We need to be taking more risks in the classroom if we want innovative ideas to be transformative.
Class Dojo released a new in-app feature today allowing you to message parents, and I need to be honest. My first thought was, “Oh no! What’s going to happen to Remind 101!?” So, for better or worse, most of my thoughts of messaging within the Class Dojo app have focused on how it’s similar to Remind 101. This update makes Class Dojo even more useful as a teacher, but, as it turns out, there are still plenty of differences that also make Remind 101 a go-to app for parent communication. That said, I am definitely edustoked about how easy it is to connect with my classroom parents!
There are two ways to message parents in the Class Dojo app–Direct Messages and Broadcasts. Direct Messages are like sending a text message: it goes to one parent, and they can text back. Broadcasts go out to all parents (think Remind 101). Unlike Remind 101, parents can message back. When a parent replies to a Broadcast, it becomes a Direct Message.
I’ve been beta testing the new Messaging feature for a couple weeks. I’ve found that conversations with parents tend to be focused on behavior. The great thing is that data (aka Dojo points) are at a parent’s finger tips, so my messages tend to explain or elaborate what a parent is already seeing in their Class Dojo stream.
Another small, but significant feature is read receipts. When you want to make sure a parent reads something, this makes it so much easier. Handwritten notes that get lost in backpacks are now a thing of the past.
Having messaging built into the app is this feature’s greatest strength and its greatest weakness. Parents without a smartphone are out of the loop (for now). This is a big reason why I will continue to use Remind 101. When I want a simple way for parents to receive a one-way message, Remind 101 is definitely my preferred platform. But if I want to talk with a parent about a student or get some feedback, Class Dojo now makes it easy to start a conversation.
So far, parents have been stoked to hear more about their kids. Before Class Dojo messaging, I tended to only talk to parents about negative behavior. Now, I can quickly send a message. I’ve found that I’m sharing a lot more positive things about my students that I would without this feature. I’m excited to see that Class Dojo is expanding their features and enabling teachers to keep in touch with parents more easily. I’m looking forward to keeping my parents in the loop and including them on what’s going on in my classroom.