Can an app help teachers better manage class behavior?

Are star charts and pulling strips passé? Could a teacher manage classroom behavior better with an app?

A fourth-grade teacher wrote a review of a new behavior app called ClassDojo. Teachers can run if off their class computer, Smarboards or their smartphones. It helps track positive and negative points, can easily be sent to parents for behavior reports and can trend spot for problem days and times in the classrooms. Here’s more on the app.

From Edutopia:

“ClassDojo is simple to use. You set up a class, or classes. Each class has avatars assigned for each of your students. Once your class is set up, you have the ability to award points, affectionately known as “dojos” in my classroom, for positive or negative behavior. You can award individual or multiple students.

“The app comes with a list of behaviors, but you can create your own list. That’s what I did as the school year wore on (i.e. homework, contest winner, etc.). ClassDojo can be used with your interactive whiteboard, laptops, desktops or smart phones. Students get immediate feedback to their behavior by the distinctive sound made when their avatar is clicked. ….”

“ClassDojo automatically keeps track of the behavior in your classroom by tracking the behaviors that were clicked. You can set it up to create reports that are emailed to the parents. Parents can connect through printed or emailed invites. Once they connect, they receive an email every Friday reminding them to view their child’s reports. The parents of my students enjoy receiving the reports because it keeps them in the loop.”

The teacher can not only share data but look for trends in behavior – such as every Friday we have problems.

So I’m very interested in what our teachers on the blog think? Have you tried any type of app to track classroom behavior? Have you used this app? Would you try the ClassDojo? Do you think it would be easier to use than the star chart or to move a stick? Do you think the kids would be more responsive to the technology and having their own avatar? Would you like the ability to send reports and trend spot?

27 comments Add your comment

Parent

July 1st, 2013
6:05 am

If the behavior is REALLY bad, the DOJO spanks the student. Oh, wait…

irisheyes

July 1st, 2013
6:58 am

I used it for a while in my classroom. It was hard for me to use at first, because I don’t get a cell signal in my room, so the points didn’t always register. I’m not sure if I’m going to use it this year. Not all of my parents have a computer in their home, so they wouldn’t be able to check on it daily.

I did like that you could both take away points and add them if the student is making good choices. It really encouraged me to look for the students who were making the right choices.

FCM

July 1st, 2013
7:25 am

What would best help teachers with behavior in classrooms is smaller class sizes! Plus smaller class size has shown that more can be learned by the student and thus CRCT and other scores can get better.

I do not think teachers should be using this app..their phone in the hands of their child means the behavior can be reported out to everyone….NO NO NO.

catlady

July 1st, 2013
7:48 am

More parental interest /investment/intollerance for being embarrassed by the child and “tough love” will solve most behavior problems, but now the kid has the idea it is the teacher’s fault he is in trouble.

April

July 1st, 2013
7:52 am

I have not tried this app, but it sounds interesting. Recording, tracking, and reporting behavior is time consuming. One thing that sounds great about this app is that the parents of every child are contacted – not just those with behavior issues. The kids who are doing well get a good report. This is something that is not reported as often as is should be usually due to time constraints.

As for behavior begin reported to everyone, parents only get a report on their own child, and believe me the kids in the class already know who is behaving appropriately and who is not – they do not need a ding or a bell to let them know.

(the other) Rodney

July 1st, 2013
7:54 am

I think incorporating technology into the classroom is important, especially since most of these children haven’t known life without it. It’s the same as in my day when PCs were introduced as not only a learning tool, but as part of the educational experience. A majority of educators and/or parents were “what’s the point of all these computers” then, just like there’s so much push-back for modern tech in classrooms now.

As an example, my nephew (7 years old) actually improved his grades and performance this year with the BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) to school. He loves his iPad and the fact that he can use it to do school work, while at school, got him excited about it. It’s that whole “they don’t know they’re learning instead of playing” idea. (For those who will ask – the school provides “shared” devices for students who don’t have tablets and such)

Resisting change is natural but technology the likes of ClassDojo is in my opinion, a plus and should be welcomed. Nothing replaces a face-to-face between parents and a teacher but scheduling that is hard – technology makes that a little easier.

