What are HyperDocs?

I was skeptical about Hyperdocs…

This summer I recently went through training to become Google Educator Level I  certified.  The trainer was great.  She led us through all of the appropriate categories and gave us challenges to do to increase our learning.  I ended up passing the test and was so excited to be learning more and more about how I could bring technology to my students.

As a learner, to fully comprehend what I have learned though, I need to actually apply it to a real-life activity.  So, I did.  I was skeptical.  In the end, I was astonished!  My first Hyperdoc was a semi-success!

Let me explain…

Over the course of the summer, several books were recommended to me to read.  All went along with bringing tech and social media into the classroom.  Among them was a book called the Hyperdoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps.  The authors, Lisa Highfill and Kelly Hilton, were quick to assure me that this was not a new idea…just an old one that had been refreshed.

I was intrigued by the idea that I could create a document to teach my students, in a way that they like to learn!  I really was skeptical.  Questions kept rolling through my head.  What about the textbook?  Everyone knows that you can’t veer too far away from the textbook!  What about my principal?  Would he freak out on my if he found out I was helping kids learn…by themselves?!  Would this REALLY work?  What if my kids couldn’t handle the technology part of it?

What I did was…

As I thought more and more about how I was going to approach this idea, I came to a decision.  I was just going to jump right in!  Why not?  I would either sink…or learn how to swim.

To create my very first Hyperdoc, I went exactly by the book Hyperdoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps.  There are about 5 constant sections to each Hyperdoc that help lead students through a lesson.  So, I created my tables, added the colors I like, but some Bitmojis in there, and I was off!

When it came time for the students to actually get into the Hyperdoc, of course it was chaotic!  That may be an understatement!  I had thought ahead and had every students login written down on a sheet of paper, then I led them through the steps of joining my Google Classroom, and opening the Hyperdoc and related materials.  With my help and the help of their neighbors, we eventually got everyone logged in and signed up.

The students were as excited as I was about this new learning experience.  I was super excited to be able to add some fun videos that students could watch…and process…on an individual basis.  It is easy to show neat videos to a whole class, but sometimes behavior gets in the way of learning when I do that.  Students get off task and it takes a while to wrangle them back in!

With every student wearing their own headphones…it was much easier.  Students could still dance around in their seats to the beat of the music in the video, but they were in their own “world” so to speak.

Another addition to my Hyperdoc was simple questions to be answered.  By linking the video at the top of the table that also had my questions, I was able to keep things organized for the students to easily see.  For students to get the correct answer to some of the questions I asked, they may have had to watch the short video 5-6 times.  In some instances, I gave them help by giving the time during the video where the answer could be found.  Other times, I didn’t.

What I found…

I really was astounded by the learning that took place within this experimental activity of mine!  I found that students learned–and remembered–the material!  When I graded the papers, again in Google Classroom, I was able to see their learning and their mistakes.  And even my own mistakes!

Within this Hyperdoc, I had added a section from the next chapter in our History books.  Gasp!  I had never taught the two sections together, even though they go together.  The students were able to learn that material, and I got through the second chapter a lot quicker than normal!

I had taught that second chapter several different ways…with cute worksheets that we glued into our interactive notebooks, with students making maps during our PBL projects.  But they have never caught on the way they did after completing this Hyperdoc.  I was floored, to say the least!

Another MAJOR advantage to using Hyperdocs is the ability to differentiate.  Google has so many extensions that are wonderful to use with lower achieving students.  In this particular Hyperdoc, I added the extension Read & Write for Google Chrome.  This extension will read what is on a computer screen!  I only had to show my students what to do and they were off working on their own.

Now, how awesome is that?  I could leave the students to their learning, while monitoring the classroom and working with students who needed help–on an INDIVIDUAL basis! It was like being in 3 places at once…simply amazing!

My higher students could get through the material at their own pace and even take the quiz on a Google form that I had embedded in their Classroom site.  They then could go on to do more learning on another topic, or work on an assignment for another class.  It really was a win-win for the students and myself!

There are a couple of drawbacks to using Hyperdocs, though they can be overcome quickly with practice.

One such drawback was the time it took to complete the assignment I made.  The time I had allotted for this assignment was two days.  I could have used a third day to feel absolutely certain that everyone finished.  That nasty little word in education–timelines–had me moving on to the next topic.

Another drawback that comes up at the very beginning is teaching students how to use the technology.  This is probably why it took so long for my lower students to get the work completed.  I was teaching them how to use the extensions, or simple things–like how to copy and paste.

For my low students, I was them to know this technique very well.  They already are usually struggling with how to read, and then when they have to spell things out when typing, they really can get frustrated.  So, I taught copy and paste.  I also taught them how to spell check if they needed to.  There really is no need for them to struggle.  I just want them to focus on and learn my social studies content.

I would like to share with you…

The Hyperdoc I created is about Geography for 5th graders.  If you would like to add this Hyperdoc to your Google Drive, I would like to share it with you!  This activity was definitely a learning activity for me and has inspired me to do more.  As the school year progresses, I look to add more and more of these little gems to my teaching arsenal.  Sign up for my email to get updates on the blog and follow me on Pinterest to get my free materials.

–Angela

PS.  If you would like to read the Hyperdoc Handbook, click here to purchase.  It is a quick read and the authors make it very simple to understand what each component of the Hyperdoc should do.  If you are looking for a new way to bring old material to your students, or to differentiate for low or high students, you won’t be disappointed.

 

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