I know classroom management kung fu
Have you ever had a student who disrupts your class and you just want to walk over and karate chop them right in the face? Well Class Dojo won’t be able to help you with that. What it will help you with is tracking in-class behavior (both good and bad) and a way to give that feedback in a handsome looking report. Class Dojo is free for the time being (hooray) and is very easy to use (hooray again), but I have some issues with the software (at least the way they want us to use it) and while I’m still recommending it, I do have some thoughts on the matter. Read on past the break to see if your classroom management kung fu can be improved with Class Dojo.
Class Dojo is currently in its beta version and is free. They mention that it may not be free when it gets out of beta, but that is something that we will see in the future.
Getting started is a snap. Like most web services it requires an email address, a unique user name and password. There is no verification email to click on or anything which means you give the information they want and you’re off and using the program. Take a peek at the picture below.
Once you sign up, it immediately tries to get you going by either walking you through a tutorial with a sample class or by creating your own. They claim it will take 2 minutes, but I feel like it is even faster. Take a look at that welcome below. Isn’t that just warm and inviting?
Creating a Class
As the arrow might suggest all you have to do to create a class is to click on Add a class. A new window will appear asking you the Grade level you are working with and to name the class. When done with this step click Done and it is time to add our students to the class. Trust me, we’re already almost done. It’s that simple!
Another new window will open up asking you to add their names. What’s nice about this window is you can add your entire class in one window. Just be sure to put each name on its own line. When you’re done click on Add these students. Don’t worry if you make a mistake you can always go back and edit them, delete or add a new student.
Now that we’ve named our class and added our students it is time to customize the behaviors we want to track. It gives you 10 initial behaviors but you can add more or even delete them. You can also customize them as well. For example you can get read of Great insight and replace it with Wonderful Patience. It’s totally up to you. I have no idea if there is a limit to how many positive and negative comments you can have, but it pretty clear that too many will make this program a bit of a hinderance. Keeping them non specific and general is a good bit of advice.
There is another step for Rewards but it was not available at the time. They promise it is coming though.
Using Class Dojo
Now is the moment of truth. Time to implement and use Class Dojo. It will take you back to your classes screen. Select your class and click on Start Class. Now you will see your class and all you have to do now is to select their name and give them a “award” for a positive or negative behavior. Here I selected Joan Baez’s name. Then a pop up window will appear where I can chose between positive and negative
If you a assign a positive award, you will hear a pleasant chime and a green badge will appear on the student’s icon. If it’s a negative award, you hear a buzzer sound and a red badge appears. Check out the class after a slew of awards have been given.
When class is over or when you’re done with the class you click on End Class and Class Dojo will take you to a very attractive looking chart that beaks down the type of behavior you had in your class that day. You can also click on individual students to see how they were behaving in your class. This is very nice but Class Dojo takes it another step further. You have the ability to save that report as a PDF or email it (from Class Dojo mind you no need to open up your favorite email client) to any email address you want. This is handy. You can also show the results over a range of time.
What I like
There are a lot of things I like about this service. I like how easy it is to get started and use. I know of plenty of teachers that abandon services because they get stuck and don’t know what to do. Here will not be the case. It is super simple from sign up to emailing reports. I also like how focused it is. This isn’t a service that does everything. It does one thing and does it well.
I also like how attractive it is. The icons, the sounds, the easy to navigate interface is also nice. I don’t why, but educational software can be pretty damn ugly. That is why Edmodo, Class Dojo, and Tiki-Toki are sooo nice to use since they are easy on the eyes.
These things add up to a winner web service.
Class Dojo encourages you to put this up on your projector or interactive board and let kids see it when they receive awards. Hmmmmmm. Ladies and gents, let’s boil this down. Putting it up on the screen is a lousy idea. Sorry people at Class Dojo but it is. This is simply a form of extrinsic motivation. The idea is to condition students to identify what behavior is accepted and what is not. The bad thing about this is students will behave to get those pleasant green badges and chimes, but if this goes away, so will the good behavior. There are plenty of research out there to back this up.
While I like a lot of things about Class Dojo, I think putting it up on a white board is a big time mistake.
I recommend it. You can can still use it to track students without putting it up for the world to see. This would be perfect to keep an eye on students who may be struggling with their behavior to look at trends. The results can be emailed to concerned parents or guidance counselors as well. I believe that Class Dojo shouldn’t be your only tool when it comes to classroom management and face-to-face feedback is still a more effective way to manage a student’s behavior, but this is definitely something that can be used for observational evidence.
Try Class Dojo now while it’s still free!