ClassDojo's Translation Feature Connects Teachers and Students Despite Language Barriers

ClassDojo

A total of 10 percent of the entire student population, or about five million K-12 students in the United States are not fluent in English. These numbers are on a rapid increase, and researchers approximate that the total could rise to as much as 40 percent by 2030. Many more schools serve immigrants now than ever before, and both the schools as well as parents have turned to digital technology as a means to remain in touch.

 

While there are several home-to-school communication apps that are aiming to bridge the language divide between teachers and parents, ClassDojo is a platform that was launched in 2011 and remains among the most widely used tools which make it possible for non-English speaking parents to remain in regular contact with their children’s teachers. In addition to connecting students, teachers and parents, it also enables support and development of student skills. According to their website, it fosters community building between teachers, school leaders and families.

 

ClassDojo is essentially a communication app that is used to share reports between parents and teachers. Teachers can monitor student behavior and upload photos or videos. It is available in 35 languages and has been used in 180 countries and by 90% of American school districts.

 

Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don released a beta version of the platform in 2011. Within a year, the company reached 3.5 million teachers and students in more than 30 countries. In 2013, ClassDojo became available in languages other than English. The following year, the company enabled messaging via its platform, whereby teachers could communicate with parents either within a group setting or directly. Class Story, a digital content stream created by teachers was added in 2014 and became accessible by parents in 2015.

 

In 2016, ClassDojo released a five-part series of educational videos on growth mindset in collaboration with Stanford University’s Project for Education and Research That Scales (PERTS) lab. That year, the series had been viewed by one in every four kids in American classrooms. Also in 2016, ClassDojo made it possible for school administration and teachers to share school-related content to all parents connected to the school via the School Story update to the platform. The Student Stories tool enabled students to manage their portfolios, interact with classmates as well as their parents. In a collaboration with Harvard Graduate School of Education’ Making Caring Common Project, ClassDojo released a video series about empathy in 2016. The following year, the company partnered with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to release a mindfulness curriculum.

 

The platform essentially enables teachers to communicate with and reward their students as well as communicate with the parents of the students. Instructors register for a free account and create “classes” with their students who can see classes as well as their individual progress. They also have the ability to invite parents so that they can see their child’s progress as well as any information shared by the teachers. Furthermore, the platform enables teachers to reward students in real time for any task they perform well as well as to communicate directly with parents. ClassDojo also allows teachers to customize the kinds of skills they want to leave student feedback for so that the students can adapt to the needs of the class or the school.

 

“Any time there’s an opportunity to quickly connect with a parent and not have the language be in the way, that’s a win for me and for the student,” said Tasia Fields, a technology administrator and former teacher in Waukegan Public Schools in Illinois. According to Ms. Fields, the app makes it possible for all parents – not just those who speak English – to be in regular contact with teachers to discuss topics such as grades or attendance issues.

 

ClassDojo can be used via any devise with a web browser. It is also compatible with native applications for iPhone (iOS) and Android. It is currently free for teachers in all schools as means to encourage learning, skill development and character building.

 

The platform has been rated positively and has received several awards and recognitions. It received the Today Show’s Education Innovation Award in 2011 and in 2013, ClassDojo was both recognized as one of the “100 Most Promising Companies of the United States” by Forbes as well as included in Fast Company’s “10 Most Innovative Education Companies in the World” list. In 2012, the founders were included on the Forbes “30 Under 30: Education” list. The operation was awarded TechCrunch’s Crunchie award for Best Education Startup, and its founders were included on Inc.’s “30 Under 30 list in 2015. The following year, the ClassDojo app was recognized as one of “The 35 Most Innovative Apps of the Year” by Fast Company. In 2017, ClassDojo was named one of the “25 Most Disruptive Companies” of the year by Inc.

 

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