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Is Kinteract really the best alternative to ClassDojo?

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Is Kinteract really the best alternative to ClassDojo?

Is Kinteract really the best alternative to ClassDojo?

Kinteract isn’t the only virtual education platform out there.

ClassDojo made headlines for its controversial approach to classroom management. Among other things (which we’ll come to in a moment), ClassDojo has unfortunately been criticised for its simplistic ‘carrot/stick’ formula. 

Despite all this, however, some teachers really love ClassDojo - they enjoy the way that it frees up communication between teachers and parents, and they acknowledge that there is a place for behaviour management tools in a teaching tech stack.

What schools need is an alternative to ClassDojo. An e-learning platform that can do everything that ClassDojo does, but in a safe, effective, professional and non-controversial way.

How does Kinteract work as an alternative for ClassDojo?

Let’s start by explaining how ClassDojo works.

ClassDojo provides free educational software for primary schools, and markets itself as 'a platform that enables communication'. Their stated aim is to build learning communities through teacher/parent sharing. Through ClassDojo, teachers can easily send parents reports, videos, lesson plans, and so on...

Children are given ‘monster’ avatars, which they can ‘level up’ through good behaviour (getting to lessons on time, completing homework, getting good grades, and so on). These avatars also drop levels when children misbehave - or let their standards or grades slip. The idea here is to gamify behaviour - and many teachers believe it works. At least, it works in the short term. 

ClassDojo is free at point of use and while there are a few paid ‘premium’ features, most of the software comes free of charge.

If you're not paying for the product, are you the product?

ClassDojo have vehemently denied monetizing student data - but privacy concerns remain a big part of the controversy surrounding the platform.

But let’s focus on what ClassDojo does well. To sum up, its main benefits are in two areas:

  • Teacher/parent communication
  • Behaviour management

How does Kinteract’s software shape up as an alternative to ClassDojo’s behavior management software?

Gamification is a powerful tool, and students surely love anything that’s similar to a game.

However, as any professional knows, what children want and what children need are often (if not usually!) two very different things.

There are a few issues with a 'gamified' system of behaviour management:

  1. It’s not nuanced. The ClassDojo method is very simplistic: do well and your avatar improves. Do badly and your avatar is demoted.

    On the face of it, this is a simple and effective way to acheive behavioural results - but the lack of nuance means that the students are not learning the long-term behavioural lessons they need.

    For example, if a student logs into ClassDojo late, there is a mournful ‘bloop’ sound, and their avatar automatically loses points. The software doesn’t care about mitigating circumstances [like family crisis or tech malfunction] - its algorithm cares about rigid goals.

    Similarly, if a student behaves poorly, demoting their avatar reduces the opportunity to provide them with valuable, nuanced feedback. Opportunities for 'teachable' moments are lost when the process is reduced to a gamified response. While the gamified version may have a short-term effect, the longer term growth is lost.

  2. It can be unhealthy for self-esteem. Competition is a big part of most games, and ClassDojo is no exception. With its system of ranking by points, ClassDojo turns behaviour into a competition.

    As we know, competition can be healthy. There’s an element of competition in many aspects of life, and it’s good for children (and adults!) to strive for excellence.

    However, problems arise when you make the competition about fundamental aspects of a person’s character.

    And as we mentioned above, ClassDojo’s algorithm isn’t nuanced. Its system of 'reward or sanction' is based on fairly rigid parameters. Students who are good at hitting those particular goals will shoot ahead, while others could fall behind.

    How this translates to primary-age students - is that children with more points are ‘better' or 'good’ - and everyone else is not?

    Of course, teachers have input, and a teacher can praise a child for (for example) being kind, or creative, or full of character - but it’s the algorithm that determines who’s ‘winning’ in classroom ‘competition’.

    Not only can this be unhealthy for individual self-esteem, but it also has the ability to damage children's individuality and self-expression. If you are only praised for a few, limited actions, your own individuality quickly becomes less important than the algorithm’s goals.

Kinteract doesn’t gamify classroom behaviour. Instead, Kinteract does the following:

  1. Tracks student progress holistically. Kinteract’s student progress tracker has an element of goal-hitting, just like ClassDojo. However, those goals are flexible, and the software tracks and monitors them up in the background. It’s part of the process, but it’s not the be-all-and-end-all.

