Many educators have felt that more should be done with mobile apps to make classrooms more conducive to learning and give students tools that encourage them to study hard. One app that’s becoming a platform for doing just that is ClassDojo, developed by two UK grad students and growing quickly in popularity across the US, the UK and other countries. The reason for this is that the app is free to download and simple to use, and teachers don’t have to get their administrator’s permission to use it. ClassDojo was originally intended to be a simple behavior reward app, but it’s become a full social media and communication app for teachers and parents.
ClassDojo began in 2011 and has spread to many schools simply through word-of-mouth. Its interface has evolved to something similar to Facebook, but the developers have gone to great lengths to add privacy features and security layers to protect user identities. Teachers can post photos or approve of student photos taken during the day and let them be shown on the student stories page. Parents can then see those photos throughout the day and mention classroom activities to their children later in the day. The communication between parents and teachers has increased enough that many schools have been able to do away with parent-teacher meetings.
ClassDojo started out small, but many investors have taken an interest in the app and to date it has received over $30 million in venture capital. The savings on marketing costs have allowed its developers to focus in on other areas such as producing student growth videos, a complimentary series to the other features of the app. All of ClassDojo’s features are completely free to use at the moment, but they plan to add optional premium content for teachers that want more from the app.