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StaffRobert HeinyInterview 1 Part 3 with Dr. W.E. Doynit

Interview 1 Part 3 with Dr. W.E. Doynit


New Era School Initiative (NESI) Interview Part 3 with Dr. W.E. Doynit, Superintendent

Accelerated Learning Interview Part 3 continues the series of observations about learning efficiency.

Part 1 includes discussion of Tablet PCs, learning efficiency, learning rates, learning losses, persuasive empirical data, and all students can earn a high school diploma.

Part 2 includes comments about 21st Century Learning, creativity, learning as adoption of behavior patterns, Tablet PCs as state-of-the-art learning tools, and Tablet based automated lessons.

Tablet PC Education conducted this interview with Dr. W.E. Doynit, Superintendent of the Normsville, California, Unified Public School District (NUPSD), and then posted it in multiple parts. We met at Landgrant University on the Normsville, California (LUNC) campus.

Dr. Doynit received approval last night from the NUSD Board of Education to proceed with plans to open New Era (charter) School Initiative (NESI). This initiative offers students a complete program of study in six academic years that meets all state academic standards from kindergarten through 12th grade. Students and faculty use Tablet and other mobile PCs with available learning packages to earn a high school diploma.

Tablet PC Education: What is learning efficiency and why does it matter in your New Era School Initiative?

Doynit: Learning efficiency indicates the power, proficiency, or so called instructional competence of a teacher, lesson, curriculum, school, and other learning venues.

Learning efficiency rank orders the relative capacity of learning venues to yield intended learning.

We define and measure learning efficiency from a learner’s view.

In our school, learning efficiency refers to the extent to which instruction and a learner’s attention meet to yield adoption of the criterion behavior pattern for saying learning occurred.

It’s a way to describe results of the existing de facto meritocracy in schooling, that is, results from the inherent competition for attention and resources among students, teachers, curricula developers, policy makers, and others who address schooling and learning.

At first, we calculated learning efficiency manually. Now, we use a program installed on each Tablets PC to calculate learning efficiencies automatically and continually for each learner.

We measure the learner’s time, effort, and other personal resources used when adopting the instructed skills, including those that rely on new information presented in the lesson.

In return, the learner gains something of personal value for those using those resources.

Tablet PC Education: You sound like an engineering economist when you talk about learning as something describable and measurable. Are you an engineer and an economist as well as an educator? Don’t educators have a bias against engineering a person’s education and economists putting costs to it?

Doynit: Yes, almost all of my life I have worked with and around engineers, business people, and others who make things happen. Perhaps those influences have become part of my behavior that led to your question. No, I’m not an engineer or an economist.

Yes, I’ve heard educators speak against engineering of schooling and using cost-benefit analyses of learning. That talk grew out of beliefs about how people flower and experiences of intellectuals who lived through the Hitler, Tito, Stalin, and other dictator dogmas.

I think engineers, especially software developers as small business owners, have much to offer to increase learning efficiency in schools.

Tablet PC Education: It’s hard for me to imagine teachers who would want to take part in your New Era School Initiative. They’d be under constant watch by computers, every second of every lesson every school day. Where do you find teachers for your school?

Doynit: We have more applicants to teach in this school than for any other school in the district. Most applicants for the New Era School are younger teachers. They’re digital natives, having grown up with PCs, smart cell phones, and other electronic devices.

Having said that, we will not hire or retain any teacher in the district who does not use Tablet and other mobile PCs in their classes. They must demonstrate their competence during pre-hiring interviews. And, they must be open to using future advancing technologies with all learners assigned to them.

Experimental empirical studies have revealed that students of non-users, on average, do not learn as much as fast as do Tablet using students of Tablet using teachers.

Tablet PC Education: All teachers in the district must use Tablets? That sounds dictatorial, not like the way most teachers think of working in a public school. How did that decision come about? How did you get teachers to agree with that decision?

Doynit: It’s taken several years for us to meet this criterion. Some teachers left the district. Others adapted their behavior patterns so that they use Tablets daily.

Since the introduction of Tablet PCs into the commercial market in 2002 and the adoption of them first at the Bishop Hartley High School the following year, teacher and other learning leaders have seen their utility for learning. We have had no shortage of qualified applicants.

Tablet PC Education: I’m surprised with the pool of qualified teachers you describe. How do you account for it?

Doynit: Over the two years leading up to the New Era School Initiative, people from our district have made our qualifications and aspirations public. We have recruited from specific teacher prep programs, through consultants who identify teachers open to transferring to our program, and through word of mouth, so called teacher social networks. Beyond that, I cannot explain why we have so many excellent applicants.

Tablet PC Education: Do your applicants have any common attributes besides using Tablet PCs and their age?

Doynit: We’re examining that now with a team of researchers at Normal University.

Another thing I did not mention is that all New Era School teachers must have a record of at least three years of successful full time employment in a non-education industry. We want people who have hands on familiarity with how to make tangible widgets and who will translate that into daily lessons.

All of our teachers have a zest for technology, have learned with electronic technology, and seem to find similar interest among their students. I hope this is an emerging trend in teacher prep programs.

And we pay them a signing bonus to help with transfer expenses and premium salaries, above the state mean, in order to retain them.

Tablet PC Education: This sounds like what teachers have asked for in the past.

What are you excited about in the future of education? What can you tell us that readers do not know about your NESI?

Doynit: You have a well informed readership. I don’t know if I can describe anything that some, if not all, don’t already know. Without giving details, maybe these ideas will address your question.

Teachers and university people are working on how to implement these ideas, for example.

Our attorneys tell us that our student learning database provides a way to defend teachers accused of instructional malpractice, legal challenges we expect non-Tablet using teachers to encounter increasingly.

School boards will increase funding for mobile computers and hold steady funding of personnel lines, including for instructional staff.

Teacher roles will continue to shift from primary learning gatekeepers to learning analysts, learning software developers, and learning coaches across many venues.

(ED: End of Interview Part 3; see Part 4 for the conclusion of this interview.)


Accelerated K12 Mobile Learning: Press Release http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/02/accelerated-k12-mobile-learning-press.html

Accelerated Learning Interview http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/02/accelerated-learning-interview.html

Accelerated Learning Interview Part 2 http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/02/accelerated-learning-interview-part-2.html

Posted by The Tablet PC In Education Blog March 7, 2009, at 9:11 AM. (Retrieved April 11, 2010 at 3:05PM.) http://www.robertheiny.com/2009/03/accelerated-learning-interview-part-3.html

Robert Heiny
Robert Heinyhttp://www.robertheiny.com
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in The Encyclopedia of Education (1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for TuxReports.com.

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