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ClassDojo seeks to build character through media

ClassDojo is an app on the rise. Started in 2011, it quickly raised $31 million in venture capital and began distributing its first iteration to teachers throughout the United States. Today, ClassDojo is used in over 90% K-8 schools in the U.S. This success is largely due to a commitment to solve the problems teachers grapple with most combined with a firm footing in the proven psychological principles of positive reinforcement and rewarding children’s successes at every step of the learning process.

From ivory tower to schoolhouse

Much of ClassDojo’s unique approach is derived straight from the original psychological research of prominent academics. These include child psychologists like James Heckman, Carol Dwek and Angela Duckworth, among others. The app’s creators have synthesized these schools of thought into a cohesive protocol of rewarding academic successes thus creating a system of positive incentives to keep kids hooked on learning. Many of these techniques are very similar to those employed by game developers to improve user retention.

For example, children using the app interact with a friendly reptilian ninja named Mojo. Along with his gang of anthropomorphic monsters, Mojo leads kids through a video game-like environment of goals and rewards similar to an interactive game. This technique has proven extremely effective not only in keeping kids interested in class work but also in subtly shaping their worldviews in a way which the apps creators hope will be pro-social.

Recently, the startup began distributing a serious of short, five minute videos meant to help children consider common scenarios in ways which promote positive thinking and instill moral sense. One of those videos concerns empathy and how to view situations from other people’s perspective. The video has received much applause from teachers, some of whom even say they noticed an immediate change in the way their students interacted with each other. It’s little projects like these that make ClassDojo truly unique.

Another way ClassDojo provides positive incentives for kids is through keeping parents informed of their child’s progress throughout the day. This means that if a child does well on an assignment or make a good class presentation parents can be alerted immediately, even watching in real time through a video feed. This means children can expect not just to be rewarded for good work in class but also from proud parents when they get home.

These are just some of the features propelling ClassDojo to the top ranks of education apps. For more information, please visit

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