I have been using Class Dojo since 2013. I like it for a number of reasons, but my favorite part is the student input and opportunities. In the past, I have only let students get on their accounts at home. This limited many of my students who do not have internet access at home, but the only thing students could do in the past was change their avatar, which I did not think was an effective use of instructional time.
However, last year was the first year for the class story and school story feature on Class Dojo. I used the class story very minimally last year and only used it only for parents to see pictures of what we were doing in class. Example:
Parents and students can “like” or comment on the pictures that are posted on our class story. It reminds me a lot of Instagram, but I like that it is secure and private for my students in my classroom.
There is also a student story feature which seems to be a work in progress. Right now, this feature can only be used on iPads. We have one iPad in my classroom that I let my students use during our literacy centers. We also have iPods that can be checked out from the computer lab. Orange County Schools has a 1-to-1 technology program which provides K-2 classrooms with iPads and 3-12 classrooms with Chromebooks.
The school story feature allows you to post pictures for anyone who is connected to the school to see. This includes teachers and parents who have set up accounts. Right now, my school only has 9 teachers using Class Dojo out of a staff of 75. I would love to lead some professional development on how to use Class Dojo in the classroom, especially after this project.
This year, I am going to let my students set up their accounts at school. This will allow them to social network with their classmates. In the past, I have used Padlet or google docs to have students collaborate online. However, Class Dojo will give them a more authentic experience to social networking.
I plan to use this tool across disciplines to allow students to respond to my questions, prompts, and pictures. I like that parents can also see the class story, comments, and can be a part of our dialogue. For example, I can post a question about our mentor text, Charlotte’s Web, and students can engage and respond to each other. I also hope that students will have the ability to post thoughts and ideas on their own stories as they learn new things and make new connections.
In our writing course this semester, we have discussed and participated in journaling, which has really made me want to find more time to journal in my classroom. I think this may be a great space to do some shared journaling! I can post a prompt and students can respond and read their peers’ responses.
I think I will have to teach my students how to respond to comments and network with each other on a common thread. This will be a great opportunity for my students to practice accountable talk, which my school is implementing in kindergarten through fifth grade this year. For example, students can make comments that include accountable talk such as:
“I agree with what Harry said because…”
“I would like to add to what Margaret said…”
Communication and collaboration on Class Dojo will be mostly be focused on learning HOW to social network. We will learn within our own community, and maybe with more experience we will move on to collaborating on other social networks!