I have not been shy about sharing my love of Teaching With #HyperDocs on this blog and anyone who follows me on social media knows that creating my own #HyperDoc templates last year made pandemic teaching easier for me and pandemic learning easier for my students. While my #HyperDoc evangelism has brought some into the HyperDoc community, I know many remain unconvinced of the awesomeness of HyperDocs and so I am going to share three ways that HyperDocs have made life easier for me and my students over the last week.
Coping With Life
Last week was rough for me. The combination of brutal allergies, a professional crisis, and the continuing exhaustion of living and teaching in a pandemic created a perfect storm. I found it difficult to manage my professional demands because I was just exhausted and generally unwell. We all get sick, exhausted, and/or depressed from time to time and living/teaching during a pandemic only seems to make things worse. It is also difficult during a pandemic to step away from the classroom not that it was easy before. HyperDocs have made a tremendous difference during these times. When planning for the big picture (a unit or semester) HyperDocs help me focus on a specific objective and provide an useful framework to guide my thinking and preparation process. When zooming in to plan an activity or class meeting HyperDocs offer a structure and helpful tools to support collaboration and work with my students. HyperDocs help me battle through the decision fatigue of pandemic teaching and living. HyperDocs are not a silver bullet solution to all that ails education today, but they are a multi-purpose survival tool that makes living while teaching easier.
Coping While Learning
Every year that I have been a teacher there have been students who disappear from class or miss big chunks of time (and work) due to a wide range of health and life events from serious illness to accident to family emergencies. As we enter our 19th month of pandemic teaching and learning, especially now with Delta running wild, the number of students gone missing for a while has only increased. I have had a steady stream of students battling COVID but also others struggling with college and life transitions, mental health, and job stress. HyperDocs make it easier for those students to catch up with their work because the lessons and activities exist outside of classroom time and space. HyperDocs make it easier for me to help those students without requiring me to repeat my work. In fact, because my HyperDoc templates include a unit logbook, which serves as both a portfolio of student work and a studio for collaboration, the student struggling to catch up has a wide range of mentor texts and practical tips to guide their work. HyperDocs make it easier for me to help my students get back on track while not overwhelming my depleted resources.
Coping While Teaching
Community is important to me for many reasons and I have found that the connections and cooperation supported by HyperDocs is an amazing benefit. This supports students but it also makes my job easier. I adore logbooks and love how easy it is to quickly check in with students’ thinking and progress. While last week’s malaise meant that I fell behind with feedback, it was easy to catch up this week. In fact, missing several days of feedback also demonstrated to me that I am not as necessary to the community of writers as we all thought when we first began. Logbooks make it easy for me to see both the big picture of how a class in general is working through our current activity and unit as well as focus in on the progress of one student at a time as needed. HyperDocs make just-in-time support, feedback, and instruction more readily available to students.
At my institution we are not quite to midterm yet but we have already hit the midterm wall. So many of the students and instructors I speak with have hit the level of bone tired you expect to see in April not September. Pandemic living, learning, and teaching has taken its toll. We owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our students to shift the cognitive load required by our classes to directly support learning and HyperDocs make that process easier for instructors while supporting learning and community. I am a HyperDocs evangelist because HyperDocs helped me become a better teacher before the pandemic and now HyperDocs are helping me survive teaching in the pandemic classroom.
Notes: You can learn more about my love for #HyperDocs and the benefits of Teaching With #HyperDocs in previous posts. I also described my process of creating my HyperDoc templates for my unit plan, weekly plan, and lesson plan in these posts. Finally, I note how I have further improved on those templates and how I use them in my classroom.