Classrooms all over the US, the UK and other countries are raving about an app that has been one of the most effective in changing entire elementary school cultures. This app is ClassDojo, an interactive app with a sort of social media interface that is keeping parents and teachers in close collaboration with student activities. ClassDojo actually started out as simply a way to reward good student behavior in the class, but it has grown way beyond that to now becoming a total communication platform and something that over 85,000 schools are bringing in.
Liam Don and Sam Chaudhary are the founders of this app, two graduate students from the UK who felt that classrooms were lacking in positive environments and motivating tools to help young children out. So they decided to talk to teachers at a conference in San Francisco to see if they could design an app to help them. After much deliberation, they created an app that had a points system as an incentive for students to exhibit good behavior in class. But Chaudhary and Don had other plans for this app, and soon they started a animated video series about students having to tackle learning challenges that would get children to think in different ways and stretch their minds.
The app soon was given a student stories section that allows students and teachers to post photos and status messages about class activities that parents can take a look at throughout the day. This has been so effective that many teachers no longer have to schedule parent-teacher meetings once a year. And parents can now be more closely involved in their children’s studies and prepare them for their next class period. Administrators can also be involved and can recommend the app for their teachers, though their teachers are not required to have administrator approval to download it.
ClassDojo has grown simply through word-of-mouth and has spent no money on advertising. They also have strong privacy protection policies and have stated they will not ever sell user data to data mining companies. Thus far ClassDojo has received about $31 million in venture capital funding, the latest coming from a large $21 million offering in 2015. ClassDojo will always keep their app usage and basic features free of charge, but they are working on adding optional extra features for small charges.