ClassDojo is quite the hit in the education technology community because it’s doing things for classrooms that most wouldn’t consider an app of its simplistic structure able to do. It’s modeled after Facebook but is specifically designed to be classroom specific in its features and it’s become a big phenomena not only because it’s free, but also because it’s been spread through user reviews and word-of-mouth alone. The main features of the app are for posting photos of class activity and sending out the word of what will be happening in future class schedules. But it also has direct messaging that allows parents to get instant updates and teachers to talk with them directly.
While Facebook-style posts and instant messaging are at the top of ClassDojo’s platform today, it originated as a behavior reward system app that Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don founded back in 2010. They had gone directly to teachers themselves to ask them what could be done with an app to improve the flow of the classroom, and upon hearing their suggestions they used them to develop the early versions of ClassDojo. But the app soon evolved into the classroom social media and learning platform it is today because Chaudhary and Don heard more ideas about what it could become, and as the app added more meat to its structure, teachers and parents started using it as an alternative to the regular parent-teacher meetings from the past.
An additional feature that came to ClassDojo was a student growth video series that had animated characters learning how to study for subjects that they struggled in. Chaudhary and Don hoped that these videos would encourage students to persevere through tough subjects and grow and stretch their thinking. They also realized that with as much user data that was being stored on the ClassDojo servers, they needed to protect their users and make sure they knew they were thwarting hackers and not selling information to third parties. Due to spending no money at all on advertising, Chaudhary and Don’s team have been able to use all their capital for improving the user interface, and sometime in the future optional premium content will likely be added to the main app.