I wish the ClassDojo app had been around when I was in elementary, middle and high school. Back then, about the only feedback I ever got from my teachers was about my lousy handwriting or that I “wasn’t working up to my potential.” OK, I admit it. Even though I wound up eventually earning a doctorate in education, my first 12 years of schooling were less than stellar.
The reason I would have liked that app is because it is designed to help teachers “give real-time, positive feedback to students,” something I could have used, whether by app or by kind words.
The app, which augments a service that’s already used by teachers in more than 50 percent of U.S. schools, according to the company, is designed to help teachers encourage students to develop critical skills, come up with creative ideas and work in teams by providing positive feedback when students do well. It’s not, according to ClassDojo CEO Sam Chaudhary, about pummeling kids with negative feedback, but helping to reinforce positive social and educational norms.
In an interview, Chaudhary said that the service “helps connect teaches, parents and students to build strong relationships with each other. He added that the service helps build “the soft skills students need for success like persistence, curiosity and teamwork,” things that he said are not typically addressed systematically at school.
The service started on the Web in 2011 but now more than half of its users are using mobile devices — a trend that is affecting many sites and services. The company has apps for both iOS and Android.
Chaudhary calls the new app “the biggest update yet” and said that it consists of a single app for students, teachers and parents. He said it helps teachers “encourage students in the classroom and then engage with parents as well.” When a teacher uses the app to provide student feedback, it’s shared with both the student and the parent.
The newly updated app gives teachers a “view of their students and parents,” while parents are kept abreast of the child’s progress. Teachers and parents can use the app to securely message each other, according to Chaudhary. The app also allows teachers and parents to exchange photos, voice messages and “ClassDojo-branded stickers.” and teachers can provide feedback or share photos directly through each student or parent profile.
The company says that the service has already given students more than 2 billion pieces of encouragement “for important strengths and skills.”
I’m afraid ClassDojo got here much too late to help me in my formal education but maybe I can convince Chaudhary and his colleagues to launch a sequel called “LifeDojo.” We can all use a bit of encouragement.
This post first appeared in the Daily News and on the Mercury News website.