Type of site
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California|
|Founder(s)||Sam Chaudhary |
ClassDojo is a classroom communication app used to share reports between parents and teachers. Teachers track student behavior and upload photos or videos. The gamification style system teaches developmental skills through real-time feedback. The application, which has been translated into 35 languages, has been used in 180 countries and by 90% of the school districts in the United States.
In August 2011, Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don moved to Palo Alto, California, from the United Kingdom to launch ClassDojo after the startup was accepted in the first cohort of ImagineK12, a Y-combinator program and funding for education startups. In September 2011 the company released a beta version of the platform. Within a year of launching, the platform had been used by 3.5 million teachers and students, in more than 30 countries. In August 2012, ClassDojo announced it had raised $1.6 million of main seed capital from Paul Graham, SV Angel, SoftTech VC, Mitch Kapor, Lerer Ventures, and General Catalyst Partners.
In February 2013, ClassDojo released its first app for the Android operating system. That same year, the company raised $8.5 million in a series A round of funding, and began offering the platform in native languages other than English. In 2014, ClassDojo added a messaging function to its platform, allowing teachers to communicate with parents as a group or directly. ClassDojo added Class Story, a digital content stream created by class teachers and accessible by parents in August 2015. In late 2015, the company raised $21 million in a series B round of funding led by General Catalyst Partners.
In January 2016, ClassDojo partnered with Stanford University's Project for Education Research That Scales (PERTS) lab, to release a five-part series of educational videos discussing growth mindset. In September 2016, it was reported that the series had been viewed by one of every four kids in American classrooms. That same year, the platform added School Story, the update enables school administration and teachers to share school-related content to all parents connected to the school, and Student Stories, a tool for students to manage their unique portfolios, interact with classmates and share their experiences with their parents. In October 2016, ClassDojo released a video series about empathy that it created in partnership with the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard Graduate School of Education. In May 2017, the company, in partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, released a mindfulness curriculum.
Features and tools
The platform allows students, teachers and parents to connect, support and develop student skills. To use the classroom communication program, teachers register to obtain a free account, and then create "classes" with their students. Students use the program initially with an access code (students can also log into their class on a tablet using a QR code generated by ClassDojo); after creating an account, the students can customize avatars, see classes and see individual progress. Parents can also access ClassDojo when they are invited by the teachers, and can visualize the progress of the child and the information shared by the teachers. Parents can only see their student's profile and the class story. Teachers can reward students with positive feedback in real time when they show good exertion in a task or activity in class. Teachers are also able to communicate directly with parents through the platform. Teachers also have the option to post to the school's story or ClassDojo page that can be viewed by anyone linked to the school.
The program is customizable, and the teachers can change the skills for which the students obtain feedback to adapt to the needs of the class or of the school. ClassDojo is available as a web application that can be used in any device with a web browser, and also with native applications for iPhone (iOS) and Android. The company plans to keep the main platform free for teachers. The founders say that it is because they want teachers, students and parents in all types of schools to use ClassDojo to encourage learning, skill development, and character-building.
ClassDojo is available as a web application that can be used on any device with a web browser, and also as a native application for iPhone and Android, with a website in HTML 5.2. The program can be viewed on any mobile device including Android, iOS, and other phones and tablets.
In 2011, ClassDojo received the Today Show's Education Innovation Award. The founders of the company were included on the Forbes "30 Under 30: Education" list in 2012. In 2013, Forbes recognized ClassDojo as one of the "100 Most Promising Companies of the United States". That same year, Fast Company included the company on its "10 Most Innovative Education Companies in the World" list. ClassDojo was awarded TechCrunch's Crunchie award for Best Education Startup and its founders were included on Inc.'s "30 Under 30" list in 2015. In 2016, Fast Company recognized the ClassDojo app as one of "The 35 Most Innovative Apps of the Year". In 2017, Inc. named ClassDojo one of the "25 Most Disruptive Companies" of the year.
In 2017, The London School of Economics, Parenting for a Digital Future , published a series of ethical, legal and mental health concerns related to the rapid growth of ClassDojo's use in the classroom. In the article, Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling, Ben Williamson and Alasdair Rutherford, write about the possible conflict that the ClassDojo Company could encounter as a private for-profit company collecting and storing sensitive student behavior data. They ask if parents are being fully informed about what the ClassDojo Company intends to do with the collected student data. Likewise, Williamson and Rutherford warn of a scenario where the ClassDojo Company could be sold for the data it collects and stores.
Williamson and Rutherford also explore the possible negative impact ClassDojo could impose on the classroom environment where they claim ClassDojo essentially acts as a classroom social media application where students face constant competition for teacher awarded ClassDojo behavior points. They question whether the classroom time teachers spend on data input could potentially reduce critical face-to-face interaction between teachers and students. They also warn of the possible negative impact the application can have on children's mental health potentially creating a distressed classroom climate where student behavior is individualized to dojo points discounting larger social and environmental influences on behavior.
Williamson and Rutherford write that they believe when considering the serious concerns of student data protection and mental health, it is time for teachers and parents to have a transparent conversation regarding use of ClassDojo in the classroom.
Cultural critic Grafton Tanner claims ClassDojo "teaches students to understand life as being inseparable from digital technology, and...normalizes both surveillance and the kind of isolating individualism that can cause mental illness."
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