    Kinteract’s student progress tracker works by marking actual goals (and setbacks), not just by adding and removing points. It enables teachers and parents to see [at a glance] how children are progressing, where their passions lie, and what they need help with.

  2. Uses social hashtags. Kinteract helps teachers to log problem behaviour and identify behavioural patterns through its system of hashtags. Hashtagging is flexible throughout the platform, and enables teachers to track student’s social development in a their own way (as well as to organise curriculums, mark out special events and so on). Through hashtagging, teachers can articulate behavioural and social issues in whatever language works for them - they’re not restricted to a virtual scoreboard.

  3. Provides intuitive dashboards. ClassDojo is simple and easy to use. Can a platform as comprehensive as Kinteract provide the same kind of intuitive experience?

It certainly can!

Kinteract’s dashboards for teachers, students, and parents are intuitive and easy to manage. The design is slick and easy on the eye. Everyone is able to perform relatively complex tasks in the interface with minimal training.

What’s more, where classroom management is concerned, Kinteract’s dashboards lets teachers see patterns in student performance and behaviour at a glance.

The student progress tracker, social hashtagging, and other reporting tools all work together to make a holistic map of student journeys. These show up on teacher dashboards, making it easy for teachers to identify gaps in curriculum, knowledge, subject, behaviour, or even social skills.

  1. Focuses on personal passion. Kinteract is less about training, and more about learning. While ClassDojo trains kids to hit goals, Kinteract would rather encourage intrinsic passions for a subject.

    All the tools above help teachers and parents to nurture and encourage students through their educational journey. Rather than training them to hit goals, Kinteract enables teachers to spot where childrens' passions lie, and where they’re struggling.

    All of this makes for a much more flexible method of classroom behaviour management - one which offers long-term learning rather than short-term goal-fulfillment. 

All of this can, of course, be easily shared with parents and other stakeholders. Which brings us to our next question:

Is Kinteract a good alternative to ClassDojo when it comes to communication?

One of ClassDojo’s great strengths is the way it enables communication.

Education is a team effort. It requires coordination and cooperation between teachers, students, parents, carers, school governors, and more. For this to happen, you need smooth, free-flowing communication.

Kinteract enables communication at every turn. Kinteract’s messenger system helps teachers to keep parents updated on students’ progress and achievements in real-time. It facilitates conversation about student progress, and let's everyone work together in a structured way to do what’s best for pupils.

We mentioned Kinteract’s reporting and progress-tracking features above. These can all be shared between teachers, parents, and other parties on a need-to-know basis. So, everyone is kept informed, but nobody has to worry about data privacy.

Kinteract’s one and/or two-way messenger system puts teachers in control of communication. This is important, because teachers need time to focus both on teaching and on their own downtime! With Kinteract, teachers can control their availability while still keeping parents updated by toggling between one and two-way instant messaging.

What about other apps like ClassDojo? How does Kinteract compare to other classroom management websites?

There are many edtech brands out there. Kinteract may compare favourably to ClassDojo - but what about other brands?

The most popular online teaching solutions include Google Classroom, Docebo, and WizIQ. As the best online teaching tools around, all of these are very good at what they do.

The problem is that ‘what they do’ is pretty specialised. Google Classroom is about live learning and document-sharing. Docebo is great at learning management. WizIQ is almost totally teacher-focused.

Kinteract, on the other hand, does it all. Online teaching, seamless communication, resource-sharing, classroom management, admin, reporting...there’s even a social element, for people to share ideas and build friendships. 

What sets Kinteract apart isn’t just the quality of its features. It’s also the quantity. No other online education platform does as much as this - or as well.

Why Kinteract is the best ClassDojo alternative

Kinteract can facilitate free-flowing communication between teachers, parents, and other stakeholders - without endangering pupil privacy.

Kinteract can help teacher to manage class behaviour and to teach long-lasting behavioural lessons - without damaging children's self-esteem.

But Kinteract also does much more than this.

Kinteract is a complete teaching and learning tool. It can travel with students throughout their learning journey, helping them at every step of the way. 

It enables online learning. It helps teachers and parents to track progress. It flags up problem patterns, and suggests ways for kids to follow their passions. 

It allows educators to upload and curate vast content libraries, containing the very best educational resources available. 

It takes care of ongoing admin, freeing up teachers to concentrate on their classes. 

And it does all of this through the slickest, most intuitive dashboards around.

To find out more about Kinteract, book a demo today.