What’s New? This is the fifth summer that the #hyperdoc has played a central role in the Morehead Writing Project’s Online Summer Institute and every summer I rejoice in the number of teachers who join me in this love affair. The hyperdoc community of educators is expansive and constantly growing. You owe it to yourself to discover what hyperdocs can do for you and your students.
Original: As I noted in a previous post, I became intrigued by the idea of HyperDocs late in 2017 and I began to use them in the classroom during the Spring 2018 semester. However, it was not until my summer classes that I really developed my HyperDoc game. The more that I use HyperDocs in my classroom and with teachers, the more I have become a #HyperDoc evangelist.
Before I share my reasons for all the HyperDoc love, a brief introduction: HyperDocs, for the uninitiated, are simply that – Google documents with hyperlinks – but they are much more than a simple worksheet rendered in electronic form. They should also inspire reflection and interaction and give students room to explore and experiment. HyperDocs are not worksheets – they are a pedagogical tool! Check out some examples:
If you are ready to learn more then check out information and resources from the teachers who wrote the HyperDoc book and this HyperDoc playlist I created for Morehead Writing Project. Then when you are ready to jump in and create (or hack) your own HyperDoc here are some handy tips for getting started:
But if you are still on the fence about whether or not HyperDocs are right for you and your students, here are three reasons that I love teaching with HyperDocs.
Big Picture Thinking
I strive to be strategic about every lesson and every class activity. While we may be working on a very specific strategy to address a very specific (and recently observed) writing challenge my students face, you better believe the reading and writing involved also serves a bigger purpose and can be used for a later assignment. HyperDocs really help me see the big picture for each lesson because it is all laid out in nice colorful chunks so I can see the full scope of the work. I haven’t asked my students but I suspect it helps them see the big picture as well. There are a variety of different learning cycles used by HyperDoc educators and you can choose the framework that works best for you and your students in your current teaching context. I love that HyperDoc templates and models help me think about the components that I want to use for a specific lesson and then arrange those pieces into an arc that leads my students exactly where I want them to be.
One of the beautiful things about having that big picture road map spread out before you is that you can then zoom into each task chunk to help you make sure you have the Goldilocks of pedagogy — not too much, not too little, but just right! Each specific component or chunk or section of your HyperDoc should serve one specific purpose and focusing on each specific chunk in turn really helps me hone my lessons and materials so I am providing just the right amount of practice or material.
The more that I think about HyperDocs as a road map the more I like the metaphor. HyperDocs are a sort of itinerary, but students have choices so they can opt for a faster, more streamlined journey on an expressway or a meandering journey on backroads with stops wherever something catches their eye. Good HyperDocs give students some leeway about how much time they spend at each stop. However, HyperDocs help the instructor and the student see and understand the necessary components of each learning journey. There is not just a dump of information but there is also practice and experimentation. Even more important good HyperDocs include interaction with others so students can see how others chose to craft their journey and reflection so students can record their learning journey and its impact upon them. HyperDocs help me find the right balance to support my students’ learning journeys.
HyperDocs have helped make me a better teacher because they have forced me to really think about my pedagogy and my practice. HyperDocs help me see the big picture, zoom into the components of my lessons, and strike a better balance and that’s why I love teaching with HyperDocs. Have you tried HyperDocs yet? What is your experience?