The Next Evolution - #Hyperdocs

This summer I decided to take a Hyperdoc online course. Not only would we receive a copy of The Hyperdoc Handbook, we would also participate in weekly Google Hangouts, discuss our questions and Aha Moments with our cohort, partner with subject/grade level educators, and create our own Hyperdocs.

My Aha Moment did not come until the third assignment when we created our first hyperdoc. Up to that time, I had nagging thoughts: What makes a hyperdoc different from previous technology related lessons? What is all the hype?

I have used some form of technology in my classroom since I started teaching in 2000. In the beginning, "ed tech" was simply displaying a PowerPoint on a big screen TV.

2006 SMARTboards

In 2006, I begged for and received an expensive SMARTboard. A SMARTboard was an interactive board placed in front of my classroom. Think of it as an iPad, with less function, on the wall. 

I loved creating SMART Notebook lessons. Some of the lessons would bring student volunteers to the front of the class to interact with the lesson, but most of the lessons simply replaced PowerPoints. Creating the SMART Notebook lessons helped me to visualize how the lesson would work. At one point, our district adopted an expensive Share website so that teachers could build on each other's work.

SMART Notebook lessons helped me organize lessons, but for this English teacher, they were basically interactive PowerPoints.
This SMART Notebook lesson, created in May 2012, included recorded audio examples of tone with an interactive answer checker.
SMARTtech has since evolved their products, but in all honesty, I moved away from SMART lessons in 2012 when My Big Campus entered my classroom.

2012 My Big Campus LMS

My Big Campus was (it will cease to exist July 2016) the next evolution. It was an educational social media platform that allowed teachers to digitize lessons and for students to write social media-like messages in a safe environment. I was a certified trainer for the LMS and a strong advocate. I loved how once isolated lessons were shared with students, who chose to work on the lessons outside our metaphorical brick walls.

While My Big Campus did provide a safe environment to teach digital citizenship, the lessons were just digitized worksheets. Instead of running the copy machine, we linked to online resources. Thus, students had access to more research and multimedia text sets. Teachers could even share their work with other educators in the U.S. and beyond.

With My Big Campus, students now had access to lessons both at school and beyond our metaphorical brick walls.
Digitized lessons included opportunities for blended learning, choice assignments, Google Apps, and group presentations.

After a few years, the LMS was not free. The developers, people I considered good friends, had to make money too. When a free Google Classroom came onto the scene, the paid LMS wasn't needed anymore.

2016 Hyperdocs

For the past year and a half, my class has been completely GAFE. Instead of lesson "Bundles," I packaged lessons in Google Slides with hyperlinks to additional resources. All was well.

Then I read about #Hyperdocs and Teachers Give Teachers. Intrigued with a new evolution in lesson planning, I enrolled in the online course and received the newly published book via mail. I particularly liked how the focus was on student learning, not teaching technology skills.

For the first two weeks, I watched the Google Hangouts, participated in online discussions, completed my first multimedia text set, and read the book. Chapter 3 was my favorite because it not only introduced new online apps, but also explained  how each app related to Four Cs, ISTE Standards, DOK, and SAMR.

After last Thursday's third Google Hangout, I started to visualize how hyperdocs could be used with my students. On Sunday, I was inspired to take a previous Frederick Douglass lesson and turn it into my first hyperdoc lesson.
Hyperdocs are the next evolution of student learning where students become creators, not just consumers of information.

My Aha Moment

Hyperdocs help us organize our lessons like SMART Notebook did, create student multimedia text sets like My Big Campus did, AND provide opportunities to make students creators of information.

Hyperdocs can be digitized worksheets, but also they open the door for teachers to create digital learning. Digitized worksheets do not provide any new information or assessment. They are not bad, but as Kim Meldrum writes in her book Assessment That Matters, digitized worksheets should not be how we assess student learning. Hyperdocs offer educators a method to organize lessons and a means for students to demonstrate learning. 

Class Application

Because I am teaching Summer School, I have already had the opportunity to use Multimedia Text Sets and Tools to Create with 7th graders, all in a blended learning environment.

Students engage in Face-to-Face discussion about the class novel.
#chipmansummer students work at their own pace to complete multimedia text sets before creating student selected projects to demonstrate learning.

Last week, I gave direct instruction on how to think critically about the novel and write text-dependent answers. Students read their novels away from the computers. They were given opportunities to meet Face-to-Face with their classmates. Students even worked independently on multimedia text sets.

Hyperdocs allowed me the time to work in small groups at the back table with students who needed further instruction, modeling, and discussion opportunities. Those students who were ready to move on did! They learned (on their own) how to create Powtoons, Soundtrap music, and Google Sheets about the class novel Deadly. This past week truly has been transformative thanks to the online Hyperdocs course.

Conclusion Regarding the Next Evolution

I have shared my first completed hyperdoc with my partners who have challenged me to think about how students take their notes. I have posted the same lesson on Teachers Give Teachers knowing that the Google Doc can easily be updated as it is tested in the classroom.

I am by no means an expert, but I am fortunate to have great instructors, a cohort, and subject/grade level partners to help me with this new evolution in student learning.


  1. Jennifer,
    Thanks for sharing! Your work is truly inspiring. Keep on sharing. I am definitely coming back here :)


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