FCM

July 1st, 2013
8:35 am

@ catlady…yes parental invovement too but certainly behavior changes in smaller environment.

My children are much better behaved when I have them with me 1:1 then 1:2.

FCM

July 1st, 2013
8:39 am

@(the other) Rodney I am for technology in the classroom. I think all assignments should be on a class blog, that students should use their Personal Computer Device when allowed (my middle schooler does this with her iPod). Emails and website vs paper from the school (would save TONS in copier dollars). In fact I have told my children’s teachers I will not respond to any correspondence that is not in “soft copy” and they are all good with it. Soft copy is less expensive, less likely to get lost, and easier to track.

It is that the whole class behavior could get posted online or teachers start uplaoding video of the kids or something that bothers me.

HB

July 1st, 2013
8:57 am

FCM, have you used it? Is is easy for everyone’s reports to be accidentally posted online in a place where they’re accessible by all parents? Based on the info provided here, I don’t see anything that makes me think that’s any more likely than accidentally sending a report to the wrong parent or a full class parent list via email.

I think I’d like this as a teacher, especially because it syncs across devices. I find Evernote really helpful when traveling for work for that reason. Notes, receipts, etc can be put into my phone or iPad, and when I get back to the office, it’s all on my desktop.

catlady

July 1st, 2013
9:17 am

FCM you are entirely correct! However, we have too many kids whose parents are “too busy” or they think misbehavior is cute/funny. At least where I teach. I have found my best help comes from Latino daddies. I just tell them what I have seen, and comment that I know they are leaders in their community and do not want their son’s (usually) behavior to shame the family. I have only once had a Latino parent say they think I am picking on their kid, in all these years. (I think he now understands what I was saying, as his son has been kicked out to the alternative school!)

catlady

July 1st, 2013
9:20 am

Oh, and as far as uploading video–we cannot do that! Or even take a if with cell phone to show parent child’s sleeping in class!

catlady

July 1st, 2013
9:21 am

Take a pic with cell phone

catlady

July 1st, 2013
9:22 am

I can see tha this ap might be helpful with a behavior RTI, however, and will suggest it.

FCM

July 1st, 2013
9:43 am

@ catlady, I cannot always get to the school for face to face. I have offered to let them drive downtown and meet me nearer to my work…that usually gets the point accross (and gets a laugh). I am always available to read an email and respond within 24 hours (same rule the school has) and willing to schedule a teleconference at a mutually convient time.

I point out that they are often working mothers too so I appreciate empathy to the plight I am in when conferences are needed. It is not always well received at the time.

However the school principal (when she retired) said she had several teachers say “Mrs FCM is actually pretty cool lady, she always is on top of what Susie is doing in class/school.” A few of the next grade teachers actuall asked could they have Susie b/c they knew I would be involved even if they seldom saw ME at school.

The other child’s teachers and I were emailing like crazy last year. However she managed to hit Honor Roll so it worked. Each of those teachers thanked me for staying involved.

I do get that parents have to be invloved but these days teachers need to understand that employeers have us by the short hairs too. I cannot risk my livelihood on being gone for conferences. I need my vacation time for the stupid fulough days when I don’t have someone to watch my kids

jarvis

July 1st, 2013
10:41 am

Sure. I mean parental involvement; that’s in the same category as an app or behavior chart.

I’ll buy my wife that. The apps $1.99. How much is the involvment?

jarvis

July 1st, 2013
10:43 am

“Which works better for making children feel better? Tylenol or Mortrin?”

FCM and Catlady’s response: Curing cancer would make children feel better.

catlady

July 1st, 2013
10:54 am

FCM, by my definition, you ARE involved. I am talking about parents who won’t answer the phone if it is the school calling. Or if they do answer it they tell you they can’t do anything with him, either.

I have had conferences in the parking lot at the chicken plant, in the break room at the carpet mill, at the Dairy Queen, and in a home ( by invitation only). I have also come back to school in the evening, and arrived at 6:45 am. I’ve had some by phone, but I much prefer in person.

