ClassDojo launched last September as a way for teachers to take control of their classrooms. Their focus is on handling the behavioural management side through a point system, so the teacher can focus on eduction. The site just launched out of beta today and as well as announcing upcoming iPhone and iPad applications, they’re also finally announcing $1.6 million in funding that they raised back in January from Ron Conway, Jeff Clavier, Paul Graham as well as several education-related funds.
The interesting thing about working in educational technology, says co-founder Sam Chaudhary, is “hitting hard deadlines at the start of the school year, then you get an opportunity too build things over the summer, and then you get that scale again when you go back to school.”
This round of developments is straight from ClassDojo’s users. Teachers provided feedback on what features they wanted. “We took the summer to build the top [features] that they told us would be really valuable to them,” says Chaudhary.
“The type of tool that we’ve made, is the tool that teachers use eight hours a day in the classroom,” says co-founder Liam Don. “So what they’ve started to request are other things that they’ve found useful in a real-time classroom, like attendance, seating arrangements.”
“We started off focusing on teachers, and what we learnt from the year is that – we thought that parents would be important as well – but what teachers told us is that it’s really, really important that students are involved as well, so that they can interact and reflect on how they’re doing.” So they launched a beta sample of student accounts, says Chaudhary.
They realized part way through last year that they were missing two key ingredients in properly taking control of behavioural issues in the classroom – the parents and students. So they’ve really focused on allowing students the chance to look back and reflect on how their behaviour was scored and the effect that had on their general school ability.
In May they rolled out a beta test to allow students access to ClassDojo, something they’ll be building out over the next year.
“When I look back over the year, Liam and I launched ClassDojo last September, and really at the time it was just a test to see if there was a real demand for the product, and establish if there was any kind of product market at all. The strongest bit of feedback over the year, is that it’s really really resonating with teachers. And teachers have really adapted to the problem we’ve set out to solve, which is behaviour management.” says Chaudhary.
Moving forward they’ve found that the key phases of development that ClassDojo needs to target is solid feedback tools, tracking patterns of behaviour and finding the appropriate methods to intervene when things are off-track.