I enjoyed a really productive meeting of the Paulet teaching and learning group yesterday. I introduced everyone to Class Dojo which I have begun to experiment with this week. Usually I would spend a few weeks playing with something before I encourage others to use it. Class Dojo though is so good I just had to share it immediately.
What is it? It is described as a ‘realtime behaviour management system’ but it is much more than that. Essentially what it allows you to do is award ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ points to individual students in your class for a range of reasons. You can add extra categories to these reasons. The teacher can also link a smartphone or tablet device to the PC that is running class dojo and award points as they wander around the classroom. The scoreboard with avatars for each student can be displayed on the whiteboard and updates in realtime as you award each point.
You can find the site to register here: Class Dojo
I was going to put together a quick video guide on how to use it but then I found this guide on youtube which saved you from having to listen to my own voice:
I thought it would be helpful if I briefly explained how I have used Class Dojo so far.
I set up a class for 9E and changed every student to the same avatar. At the start of the lesson i explained to the class how the positive and negative points system worked. Ideally I would have used my iPhone or iPad to update the scores on the board remotely. However, there seems to be an issue with the school’s proxy server which prevents this feature from working. I am looking into ways around this. What this meant was that i was tied to my laptop in order to award points. It quickly became apparent that this would disrupt the normal flow of my lesson. However, I was lucky to have a teaching assistant in the lesson – I verbally awarded or deducted points, the teaching assistant jotted them down, then I updated the main scoreboard whenever I had the opportunity.
The students responded so well to the points system. I have never seen so many hands up and volunteers to read or hand out books. They were utterly focussed for the lesson with barely any negative points being awarded. The atmosphere was amazing. They were informed that the points would be kept from lesson to lesson and they were given the added incentive of being able to chose their own avatar when they achieve ten points (this seemed to be a huge motivation for most of them for some reason). It will be interesting to see over the coming weeks if the novelty factor wears off or whether I can tweak with the features and use their piecharts (showing spread of negative and positive points) to inspire them. The developers at Class Dojo are looking to enter a rewards section of the site which I presume offer ‘badges’ and extras for those students who achieve certain scores – this would add another level to the motivation for the younger students.
I have detailed the other way in which I have used it in my earlier post on the teaching and learning challenge.
While I am waiting for a fix to the mobile device problem I have decided to use a lightweight netbook for recording scores live – it works well and is nearly as portable as an iPad. The only other issue we now need to address is dealing with the conflict the application has with Internet Explorer 7 on the school curriculum machines. (Again, this is being looked into). I have my laptop as a standalone device which means that I can install all of the really useful applications that make my day-to-day teaching and organisation so much more productive (Dropbox and Google Chrome for example).
The future, I can see Class Dojo being used for a whole range of activities: behaviour management, rewards system, assessment, class activities such as debates and quizzes, parents evenings, mentoring, passing information to behaviour support and Heads of Year, peer assessment, target setting, form tutor discussions with students, linking with Moodle….
If you try it out, please revisit this page and add your comments below in the ‘share your thoughts’ section – it will be a really useful way of sharing your experiences with the Teaching and Learning Group.