But what I mean by involved with behavior issues is giving me idea of what works for your particular child, and then helping by following through!

FCM

July 1st, 2013
1:02 pm

jarvisI see the app as a band-aid at best. Why not “cure” the real issue since it does have a solution…smaller class sizes are something the “goverment institutions” can control, but they keep voting to increase them. Parental involvent is a different issue…by Catlady’s standard I am involved. By the defination of Susie’s last teacher (also a working a Mom) I was not. She felt that if I did not come in person to the school I was not involved…I am at every concert, every play, every church event, etc. I did tell her fine, you want in person I can meet you (Midtown Starbucks) at the 10AM time you suggested…she said oh no I cannot leave MY job, my kids need this money for their support. REALLY???????????

As far as I know we do not have real soutions to stamp out cancer…although I would love for science to do that!

FRMRTCHR

July 1st, 2013
1:10 pm

I am no longer teaching but asked friends that still are teaching if they would use this app. All of them teach at the high school level and each one asked me if this was a joke. All said that they need to more authority to enforce the rules and that an app will not help that at all.
I taught in several very different schools before my spouse’s job transfers to different states put an end to my teaching career. I taught in a private school, a school in a very low-income area and a public high school for academically gifted students (over 15 years). Discipline problems varied from school to school but I cannot think of a single instance where an app would have helped with discipline. I noted major problems in my lesson plans. and made calls where necessary. I used a computer quite a bit for grading, research etc. But some things require a personal touch and writing down specific problems made things real for me. Writing makes me think where as filling in details on an app seems rather remote. We tend to think that technology makes our work and personal lives easier and better. It does somewhat, but taking time to write and think makes things more personal. Teaching and discipline in schools require the personal and not always the technological touch. Using an app will just distance us more from the problems.

Blue Fish in a Red Lake

July 1st, 2013
1:30 pm

Our elementary school honors program teachers used it for at least part of this recently ended year, and while it was good to see some areas that my two were both doing well (or not) in, the app seemed very limited in that there were no details. I would have loved some gory details, particularly on the problem areas, but I imagine it would have taken too much time to have written up anything detailed enough to be useful.

After about six weeks, I stopped getting notices that there were updates.

But at least we had fun making our avatars ;-)

HB

July 1st, 2013
1:32 pm

I wouldn’t think this would work for high school. I thought it was meant for younger aged classrooms (ES and maybe MS) that often have more defined systems for monitoring behavior. The same ages that used have their names written on the board with check marks for bad behavior and received little star stickers for good behavior.

Parent

July 1st, 2013
2:33 pm

I am surprised that schools haven’t done the obvious – set up video cameras in the classrooms to document discipline issues. It would be the perfect evidence to show student misbehavior (or alternately, teacher misbehavior). Of course, I never understood why police departments didn’t videotape all aspects of suspect questioning. Guess in both cases, they are afraid of what they might see.

Don't Tread

July 1st, 2013
3:09 pm

Back in the day, the teacher had an “app” for that…they sent you to the principal’s office for an APPlication of a block of hardwood to your butt. There wasn’t much misbehavior then…wonder why?

catlady

July 1st, 2013
6:17 pm

Parent, the problem is you would see more than one student in the movie. There would be outrage, lawsuits, etc. I guess they get by with it on the bus because students are not required to ride the bus.,

Gaming Teacher

July 1st, 2013
7:29 pm

I found out about this at a conference last (school) year – really too late in the year to try to implement then. However, I am planning on trying it out this year with my middle schoolers for “independent work” – we’ll see how it goes. With all the documentation and parent communication with which we are currently tasked, anything that makes the job more manageable with huge classes is welcome.

Welcome to the new age where we are automating class management and communication.

DB

July 2nd, 2013
12:27 am

The problem is: A kid knows if he is misbehaving. A kid knows if he is behaving appropriately. I don’t see how an app that gives them an electronic pat on the head or pat on the rear is going to make any difference. It seems more powerful and more direct if it’s coming directly from the teacher. If a parent wasn’t involved with the child before, this isn’t going to get them more involved. To me, it just seems like another layer of nannying that a teacher would need to do.