US Investors showed new confidence in the edtech industry in 2017. $1.8 billion dollars was invested in the sector, a marked increase after investments slumped to only $1 billion in the field in 2016. It seems that the key element to being successful in the edtech industry is to research and fulfill the needs of teachers. With a sea of tech companies trying to predict what teachers want from tech, the companies with true potential are the ones connecting with teachers in the field and tailoring their products accordingly. Sam Chaudhary and Liam Don, co-founders of Class Dojo, did just that; in 2011, they started their company by reaching out to educators to ask them, “What’s the worst part of teaching?” They built an app with that feedback in mind and created a communication platform that connects students, parents and teachers in an unprecedented way.
Class Dojo fosters a community between teachers and parents. Hitherto, parents would only receive feedback from teachers at parent-teacher conferences once or twice a year. By using Class Dojo, parents can view daily reports on assignments and activities that show how their child is progressing. Teachers can upload videos of classroom activities so parents can stay connected while their child is at school. This allows parents to see inside the classroom in a way they previously could not; parents with hectic schedules can now share in special occasions and projects, even if they are unable to attend. Teachers can communicate and give updates with the entire class or interact privately with a parent through messaging. By creating a community out of formerly disjointed groups, Class Dojo makes it possible for parents and teachers to work together to help each student reach their goals. This model has so far proven to be effective and wildly popular with educators, skyrocketing the app into use by 2/3 of schools in the country. Class Dojo’s story, of rising from a one-room startup to high adoption rate, is a portrait of how the edtech industry needs to focus on fulfilling the needs of educators and parents in order to move from concept to success.