COVID-19 Startups

Closing The Gap Between Classrooms And Students, ClassDojo Sees Skyrocketing Usage

Illustration of woman on video screen.

With nationwide school closures, teachers and parents have had to be creative to keep kids connected with each other while ensuring they stay on top of their education.

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That’s where the communication app ClassDojo comes in.

Adjusting to online learning and virtual communication is one thing, but the more nuanced issue is kids’ desire to stay connected to their community, according to CEO Sam Chaudhary.

“The toughest thing is that kids are now suddenly apart from their whole village,” Chaudhary said in an interview with Crunchbase News. “Classrooms are their village.”

Since schools have closed and the students have been home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire to stay connected to friends and teachers has intensified, and that’s translated to increased engagement on the ClassDojo app. The average classroom was sharing about four times more content and communication during the week of March 25 than the previous week, Chaudhary said.

“What’s top of mind for me is that every one of those communities are just engaging with each other so much more deeply and so much more often,” he said.

With ClassDojo, teachers can send direct messages to families, make announcements, and assign classwork and activities for students. The app is used by 95 percent of K-8 schools in the United States, and across 180 countries, according to the company. ClassDojo is backed by investors including GSV Ventures, General Catalyst and Shasta Ventures, according to Crunchbase data.

If Zoom has become the go-to communication and engagement tool for adults since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, ClassDojo is something like Zoom for kids. It’s being used at-scale and keeping elementary kids, who usually don’t have social media, connected while they’re apart.

Teachers are sending daily videos to students to check in, coming up with activities and centering each day around a theme, like Superhero Day and Crazy Hair Day.

Engagement on the app has skyrocketed, increasing its user base. Five times as many families joined ClassDojo last week than in any week in the company’s history.

San Francisco-based ClassDojo’s “translate” feature has also proved to be in-demand. With many families in the U.S. not speaking English at home, ClassDojo has seen the translate feature “explode,” Chaudhary said. The app had more than 100 million translations during the week of March 18, or five times more than usual.

ClassDojo’s 50-person team has been hustling to keep up with the demand and introducing new features to fit teachers and students’ needs. Many ClassDojo employees are parents or former teachers, so they’re “living the same challenges,” Chaudhary said.

When the company started hearing from teachers that they wanted to teach their students short lessons, ClassDojo built and rolled out a “record” feature within 48 hours so teachers could record short video lessons.

“It’s really hard for me to remember a time when our mission was more relevant and more important,” Chaudhary said.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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