Class Dojo’s Success: A Case Study in Listening to Teachers

Every year brings a new crop of tech tools to the classroom. More recently, laptops, tablets, and robotics give teachers new ways to deliver content and assess students. But these devices have many problems. Not only is it hard for teachers to figure out what technology will work best in their classrooms—but it’s also hard to get kids excited about them. And a given cool tech gadget may be useless or, worse, distracting in many classrooms where students need a different lesson model.

So when ClassDojo started adding robots into the mix to teach lessons on(ClassDojo) evens such as fractions, geometric shapes, and verbs, its creators knew they had to take a different approach. The creators would need to listen to the teachers and their students, often in short one-on-one conversations that “looked like therapy sessions,” says co-founder Matthew Glotzbach.

Teachers told them hundreds of times over that they needed simple tools for kids to understand and simplistic enough for teachers to manage. They needed three things: The tool to engage students, give teachers feedback on how kids were learning, and manage classroom behavior. “We built the product we want in our classrooms,” says Glotzbach, “and that’s why we think it resonates so well with teachers and students.”

Glotzbach says ClassDojo will continue to evolve in response to teachers’ needs with more support from the classroom. That means incorporating new tech tools and lessons so that classrooms can stay relevant in the 21st-century education landscape. One area of focus is developing lessons on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“With artificial intelligence and machine learning, you have the ability to build a future where everyone can learn exactly what they need when they need it,” Glotzbach says. “We think that is going to be the most important thing we can do as educators in the next decade.”