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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Usually, when you ask a child what they did in school today, they'll reply with a vague "nothing," or "I don't remember." As a busy parent or guardian, you may find your child's brief answers don't really fill you in on what's going on at your child's school.

The ClassDojo app (iOS, Android) can strengthen communication between parents, children, and teachers. The app has portals for parents, school leaders, teachers, and students. The app is used at 90 percent of K to 8 schools in the US, according to the site.

If a child makes an art project or does well on a spelling test, the teacher can snap a picture, upload it, and send it directly to the parent. Students can showcase their accomplishments in school through video or photos.

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Teachers

ClassDojo gives teachers more tools to use in their classroom. Teachers can assign group members randomly, display directions for an activity, play background music, and a noise monitor to keep everyone at "inside voices."

The "Think Pair Share" feature encourages friendships among classmates with questions like "what is something you've gotten better at in the last week?" The feature can ask harder questions for group problem-solving and one-on-one discussions.

The app also has a built-in timer for activity transitions or quizzes and a section for morning announcements.

The app's Dojocast makes your smartphone a remote and allows synchronization with smartboards, computers, and more.

Parents

The parent's portal in ClassDojo gives parents a social media-type display of their child's classroom experience as posted by the teacher.

Teachers can share classroom updates, special moments, and announcements (never worry about missing a parent-teacher conference again!) to the Class Story.

Participating parents can "like" posts similarly to Facebook to see how the science fair went, if there's a field trip coming up, and more.

Parents can join Class Story easily with almost any device and instant message teachers directly in the app. The messaging feature translates more than 30 languages.

Trust and privacy

ClassDojo promises privacy and security for its users.

"That's why every ClassDojo product is designed to protect your privacy and security, and give you control over your information. This is fundamental to our mission, and our business," the company said on its website.

The app promises that it doesn't share information with third-party advertisers or marketers. It doesn't claim ownership of anything shared on ClassDojo and student's portfolios are private to each classroom.

The app is in compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, and Europe's General Data Protection Regulation.

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Takeaways

  1. The ClassDojo app helps build better communication between parents, students, and teachers.
  2. The app shows parents how their kids' day is going, teachers can add announcements and reminders, and students can display their work in portfolios.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.