ClassDojo has been moving into more classrooms since it debuted for the 2011 scholastic year. At this point their educational materials are being used by at least one elementary or middle school teacher in 95% of public schools. In other words, one in six children under the age of 14 is familiar with the workings of ClassDojo. Part of that popularity came with a business model that doesn’t charge schools or teachers directly. But after seven years of operating, backers are looking for a return on their investment.
How does ClassDojo plan on being free for schools and teachers but still bring in a profit for investors? They’ve created a new app just for parents, ClassDojo Beyond School, that will use a subscription service to bring a bigger app to homes. It’s designed to help students continue studying at home, but it will also give parents a more detailed look at progress and take control of a points system that rewards positive behavior.
Providing incentives for good behavior has been part of the classroom edition of ClassDojo. As teachers have, parents will have the option to add and subtract points that allow their children to access select content in an effort to reinforce positive behavior that is conducive to learning.
Beyond School will also be there to help parents learn a few things. Meditation and mindfulness instructional videos will show parents how to perform alongside their child. Self-reflection videos, where children record their responses to introspective prompts, will also give parents a personal view into their state of mind and emotional health. This can lead to helpful conversations at home that may not take place in the classroom.
Sam Chaudhary, CEO of ClassDojo, says that these tools are there to help parents explore educational opportunities that are unique to the home that may otherwise go overlooked.
Operating for several years without revenue has been the cause of many startups shutting down before becoming financially viable. Chaudhary’s secret has been frank and detailed discussions with investors, explaining how the business is intended to operate before accepting investment. With time invested in getting into as many classrooms as possible, building a fun and engaging platform for children, and refusing to charge teachers and schools, Chaudhary was able to work with a micro advertising budget and keep his team small, saving funds for crucial app developments.