Wednesday, February 04, 2009

End Mindless Notetaking! Engage Students! DyKnow Software - a tool for high school RTI?!

Take a look at this videoclip about DyKnow, an application developed to combat mindless note-taking and enhance classroom learning. Although the video demonstrates the benefits of this technology in a university classroom, it is clear to see that this would be a great asset in high school classes conducted in computer labs or have access to classroom sets of laptops.

The "retro" effect of this black-and white clip is entertaining.

DyKnow provides a means for teachers to control the way the laptop is used during class, which in a high school environment is important. Watch the DyKnow Monitor video to learn more about the features of this application, which includes a means of instant progress monitoring. The software provides for collaborative interaction between students and between the students and the teacher's work space.

In my opinion, this looks like it would be an effective resource in high schools that are adopting data-driven decision-making and Response to Intervention (RTI) models. It provides students - and teachers- with immediate feedback, and monitors progress electronically.

We know that most students do not learn best auditorily at the high school level, yet much of the high school curriculum is delivered through traditional means that involve lectures, note-taking, and some discussions. In this set up, it can be easy for some of the students to become disctracted in class, with lower grades and test scores as a consequence.

For many struggling students, traditional means of instruction opens the door for task avoidant behaviors and an increase in discipline events. They simply are not often fully engaged in the learning process.

Video: DyKnow in a high school setting: DyKnow in Action: Auburn City Schools

The DyKnow video highlights some of the ways that the curriculum be delivered in a more on-task, visual, and 'hands on" way that engages a higher percentage of students.

Article: High School Students, Teachers Learn Long-Term Benefits of Tablet PC's in the Classroom

If your school is using DyKnow, feel free to leave a comment about your thoughts!


Anonymous said...

We use DyKnow tools in about 35 courses per semester at DePauw University. Disciplines include Arabic, Japanese, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Computer Science, Kineseology, and so on. If you want to see what this looks like in classes at DePauw do a YouTube search for "DePauw Tablet".

--Dave Berque

Lynn Marentette said...

Thanks, Dave.

It is good to see that so many different departments are using this technology. I'll take a look at the YouTube video ASAP.


Anonymous said...

I have never heard of DyKnow before I stumbled upon your blog. I watched the videos and read through all the links you had posted. This looks like it would be a good use of technology in the high school level. I am going to be a future special education teacher and I could see myself using this with my students. I definitely think that it could help special education students be involved and engaged with their learning. I also think that the fact that this software allows the learner to kind of "write" notes in their own way could be beneficial for special education students who may have trouble writing traditionally. I plan to look further into this software and its possible uses within my future special education classroom.


DyKnow at Virginia Tech said...

As an undergraduate engineering student with experience with DyKnow, I have to mention that using DyKnow to push out slides and notes doesn't improve a lecture. Switching from a passive paradigm to an active one is what makes all the difference. A physics class where we used iClickers to answer conceptual problems which we then discussed with out neighbors and answered again was the most engaging class I've ever attended. I've taken a half-dozen classes that have used DyKnow but never for as effective of interaction as that iClicker class. DyKnow may help slightly, but the virtue of a more interactive, instant-feedback classroom is what really makes the difference.

Regarding the writing, I don't see why a special education student with difficulty writing normally could write more easily with a tablet. A lot of students consider the tactile feedback to be poor compared with pen and paper. If you were thinking of typing, DyKnow's support for typed notes is pretty minimal, although its possible that they'll improve their keyboard input support. Since these are computers we're working with though, you could plug in potentially any assistive technology for the input, like Dasher for students with very limited mobility.

If anyone cares about DyKnow Linux support, for the idealogical reason that constructive learning environments and Free Software go hand-in-hand, for the technical merits of *nix or for the budget savings, the Linux and Unix Users Group at Virginia Tech has a wiki with a DyKnow entry.

Anonymous said...

We use Pinoteo ( to write down lectures. If you don't need to draw something, it's very useful application. You can type in text, add pictures and so on. It's very comfortable to use it for the fast note taking.