Monday, December 19, 2016

Do You Even HyperDoc?

My favorite thing lately is the HyperDoc. You probably use elements of HyperDocs in your classroom in some form or another, and didn't even know it.
"HyperDoc is a term used to describe a Google Doc that contains an innovative lesson for students- a 21st Century worksheet, but much better." 
I found a great website that goes into depth about the definition, philosophy, and structure of HyperDocs (a best practices overview) over at - I've been re-vamping many of my units into the HyperDoc format, and I really love the simplicity of it.

Here's where it started: I was noticing that my Google Classroom assignments were becoming a bit of a jumble of attachments to videos, rubric doc files, web resources, and templates for work. Then, in the middle of a unit, I'd find another relevant resource, and I'd go add it to the assignment by editing it and adding yet another link, or adding a comment with the link on the assignment. This gets really confusing for students really quickly. Even for 8th graders.

My light bulb moment came while I was going over the Google training information for the Certified Educator program, and I came across the concept of a HyperDoc. Why hadn't I thought of this earlier? I can put everything students need for a lesson into one doc shared to students and it will always be updated, because Google Docs! No more attaching a zillion things to my assignments.


Best practices for a HyperDoc follow the basic components listed above. I'm also a pretty big sucker for formatting - making the doc very easy to read and follow; using tables, images, fonts, and colors to emphasize important aspects as needed. But easy to read/ease of use is number one.

I'm constantly going back over my worksheets and digital resources to update and re-vamp them, so a shared Google Doc that constantly syncs to all of my updates and revisions is really the best thing ever. I made a HyperDoc for my 8th grade WeVideo unit, and I love the fact that I can update my student examples as time goes on - the projects just keep getting better and better, and therefore so do my examples! 

Here are some screenshots from my WeVideo HyperDoc:

A good majority of the links here can only be accessed from within my district network, so a screengrab will have to suffice.

The only part that's kind of frustrating is that YouTube is currently blocked for all of our middle school students. Even if I use SafeShare to get a "clean" view of a video, the view is still blocked because it originates from YouTube. 

What I do in these cases is show the video to the whole class, since my teacher access is not blocked. I still keep my video links in there, so that a student could access it from home, if needed.

You can create a HyperDoc and have students make their own copies so that they can work directly on the doc, and then submit the copies to you via Google Classroom, email, or any other preferred method. I like to use my HyperDoc as a main hub for directions and resource material, with work completed and submitted via separate files (like our WeVideo project file) submitted via Google Classroom where the HyperDoc is posted. The nice thing about my view-only method is that students will always see the most updated version, even if I have to make changes/additions during the unit. (As soon as a student makes a copy of your Doc, it becomes a separate file and does not update. Not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of.)  

For even more on using HyperDocs in the classroom, check out this blog post by Justin Birckbichler.

Have you used HyperDocs in class before? What worked for you?

- Mrs. L.

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