Critics of classroom economies (or, token economies) believe that we should not bribe students to do something that should be inherently rewarding; champions of classroom economies praise their effectiveness and relevance to real life incentives. Banyan Global Learning’s Teacher Mary is a fan of them and loves using Class Dojo – a free online classroom economy tool we reported on last week that is growing in popularity. She enjoys its simplicity and customizable options and offers the following review:
I had the opportunity to use this tool in the US for a semester while teaching 7th grade science before coming to Taiwan to teach 2nd grade. In both countries and cultures, it has had the same effect. After just a few steps to get it started, I needed only say the words “Who wants to earn points for…” before the entire class was attentive and on task. In my 2nd grade class of ESL students, being on task means getting out books, working on the correct worksheet or workbook page, volunteering, helping others, and participating. Using Class Dojo I created custom categories to tally student incidence for each of these target behaviors, and even loaded custom logos for each category that the students could easily recognize when I show the live data to the class. The program keeps track of student progress by week, month and year, and has report options that include emailing parents (who can also log in to see their student’s data).
I showed the program to another teacher here in Taiwan and it has had a similar effect on her classes. From my experience, it also works wonders in special education classrooms – especially with ADHD students who react much better to positive rather than negative reinforcement. What I like most about the program is that it can be customized to fit your needs, your style, and your students. It is also compatible with iPad, which makes it easier to use while being mobile within the classroom. It also has fun sound effects and little avatars that are totally cute. Coming from west to east, Class Dojo has turned classroom management into a virtual video game and has allowed me to focus on what’s important – academics!