ClassDojo Disrupts the PTA

 

Until recently, school was an important part of the lives of students that, for the most part, did not include parents. Parents might drop their kids off at school and pick them up. A few parents might serve as monitors and helpers. Once a month or so, there was the traditional meeting of the PTA, and parents could meet with teachers then. However, they were otherwise excluded from their children’s day-to-day experiences in the classroom. ClassDojo changes that.

The mobile application ClassDojo is a communication platform that connects students, teachers and parents. During the school day it helps keep parents up to date on their child’s activities, academic or social. This might include pictures, instant messages, announcements and videos. It can translate into 35 languages.

When Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don co-founded ClassDojo in 2011, other applications were focusing on strictly educational approaches. Now their app is being used by teachers in over 85,000 schools in the United States, and by teachers in 180 more countries. That includes publlic and private and charter schools, usually from kindergarten to the 8th grade. The app helps to create a positive culture within school classrooms. With the parents knowing what is going on during school hours, that evening they can ask specific questions of their children, to help them deal with issues.

Although ClassDojo has yet to make any money, they have raised a total of $31 million in venture capital. They raised $21 million late in 2015 in a series B round. They are using this money to expand their team. Teachers receive ClassDojo free. It works on any iOS device, Android, Kindle Fire and all computers.

ClassDojo has partnered with Stanford University’s Project for Education Research That Scales center to produced five video animations on growth mindset. The videos will contain the ClassDojo characters students are already familiar with.

Growth mindset comes from research showing that when students are taught their brains are able to develop and grow, expanding their capacity to learn, they accept learning as a challenge. Teachers want to use this research to encourage their students, but don’t have established procedures for making growth mindset an intrinsic part of their classroom teaching. The aim of the five ClassDojo videos will be to serve as a resource to help those teachers while encouraging the students.

 

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