ClassDojo, founded by Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don, has recently announced that they have received $1.6M in seed funding for their education startup. The founders set out to solve the most common problem teachers face in the classroom. After asking hundreds of teachers about their issues in the classroom, feedback suggested that teachers felt like they were playing cop rather than teaching, so Sam and Liam decided to help teachers manage student behavior.
ClassDojo describes themselves as behavioral management software that tracks student’s positive and negative actions with a “+/- 1” system. Each student has an avatar and is represented on a projected classroom leaderboard, indicating their current progress for the day. While the hope is that it sparks healthy competition, critics are saying otherwise.
A lot of psychology research points towards the fact that external rewards stunt creativity and are counterproductive to intrinsic motivation. Critics are worried that an electronic gold star system is not the solution to behavioral management in the classroom. However, there are advocates who believe today’s students live around games and apps with statistical points and leaderboards and having a taste of this kind of gamification is helpful and even necessary.
Whichever side of the argument you are on, it should be noted that behavioral management in the classroom is a much-needed topic for discussion. In under 11 months, ClassDojo reached the 3.5 million user mark, allowing them to collect a cornucopia of behavioral data. This amount of data collected in such a short time will be helping all education institutions in answering the important question of “What is the best way to implement gamification to influence classroom behavior?” It seems that most educational tech firms are all striving to help solve this question, and ClassDojo’s collection of data from their explosive growth is definitely shedding some insight for an answer.
ClassDojo was able to reach the 3.5 million-user mark in over 30 countries through simple word of mouth. It seems teachers are very willing to implement technology in the classroom and ClassDojo’s easy implementation gave Sam and Liam’s startup positive reviews on teacher’s forums. What’s impressive is that ClassDojo’s nationwide poll of its users reported a 45-to-90 percent increase in positive behavior and a 50-to-85 percent decrease in mischevious behavior.
ClassDojo requires a teacher to have a computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet connection and a projector if they want to create a public leader board. Currently, their product is free and in beta testing. To learn more about ClassDojo, visit their website.