DyKnow and a Moral Dilemma

TeacherComputerBy Ashley McFadin — This past week, a new program was introduced to our 9th grade staff: DyKnow.

This program allows us to view the screens of the students in our class. And, if we see anything unsavory, we can, send them a warning message, freeze their screens or lock their computer. This can be a valuable tool to teach students how to use their computer responsibly.

But, I feel somewhat of a moral dilemma. Allow me to elaborate…

  1. This program, although useful, was introduced to us halfway through the year.  I’ve already set-up expectations and have begun to trust my students with their machines.
  2. My teaching style is fairly active, so I walk around the room while the students use their computers.  Most of the time, I’m behind them and their screens while they’re using them.  I feel as though the computer will enable teachers to become “lazy” and sit behind their own screen.
  3. The students are aware that this program exists, and some teachers are using it and others are not.  There is an inconsistency in the message we are sending our students.

I tried the program this past Monday when I had students perform a specific task on their laptops.  For the most part, all my students did exactly what they were supposed to do.  But, was it out of fear because they knew I was “watching them”?  Or, had we already reached the point where we can trust each other in our digital learning?

To be truthful, I did send one student a warning message because they hopped over to YouTube when I has asked them to put their computer away, but that’s fairly harmless.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this program.  I do wish they had given this to us in August so we could use it as a teaching tool at the beginning and then we could have weaned the students (and ourselves) off of the program.  But, we will have it at the beginning of next year with a new batch of 9th graders, so it will be more effective then.

How would you feel if “Big Teacher” was watching?

1 Response to “DyKnow and a Moral Dilemma”


  1. 1 Abbey Sullivan January 21, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for your thoughts here! I had a similar conversation last week with a customer at Palmer Trinity in Florida. While Monitor presents the opportunity for teachers to ‘big brother’ their students, we prefer to position its value as stemming from the productivity tools. Control functionality was built as a safety net if teachers need it for the entire class (say, to create a secure testing environment) or for one student (who perhaps hops over to YouTube when they shouldn’t :-)) We can also, however, facilitate sending & collecting, pushing URLs, launching applications and more, all without ever interrupting student work with ‘big brother’-type control (unless you need to). We never intended for teachers to spend their class time staring at thumbnails of student screens, and to be candid, schools with the slowest rates of educational technology adoption are those focused entirely on the power struggle between teacher and student with devices in the classroom. I’d love to speak more about these creative uses of DyKnow Monitor to help you glean maximum value from your school’s investment. Hope to hear from you soon! Abbey Sullivan asullivan@dyknow.com, (317) 275-5887

    Like


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