DyKnow Vision is collaborative instructional software that allows the teacher and students to share a notebook screen. The notebook is composed of a series of slides or "panels." The students get a copy of the notebook. During the class session it's totally interactive. Check out the demos on DyKnow's website to see it in action. The product also includes a component called "Monitor" which allows the teacher to monitor and lock student screens.
Examples of Good Ways to Use DyKnowEdit
- Save Students Having to Copy Notes: I have very much enjoyed having my class notes on DyKnow so that students can listen to me and take their own notes rather than spending so much time copying my notes.
- See All Students' Solutions: I use panel submission to look at submissions from every student. Basically, I assign a practice problem in class (on a DyKnow panel), then collect all the student panels when they are finished. I paste the panels into a "new notebook", which saves the students from having 15-25 panels of the same problem in their notebooks. Then, I bring up the new notebook at the front, and we can walk through the different solutions. I collect the panels anonymously to avoid embarrassment. This works particularly well when there are many possible "right" answers, and also when there are many possible "pitfalls" that I would like to illustrate. We can go over the different possible solutions and common errors, using student-generated solutions. Student can correct their own solutions on their own panels.
- Muddiest Point: Use DyKnow's panel submission feature to conduct a "Muddiest Point" exercise. In such an exercise, at strategic points during a class, the instructor asks the students to take 2 minutes to write about the "point or concept that is the muddiest (most confusing) to them". The students then use panel submission to submit their muddiest points. This often prompts the students to ask questions on the spot, and also gives the instructor a set of panels to review during or after class. The information on these panels can help the instructor decide what class activities to undertake next.
- Homework Review: I am devoting about half of each class to talking about problems that I assigned the night before. There are more problems than there is time to go over, so I have the students vote on which ones to discuss (of course, I'm free to discuss any of them before I turn control over to them).
- Review of Sequenced Content: By using DyKnow's "playback" feature, students can see the stroke by stroke sequence with which a problem or solution or diagram was created. [e.g. this is useful in learning to draw the characters of Asian languages, see the steps involved in solving a mathematical problem, etc.]
- Assess Which Concepts Need Attention: In my class, I reviewed the concepts that we had discussed by presenting about 15 panels, each containing an idea and a multiple choice question about its effect. For each one, I gave the students 15-30 seconds to answer anonymously. In about 12 cases, the students all (or nearly all) picked the right answer. For the others, I spent an additional minute or two giving feedback based on the answers they picked.
- Review Sessions: We have review sessions for our math tests in the following way: Open a session in the evening. Each student is given participant control. Each student is also given a slide number which is their number for every review session. The teacher or a student puts a question on slide #1. Everyone does the question on their own slide. They use the chat feature to state their answers. If someone made a mistake everyone goes to that slide and tries to help their classmate find their error. We LOVE using this method.
- "Jeopardy" Game Review Session: I use DyKnow to play Jeopardy with my students to review content prior to tests. I create a power point of questions (5 categories, $200-$1000) and load that into DyKnow. My class is broken into 4 or 5 teams depending on class size and they are only permitted to use one laptop. This allows for a more cooperative activity in which all members of the group will be engaged. I turn the "chat" feature on to "moderator only." We then begin to play Jeopardy. The team that "chats" me the correct answer first wins that dollar amount and the right to choose the next question.
