Posted in Teaching

How hyperdocs worked for my dual language classroom

Screenshot 2017-08-07 at 3.29.43 PMThis last winter break I attended Matt Miller’s Ditch that Conference  and learned sooo much!


One of the days he had as guests the Hyperdoc Girls Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis, authors of  The Hyperdoc Handbook.

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So I went out and purchased it on Kindle and got right in to figuring out how to use a hyperdoc in my classroom.

In case you don’t know what a hyperdoc is, I’ll give you a quick description. It is an all-in-one lesson for students to jump into and go through at their own pace. It can be created in Google docs (the ‘doc’ part of the name), or slides. The teacher follows the format of generating interest with a hook like an embeded video or even an in-class live demo, then students are guided with hyperlinks embeded in the hyperdoc (that’s the ‘hyper’ part of the name) to go explore and learn about the topic. They are prompted along the way to answer questions or create a product. At the end of the lesson they are to demonstrate their learning in a concrete way through a presentation, video, blog post or other creative format, preferably then to be shared with the class, school or the world 🙂

So in my class, I went to the website that the Hyperdoc Girls set up for teachers to share their hyperdocs on called Teachers Give Teachers, and chose one that had lots of color and an interesting format and went to town creating a lesson for my students to learn about molecular movement and phase changes. I chose the 5E’s Template because our district has been focusing on this style of lesson planning for science classes.

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My first attempt at hyperdocs

I assigned this in Google classroom and sat back to watch the fun… But for many of the students, it was not so fun. There were so many confused looks and questions that I was circulating around the room the whole class period explaining to individuals what they were supposed to do at each step. I learned very quickly that introducing this sort of self-directed lesson to students who didn’t normally read directions all the way through before starting in on something or who hadn’t had access to technology, was too much too soon.

So I had to modify the things that they did after exploring the first two sections of the hyperdoc to accomodate their lack of experience.

I had to teach them to be independent learners again. They had unlearned this between babyhood and 7th grade. It seems that this complicated of a hyperdoc with so many new things to do needed to be broken down into separate parts or given in a simpler format.

My next attempt at a hyperdoc was with an Explore, Explain, Apply doc with a much simpler, but still rigorous process to follow. This one I used for my 7th and 8th graders in four different iterations, as seen below:

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Students performed much better on this format. It was simple and a little more like a worksheet in some aspects. This I didn’t like so much as they tend to copy answers from each other, especially on the What is a theory Apply section. The others had an acutal project to do for the apply section so that made it more individualized.

So what did I learn? For sure, when you introduce hyperdocs you need to take into account whether your students have done some of the things that you are asking them to do in the hyperdoc. Start simple with the explore, explain, apply and then move on to something more complex like the 5E’s one I made. Once your students become familiar with more tools on the web, add these to your hyperdocs and watch them wow you!