DyKnow was not even glimmer in Dr. Dave Berque’s eye when the fire started.
He was nervously preparing to teach his first class as a doctoral student, and although he was anxious, Dr. Berque was also very excited. He couldn’t wait to connect with students and stimulate meaningful conversation about his discipline.
Alas, upon entering the lecture hall on his first day – with 150 sets of prying eyes staring back at him – Dr. Berque quickly realized this wasn’t the cornucopia of student excitement he had hoped for. The lecture hall was large and the students were many. And, unfortunately, they also seemed less than enthusiastic about being there.
He settled his nerves by concluding the lack of enthusiasm was due to his lack of experience and perhaps things would get better as the semester continued. Over the next several weeks, Dr. Berque employed several creative teaching strategies to get students engaged, but no matter what he tried, students remained silent. No interaction. No excitement. Then one day, several hands popped-up impatiently and Dr. Berque was thrilled to finally field an inquiry.
Sadly, the students raising their hands did not ask a question but rather informed Dr. Berque that “The lights are on fire!” Looking up, he noticed a light bulb ablaze over the heads of several students. Even more shocking – of the nearly 150 students in the room – only a few people even noticed the fire at all.
He was stunned by the reality that his students’ attention was so consumed by scribing his notes from the blackboard to their notebooks that they didn’t even notice the room on fire. It wasn’t until this experience that Dr. Berque realized the problem was not just a lack of experience but rather the inability to stimulate interaction in this traditional uninspiring lecture hall.
He wondered, “What are students really taking away from my lectures? Are students making appropriate connections and learning the material for future application or were they simply copying my notes?”
Later, Dr. Berque decided he was going to create something that would get students involved in every class and bring life back to teaching and learning – even in a lecture hall.
And that was the beginning of DEBBIE, or DyKnow Vision as it’s known today.
Some years later, after creating and using DEBBIE in his classes at his new school, DePauw University, Dr. Berque connected with an alumnus and Indianapolis entrepreneur David Becker. Becker was enthusiastic about the software and commercialized it in 2003 with the help of Dan Sanders, CIO, and a team of developers. Over time, the team received feedback from educators who said they would need a way to manage student behavior if they were going to use computers full-time for teaching and learning. From this feedback, DyKnow Monitor was developed. Today, DyKnow now offers both products to assist educators in engaging and managing students in computer-equipped classrooms.