Nigel Lane teaches in St. Corban’s BNS, in Naas, Co. Kildare. He is very interested in technology and is a regular contributor on blogs and on Twitter. Earlier this year, he co-authored a book called “Diary of the Tweople“, a Twitter user’s diary for June 3rd 2011. He recently came across Class Dojo, a classroom management tool and readily agreed to do a review for Seomra Ranga.
I came across this classroom behaviour management tool thanks to one of the people I follow on Twitter, unfortunately I just can’t remember who. I was very impressed with how it looked and so I signed up straight away in order to see how it might work for me.
ClassDojo allows you to create a class and award each child points based on their behaviour. Most teachers maintain charts in their classrooms where they award points or stars for good behaviour, tidiness, hard work and so on. With ClassDojo, this can be done online in a very engaging and attractive way. Each child in your class is given an avatar and these are displayed whenever your class is in session. To award a point, you just click on the child’s name and choose the reason for giving them the point. This is one of the reasons I really like ClassDojo. Showing the children the ways in which points can be earned is an excellent reminder to them of how to behave in the classroom. And the list of criteria for awarding points is customisable. In fact, I allowed my class to suggest ways in which they should be allowed to earn points and they really enjoyed this. From my point of view, it gives them ownership of the class rules and it helps them take responsibility for their behaviour. In fact, this level of customisation means that you could create multiple classes for different subjects and award points in each for correct answers, good participation or any other reason you see fit. In this way, ClassDojo could become more than just a behaviour management tool.
Another excellent feature is the ability to download or email a .pdf document detailing the points that a child has earned over any period of time. If you were to use ClassDojo to run a monthly points chart, you could download these documents at the end of the month and keep them on file as a handy reference when it comes to meeting parents throughout the year. Negative points are also accounted for and again this is customisable, so you and your class could decide if there are any reasons why they might lose points.
With ClassDojo displayed on the whiteboard, the children can see how many points they have earned and when more points are awarded the total is updated in real time (so you don’t have to refresh the page to see the up to date totals). The drawback with this is that so far it has definitely been more of a distraction than a simple chart on a wall. However, I’m sure that my class will get used to it soon and won’t be distracted by the colourful, animated display.
A final handy feature is the ability to use a smartphone or iPad as a classroom remote. This allows you to award points as you move around the class observing the children at work. The main site, which you might leave displayed on the whiteboard, still updates in real time. There were a few gasps of amazement the first time I took out my iPad, wandered around the class and started awarding points! I haven’t yet used my phone to do this, but I imagine it would work just as well. You could of course achieve a similar effect by using a wireless keyboard and mouse, but an iPad or phone is easier to carry around your classroom.
I made a video to demonstrate how it works so you can have a look at that, or just head over to ClassDojo.com and sign up yourself!
Visit Class Dojo Here >>>>>
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Visit Nigel’s School Website Here >>>>>
Some changes have been made to Class Dojo in response to user feedback. Here’s what the developers say:
“In the last two weeks, we’ve had lots of requests for new features. We’ve also found there are a few things that everyone seems to want – so we built them: and they’re available now for you, for free! Let it never be said the ClassDojo team doesn’t listen this week, we’ve added four new features – see a video of how to use them here. Note: Liam made this video – there is a prize for making a better one.
Multiple points awards
Yes, you read that right: we’ve made it really easy to award points to multiple students – and even all your students – in one go. Say goodbye to wasting valuable class time clicking around. Log-in to ClassDojo to check it out now.
No more scrolling
Poor Billy. His cute little DojoMonster is stuck at the bottom half of the screen, and he only ever sees his score when you scroll down to it. Well, Billy’s going to be a lot happier now – we’ve made it really easy for you to re-size the boxes to fit on one screen, using our brand new ‘class settings’ panel.
Sound & notifications under control
Sometimes the sound of a point being awarded can be distracting. Other times, you don’t want to embarrass anyone with a negative notification popping up. We’ve made it really easy to control both of these: start a class, and check out our brand new in-class ‘class settings’ panel.
We know, we should’ve done this in the first place. You can now sort by either first or last name – again, check out the brand new in-class ‘class settings’ panel.”
The developers plan on continuing to make more changes in response to user feedback. So if you think that there is something you feel would make the tool better, they are very open to suggestions. Just contact them through the site.
Have just been told about class dojo and I have to say that both my class and I are absolutely loving it!! Thanks so much for making such a brilliant class resource!!
HI Lisa, I didn’t actually make the resource – it’s created by two US-based ex-teachers and it was brought to my attention by Nigel Lane, who wrote the Guest Post. I’ve been using it in my own class and it’s been having a very postive effect in improving behaviour.
It is very good at teaching kids