One of the things I love most about ClassDojo as a company is that, in the same way excellent teachers do, they are always listening to connected educators to improve the service they provide for teachers and students alike. My own personal mantra has always been that I am constantly striving to improve the learning experience for all learners within my classroom and ClassDojo’s ethos fits perfectly with this.
Already within the last year we have seen a lot of developments in the system which has been a direct result of consultation with educators, parents, school directors and industry experts in the field of growth mindsets.
The Big Ideas video series was such a hit with kids and teachers that a second series rolled out quickly and I am sure there will be more to come. Class Story gave teachers the power to give parents a window into their daily classroom life and showcase what excellent work their children are doing. Experiencing this as a parent for the first time was fantastic, seeing collaboration being integrated into all areas of learning made me realise I need to reevaluate my classroom practice and I know I could learn a lot from my primary practitioner colleagues about this. You find out what I think about Class Story as a teacher here. Finally, School Story allowed principals, school directors, school ClassDojo mentors and headteachers to share some of the excellent wider achievement their young people engage in, highight school successes and reduce the need for paper newsletters by sharing news in a more effective, expedient fashion.
Now it’s the kids’ turn. Today ClassDojo launches Student Story, an online portfolio system for learners to showcase what they think is important, what they are proud of and what they have learned, thus giving them ownership of their self-evaluation in a more powerful and 21st Century way. Parents will now be able to follow along with their child’s learning — a photo of a poem they wrote, a video of their volcano erupting, a message on how exciting it was to finally solve a tough math problem. Just one photo can now spark hours of conversation at home. Parents, students, and teachers become part of a shared classroom experience.
Made with young learners in mind, Student Stories is incredibly easy to use. After a quick scan of a classroom QR code, students use a shared classroom iPad (Chromebooks and Androids coming soon!) to take photos or videos of their work and add a reflection or comment. A simple tagging feature allows any student to add the work to their digital portfolio – along with others in the classroom for those projects done in groups. Nothing is saved or sent home without teacher approval, after which the images are instantly shared with parents wherever they are.
We have always, as secondary teachers, had the responsibility of preparing our learners for their futures and one of the things that has been fundamental to this is how to document their achievements for a portfolio (who can forget the lovely NRAs? (National Record of Achievement)), a C.V., a resumé or other profile system that is being used. E-portfolios have been on the rise and in Scotland the use of Glow #glowblogs to facilitate this has been widespread and I would envisage OneNote will now take over. Other hosting sites, such as My MerIT have allowed pupils to collate successes, be it academic or personal, in one area and teachers have been able to comment on these and give pupils feedback. While Student Story is aimed at young learners, if they can be exposed to this regular collation of experience and success and get into the habit of analysing and evaluating their experiences, then it will be so much easier for them when they get to S4 and are trying to promote themselves in a C.V. or job application, because despite all we do with them, they still struggle with this.
Like all changes in education, it will take time to filter through, but I honestly believe that this will help young people prepare for what is an increasingly more digital workplace environment, and will help us in Scotland to develop Scotland’s Young Workforce, and will help educators the world over give their learners ownership and meaningful feedback for their learning.
For more information on Student Stories, check out classdojo.com/studentstories. I think you, your students, and their parents are going to love it! And if you have any questions, I’m always happy to help 🙂