- Team Problem Solving: Students work in groups of 2-4. The slide with the problem is prepared in advance and sent out as many times as necessary so each group gets their own. By preparing the slide in advance each group gets the problem written on the top of the slide. Sometimes this is not necessary because I assign end of the textbook chapter problems. All groups typically work on that same problem and extra credit is given to the group which finishes first (submits the slide first). However, the winning group has to explain the solution so other students understand it. Furthermore, I request that weakest student in the group explains the solution. This promotes collaboration and peer instruction within the group. When I tried this strategy for the first time, instead of collaboration, the setup prompted the best students in each group to work fast without spending time explaining what he or she does to their peers. But by requesting explanation from that weakest student, the group is motivated to make sure that everybody is on the same page and understand the process as they go along. As students work on their problems I also monitor their progress by switching slides on my computer screen and intervene when / as appropriate or necessary. If another group reaches the solution some other way, then this another approach can be discussed as well. It is also possible to assign different problem to each group and at the end request that each group explains their problem and the solution to other groups who now already have that solution written on the respective slide in the session. - Zdeslav Hrepic, Fort Hays State University
- Class Problem Solving: Another problem solving strategy is that I, as instructor solve problems together with students so that I give privileges to all of them and I scaffold the process by asking questions. But primarily students – whoever feels like it as we go along- write the next steps as we progress toward solution. - Zdeslav Hrepic, Fort Hays State University
- Monitor Whether Students Understand: Here is a lecture strategy that I would like to share. At the beginning of these sessions, I request students to update their status to green (full understanding) so the monitor initially indicates hundred percent understanding - all students in green category. I frequently check the overall status and I tell students to change their status as soon as they loose me. Of course, in addition to this they can (and I encourage them to) send me a chat message telling me exactly what the problem was (e.g. “I lost you on the trig part”). - Zdeslav Hrepic, Fort Hays State University
- Students Create "Testable Questions": A major part of this course consists of preliminary investigative activities during which students are supposed to come up with ideas and "testable questions" related to the topic in question. Each group shares their ideas and questions with class and after that they pick one question and do exploration. Finally they report to the class and explain their findings and answers to their testable questions. Before I start using DyKnow, pulling these ideas and questions from students was a real drag. It was difficult to get students to share or explain their ideas. I was writing those ideas on the white board so the task was also time-consuming. Students were reporting on their findings pertaining to testable questions by writing them on small white boards. This was always clumsy, hard to see and hard to take notes of in a meaningful way. With DyKnow, for ideas and question part I prepare a single slide with separate spaces for each group. I give privileges to all students so all groups write their ideas and questions at the same time and at appropriate spaces. When everybody is done, I request representative of each group to shortly follow up on what they put down. The slide with all questions and ideas is projected on the big screen and even before the explanation part, all other groups/students have everything already written on their slide. At this point I take the privileges of so students can add additional notes on their slides. The process is now flawless. It takes less time and this time is spent on meaningful discussion rather than on pulling words out of a particular student. I also prepare template slides for investigation activities. Each group investigates their own question and is supposed to reach an answer/result/explanation for it. Again, during these activities I give privileges to all students and each group wrights on their own slide. When all groups are finished all students again have results of all groups written in their session. I bring up one slide at the time on the big screen and each group explains what they did. Again, during this part I take the privileges off so other groups can add notes on the slide that is being discussed. However sometimes the group, which explains the slide needs to make adjustments over changes so if necessary privileges can be given to them as they explain the slide. - Zdeslav Hrepic, Fort Hays State University
- Skype in a Distant Participant: I tried combining Skype with DyKnow for a real-time meeting with my partner in Germany and that worked really well. Skype served for voice communication in both ways and I used DyKnow to show my screen, see my partner's screen and we were together taking notes/writing ideas on the slide. - Zdeslav Hrepic, Fort Hays State University
- Create a Reference Notebook of Troublesome Software Use Issues: In teaching "advanced" spreadsheet or other software skills, I found it very helpful to use the application with them in class, then go to DyKnow and paste in a "screen shot," then use DyKnow to annotate that screen shot, drawing their attention to changes we made in the spreadsheet for content reasons or for software "how to make it work" reasons. The highlighter tool is great for this, or the pen, because you can circle the troublesome aspect that they often miss that causes them to be unsuccessful using the software. Then they have this picture in their notes to refer to when doing homework or other exercises later.
- Collaborative Writing "Day in the Life" Activity: I assigned each student to write about a different hour of the day using a main character we had agreed upon in advance, going through a day in his life. The first slide of the notebook had each hour of the day (numbered) and which student was doing it. Then I collected all their panels, sequenced them and sent the students back the full story to read on their own. The only glitch was the sequencing. It helped to have the students write their number on the corner of the slide large enough so I could discern it while in film strip view when re-sequencing them. -Demetri Orlando
DyKnow Training & Professional DevelopmentEdit
- Last spring we tried a new approach to supporting DyKnow users. We held a pizza meeting and invited all DyKnow instructors to attend. Instructors were encouraged to submit short (5-10 minute) presentations in which they shared something interesting they had done with DyKnow recently. Several instructors presented, others just came to listen. Because all the attendees were already DyKnow users, each presentation could focus on an instructor's specific use of the system without having to provide an overview of the tool. It is easy to imagine a variation of the lunch that would include instructors who had not yet started using DyKnow tools. In that case the meeting would open with a brief overview of the tool, and then individual instructors could present their topics. We all learned a lot from each other at the meeting, and several people left with ideas for new things to try in their classrooms. We will definitely try a similar event sometime this year. If you at a school with more than one DyKnow instructor I would encourage you to organize a similar event.