In this class, we are focusing a lot on what tools to use. But what about what tools not to use? As a future educator, I think incorporating technology is extremely important. However, I think it is just as important to know what technology should not be incorporated.
My mom works for the Gering Public School District as a K-12 Innovative Teaching and Learning Specialist. That’s fancy speak for being their educational techie. She is also back in the classroom teaching this year and using her class as a model for the other teachers so they can see how to use technology in the classroom. She is in charge of helping teachers incorporate technology in the classroom. She has also presented at multiple educational technology conferences across the country, and is a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Certified Trainer. Due to all this, I am pretty confident that she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to technology. While thinking about this assignment, I thought about how much technology we can incorporate into classrooms that I could research. Then I started thinking that, while technology is great, there are also things that should not be incorporated. So, I went to my mom to ask her what she thought was the worst. Without skipping a beat, she said Class Dojo was the worst. Now, I have heard her talk about Class Dojo, but I haven’t ever really paid attention to it, so it’s a great start for researching.
From the outside, Class Dojo doesn’t look like too horrible of a concept. Reward students for their participation, create profiles, create a “positive culture,” etc. The website does a very good job of making Class Dojo look like the greatest classroom product ever. The downside? It can completely destroy a child’s self-esteem. Class Dojo has a negative emotional impact on students. It is a digital version of a clip chart, and teachers can cast it up on the projector for all the other students to see. Not only do other students get to see how well or poorly their peers are doing. This is detrimental to a student’s self esteem. The basis of this program isn’t to build students up, but to guilt them into good behavior by turning students into nothing more than a number. Instead of giving face to face affirmation for good behavior, it is taking the human element out of one more aspect of teaching. It is way more effective to tell a student they’re doing a good job or give them a real high five than to passively put points on an app. Same thing goes for negative behavior. Instead of just taking off points from an app, take a second and pull the student aside and see why they’re misbehaving. Maybe there is something going on in their life outside of school, maybe they’re just having a bad day. You won’t ever know that if you take the passive route and take points off their profile every time they talk to their neighbor.
Another issue is that it indirectly punishes students that are a little more on the shy side. While students who are more outgoing are rewarded for little things like raising their hand, the more reserved students are stuck not gaining points. Also, there is way too much parental involvement with Class Dojo. Parents are able to see their student’s profile throughout the day. While parental involvement is important, parents should not be able to track their child’s profile like that throughout the day. This could lead to parents becoming upset with their children over nothing. There is such a thing as over involvement of parents.
Class Dojo is a prime example of why teachers need to think before they use a product. Just because it looks like it could be a good idea doesn’t mean it is. Teachers, and everyone for that matter, need to research what products they use before using it.
Featured Image CC Kurt Voelker