Saturday, September 5, 2015

ClassDojo Now Allows You To Share Your "Class Story"

In education, the discussion about the social media presence of the school, teachers and staff is a tough one to have. Student privacy is no joke, and pictures or information on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can reach A LOT of people in a very short amount of time. It's wonderful to have an online presence, where parents and families can be constantly be updated about changes on the school calendar or be given a small glimpse into their child's classroom. The problem is that, with sharing and re-posting, tagging and hash-tagging, there is no way of knowing who else, besides school families, will see it.

This past week, ClassDojo released their big new update out into to the education world. This update included a major addition to their classroom management tool: Class Story. Operating like a simple hybrid of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (which doesn't really sound simple at all), teachers are able to post pictures and information for their class community to view. This community is made up of families that the teacher has invited to participate, passing out individual codes to students. Once families have joined the group, they can still see little Johnny's behavior details (as has always been the case), or send Johnny's teacher a message, but now they can see pictures from Writers Workshop, or from the field trip last week, or the guest reader from Friday. They can also see posts giving a link to the next online book order, with the due date. Anything that the teacher wants to share, the families can see, and "like" by clicking the little heart symbol in the corner.

I feel like I've seen this setup before...
Sound familiar? It should. It seems that ClassDojo tried to implement everything that people love from the Social Media Giants, while simplifying it (and safety-fying it) for the classroom. The best part is that Class Story can only be seen by the teacher, or the families that have the student codes. There is no sharing, there is no commenting, there is no tagging or hash-tagging. These missing components (which are not really missing...they just aren't an option) make Class Story a simpler and safer way to share classroom information with families. The pictures and information posted stay right in your class community, and can only be changed or added to by the teacher. Yes, screenshots can still be taken, but I'm not sure there is any way around that (I did notice that pictures can't be saved to the camera roll on your phone, but can be saved by right-clicking on the website). Overall, ClassDojo made Class Story as safe as they possibly could for classroom use (which shouldn't surprise anyone...they take it very seriously).

Something else that I valued: Class Story fits right in with the rest of ClassDojo. It operates seamlessly with every part of the app. I can go back and forth from Classroom Behaviors to Messages to Class Story with no problems at all, and I can post pictures or information without clicking a million other buttons to get there. The layout and colors are clean and simple as well, giving it a feeling of being fresh and new.

ClassDojo had a wonderful product that many teachers used faithfully in their classrooms. Now, they've just made that great product even better. I'm sure there will be updates and changes to come (as there are with anything new), but this new update makes ClassDojo a must have for schools and classrooms everywhere.

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