Class dojo : how not to give human consideration!

A couple of days ago, my associated teacher presented to me a tool for assessing/feedbacking students called classdojo. This tool is easy to use : each student has an online avatar and the teacher gives them thumbs-up or thumbs-down according to certain elements preset by the teacher. The teacher can also, as seen on Technology Ressource Teachers, apply it to the whole class. The parents also have access to this tool and so everyone can know what the student’s behaviour is according to the teacher. You can have certain analytics on the behaviour and comments can be left for different aspects. Furthermore, this tool has been awarded top prize at NBC Education Nation.

There are some advantages with this tool that can be exploited :

1. It is easy to use and even more so when you have a touch screen. As Troy Seyfert experienced, this tool is great because in one click you can add or remove points from your kids avatar. He pointed out that it becomes even easier with a touch-screen tablet or phone. I, for example, have an ipad mini and since there is an application for it. I can, with one touch, control the behaviour of my students while going around in the class. I don’t have to sit at a computer to do so. Furthermore, I can easily add comments and print those comments so the parents can see them. You can also, as Terri Eichholz presents it, have the program choose a random student and it really makes it on-the-go and easy to use.

2. You can control different aspects of behaviour easily. Indeed, as betaclassroom writes it, you can choose what to give or take points on. It becomes handy when you have certain aspects such as homework control. You could even use it instead of a name list to see if everyone has done their homework. Instead of using pen or pencil, a single click is sufficient. You could even create a class dojo only for the purpose of correction… many options are possible with this tool.

3. You can use analytics to have an overview of your comments and behaviours. Since the system offers a lot of possibilities, you can use it easily to evaluate,week after week the progress of your students and data tally is easier with this tool. Futhermore, by using the whole class setting, you can make this a cooperative effort for all the students.

4. It is great for the kids who feel comfortable with technology. Think about your little Bill Gates in the classroom. They will love using this tool to assess their performance and it gives them a different class management approach than more traditional ways. Why not offer your students different options for behaviour management? You may be surprised.

A word of warning :

I just wanted to reflect upon what they call ”behaviour control” and specifically what I would call ”online behaviour control”. I must say that, as much as I find this tool interesting, I have certain reserves on it and here is why :

I consider that behaviours in classroom should stay in classrooms, and I believe that by making it online, it only makes it less personal. Some teachers that didn’t like the tool said it didn’t fit their style of teaching, but I think that the principle behind it is be deeper. Indeed, I believe that by making it online, feedback cannot be given personally and on the spot. Furthermore, students don’t get contact with teachers on feedbacks. I think that the attitude of a teacher towards a behaviour is as important as the consequence that comes with it. I believe that humans always try to categorize things, make them less human, more machine-like because it is easier. That’s the danger with classdojo. On the other hand, as Tony Vincent explains it, it is handy and easy, but I think we should be careful with such a tool for it is another step towards ”dehumanisation”.

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