Apps in Action: Using ClassDojo to Encourage Positive Student Behaviour

ClassDojo is a behaviour management tool which focuses on encouraging positive behaviour in the classroom by giving students instant feedback and has the ability to reach all by recognising any skill or strength they possess. Furthermore, it is possible to engage parents who can monitor their child’s behaviour record and encourages students to reflect on their own behaviours through the use of reports which are available to them. In addition, all of the features in ClassDojo are completely FREE!

Getting Started
Before you start using ClassDojo, you must sign up for a free Teacher account. It’ll prompt you to do this the first time you open the app, or alternatively you can do this online. Once you have done this, you will be presented with a screen like this:
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Here you will see the option to Join your School, which is a useful features which enables you to connect and collaborate with other teachers using ClassDojo in your school.

Next, you will want to start adding your classes. To do that simply tap Add a new class. Now give your class a name, select the grade/year and change the symbol if you wish, then click Create. To complete the step, you’ll need to add your students to each class: just tap Add students and enter their name. If you plan on adding multiple classes to ClassDojo, it may be easier to do this online as it can take a long time typing in each name in the app. Luckily, ClassDojo have created a video explaining how to do this:

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Once you have created your classes, you’re pretty much ready to go. At the bottom of the class screen, you will see 4 functions:

– Attendance – does exactly as you would think, records the attendance of each student.
– Select – allows you to select students and give them feedback, either Positive or Needs Work.
– Photo – allows you to take a photo which can be shared with students or parents/carers of students in that class.
– Random – randomly selects a student from the class.

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In ClassDojo, it is possible to add new behaviours and remove existing ones. To do this, when in a class, tap the Settings icon and select Edit behaviours. From here you can either Add a new behaviour by pressing the banner at the top and assigning the new behaviour a name and an icon. The app will determine whether the behaviour is positive or negative based on the icon you choose, so bear that in mind when making your choice. To edit or delete an existing behaviour, click the icon that looks like a compass near each behaviour and edit the necessary details or choose Delete. It’s worth noting that behaviour are only added or edited for individual classes, however it is possible to import behaviours from another class online:

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You can also view the profile of an individual student by clicking on the students name and choosing the profile banner at the base of the window. This enables you to see what each student has received and lost Dojo points for. Tapping the individual sections of the chart states what the behaviour is. By clicking the calendar icon in the top right corner, you can even select a time interval which will only display the behaviours for that set time. It is even possible to view a whole class profile by selecting Whole class rather than an individual pupil.

Ideas for using ClassDojo
As ClassDojo is a classroom management tool, it is inevitable that each teacher will use the app differently to anyone else. There is no right or wrong way to use the ClassDojo. However here are just some of the ways I’ve been using it in my classroom:

– Staying positive – ClassDojo makes positive reinforcement easy. If for example I ask learners to stop what they are doing and to listen, I will start awarding points to those who are doing as I ask straight away rather than assigning negatives to those who are still talking. As it feeds back to students in real time, they soon realise what’s happening even without me having to say a word.

– Randomiser – the random student selector is a great AfL tool for those who use the no hands up rule as advocated by Dylan William. It keeps students on their toes, ensures all are involved and sure beats carrying around a pot of lollipop sticks!

– Parents evenings – assuming you use ClassDojo regularly and consistently, the individual student profiles are effective when talking to parents/carers at parents evenings. If a student is very well behaved but occasionally forgets to bring their homework, having that data in front of you to back you up can prove effective.

– Rewards systems – accumulating Dojo points is great but students soon realise, particularly as they get older, that they are just numbers on a screen. As a result, I think it’s important that they amount to something tangible. One method I’ve started to use is using it as a raffle system whereby students get one entry for every positive behaviour. This means that it includes everyone, not just the best behaved, however those who receive the most points generally have a better chance of winning. I tend to run these at the end of the half term based on the positive behaviours students accumulated within that time period, however there is no reason why it couldn’t be done each week or two for example, perhaps with a smaller prize.

Conclusion
ClassDojo is a great tool for engaging learners and encouraging positive behaviour in the classroom. The app is a doddle to use and includes a range of features, like the randomiser, which go beyond just aiding classroom management. It is highly engaging, particularly for younger students: I imagine it is a huge hit in Primary schools! However, even for older students, whilst the avatars may not necessarily bother them, the potential rewards and data gathering still make it useful from a teachers perspective. There are a couple of features, like the inclusion of seating plans which would enhance ClassDojo further, although my main gripe with the ClassDojo app is the initial setup using an iPad: it’s just too laborious! I teach 10 classes, which is approximately 300 students and entering all of that data is time consuming. By implementing a couple of features from the website, like the ability to import a list of students in bulk and to copy behaviours from other classes, the experience when using the app would be far better! Nevertheless, once you’ve overcome that stage, the app is extremely useful and I would encourage anyone to give it a try with your classes.

NB: if you’re based in Europe, on Twitter and would like to find out more about using ClassDojo, join in with #DojoChatEU – every Wednesday at 20:30.

mzl.vgebyjbcClassDojo by Class Twist Inc is available for free on the App Store.

*all prices and links correct at the time of publication and are subject to change

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