child is learning about at school, they can instigate helpful discussions about them at home.
Who is ClassDojo for?
ClassDojo is aimed at primary school teachers, parents and students. The platform could be used with older children, although some of the concepts may be too young, with Dojo points being less motivating for these students.
Although, no large-scale research has been conducted, smaller dissertations have shown ClassDojo’s potential to create positive behaviour changes. For example, researchers at St. Mary’s College of Maryland found that using ClassDojo encouraged an increase in student’s positive and self-regulatory behaviours, whilst negative behaviours decreased. Similarly, research conducted at St. Catherine University showed that the implementation of ClassDojo led to a reduction in the number of students who required plans to correct their behaviour.
ClassDojo can be used to teach children about concepts such as growth mindset and gratitude. Growth mindset has been associated with better student grades (mainly for struggling students) and improved mental health.Similarly, using activities to demonstrate the importance of gratitude can reduce impatience, and lead to improvements in student well-being and their relationships with others. Therefore, the concepts ClassDojo promotes have a sound scientific basis and recent research support their use.
In order to use ClassDojo neither teachers, students nor parents need any specific training, making it an easy platform to implement in schools. Whilst ClassDojo does require to be accessed through certain devices, there is a variety to choose from, making it likely that people will have at least one available. ClassDojo is accessible via their website an app available on iOS, Android and Kindle Fire. Having an app makes it usable on the go, hence a lot more accessible.
ClassDojo also allows for parents whose first language is not English to be involved in the school community and be kept informed, as it is able to translate text into over 35 different languages.
However, setting up ClassDojo is time consuming for teachers. It is necessary to register all the students from each of their classes and either give out parent codes or gather parent emails or mobile numbers. Questions have also been raised as to whether having to constantly input data into the platform (for example rewarding Dojo points to students throughout the lesson) reduces the quality of the lesson’s delivery as well as limiting the time available to help and interact with students face to face.
ClassDojo offers a fun and interactive way to implement change in the classroom and encourage students to display more positive behaviours. Giving each child their own ClassDojo account so that they can receive personalised feedback is useful, as it allows students to work with their parents to make positive changes.
However, offering children Dojo points for positive behaviours can create a reliance and a culture in which children only display the desired behaviours in return for a reward.
Dojo points can also create unhealthy competition, whereby students and parents use them as a way of comparing their child to others. This not only creates a hostile environment, but can also increase a child’s level of narcissism. Furthermore, children who are not as prominent in the class may be noticed less and hence receive fewer Dojo points than their more dominant peers. Receiving fewer Dojo points than their peers could be disheartening for such children who believe they are trying just as hard and knock their self-confidence, which may be lacking already.
Value for money
Once teachers have signed up and created the relevant classes, teachers, parents and students can access the platform for free. This can be achieved either by downloading the ClassDojo app or by logging in via the website. They also offer a monthly subscription version.
- Scientific basis – research has shown that using ClassDojo increases the number of positive and self-regulatory behaviours students demonstrate, whilst also causing a decline in the number of negative behaviours displayed.
- Easy to use – teachers, students and parents don’t need any special skills or training to use the platform.
- Can be used on the go – having an app available to iOS, Android and Kindle Fire users means that parents can remain informed about their child’s schooling activities wherever they are.
- Teaches important concepts – the Big Ideas videos and activities teach children about concepts such as growth mindset, perseverance, empathy, gratitude and mindfulness.
- Parental inclusion – ClassDojo allows parents to be more involved in their child’s education. Parents can access their child’s work via the portfolio option, allowing them to better support their child and build on the concepts taught at school in their home.
- Accessible – text written on the platform can be translated into over 35 different languages.
- Time consuming – it takes time for teachers to set up ClassDojo for each of their separate classes. Teachers also have to spend time inputting the different Dojo points they award, which can deplete the amount of face to face interaction they have with their class.
- Potential for unhealthy competition – the points system gives students a direct way of comparing themselves to others, which can lower self-confidence.
- Lack of context provided – when students are awarded or deducted points, parents don’t know the context of this i.e. they don’t know whether the whole class or just their child has gained or lost points.
Overall, ClassDojo seems to be effective way for teachers to improve student behaviour within the classroom, whilst also allowing parents to stay informed and track their child’s progress. The videos and their associated activities provide a fun and effective way to demonstrate important concepts. However, it is important that teachers still recognise the importance of face to face interactions and ensure that ClassDojo does not become the only form of feedback students receive.
Alternatives to ClassDojo
LiveSchool – a platform that allows students, parents and teachers to track school behaviour. Unlike ClassDojo, LiveSchool allows teachers to see student’s behaviour scores across their classes and lets students exchange behaviour points for tangible school rewards. However, LiveSchool does charge a subscription fee.
GO 4 Schools – a platform that helps teachers, students and parents improve school performance. GO 4 Schools gives access to attendance statistics, behaviour summaries and details, and homework summaries and details.
If teachers, students or parents are looking for further information on the concepts from the Big Ideas series (growth mindset, perseverance, empathy, gratitude and mindfulness) then our blogs are a good place to start: