Sometimes small apps have surprising results that come from their usage. One such app is ClassDojo, a new classroom app that has a social media feel to it, but has changed classroom atmospheres in many simple ways. It was originally designed as an app for teachers to use points in rewarding good student behavior, but now it’s become a key communication tool for teachers and parents to stay in touch. Through the student stories profiles, similar to Facebook profile pages teachers can post photos of classroom activities and study time for parents to see throughout the day. They can also shoot text messages informing them of their child’s progress. This has helped many schools eliminate parent-teacher meetings and even helped parents prepare their children better for the next school day.
ClassDojo was founded by Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don, two young college graduates who wanted to build a unique app that hadn’t been tried before. They decided to venture into education and classroom culture because they felt most schools didn’t have the right teaching tools on hand. They visited teachers’ conferences and had discussions with educators on what they thought could help improve classrooms, and after a lot of work and trial and error, Chaudhary and Don founded ClassDojo. The initial seed for this app was valued at about $1.6 million in 2012.
Chaudhary and Don decided to add complimentary features to the app, including mindset growth videos about how little monster characters learned how to tackle learning challenges. The addition of these features prompted more investors to fund the app, and ClassDojo raised over $8.5 million in 2013, and then just this last year received $21 million to put its total venture capital over $30 million. Thus far ClassDojo has not spent any money on marketing, but prefers to use word-of-mouth as its public relations medium. Chaudhary and Don say they will be rolling out optional features that users can pay for if they wish to use them, but the main features and basic use of the app will remain free. They’ve also taken steps to protect the privacy of each and every user.