After a summer of working with Curriculum Pathways, my list of awesome EdTech resources has grown considerably. As all teachers know, one of the best ways to add tools to our toolboxes comes from time with our peers, time to explore and plan--both of which are in short supply during the school year. While specific tools for specific standards and activities are exciting, perhaps the greatest impact on my classroom may come in the deceptively simple HyperDoc package.
One of my colleagues recently showed me The HyperDoc Handbook. We were so impressed that we bought our own copies that same day, and we've spent many productive hours researching what's available and adding new materials. Much more than a document with links, HyperDocs are student-driven learning tools embedded with sound pedagogical practices and 21st-century technology. I am now thoroughly obsessed and admittedly “hyper” about a tool that enables teachers to organize and design content that engages students. I could go on and on about why HyperDocs have a place in the classroom, but here the three most important reasons.
HyperDocs begin with the end in mind: embedded in their structure are the elements necessary for guiding students through the content. Unlike slideshows or projections, HyperDocs let students control content delivery. As in a flipped classroom, students “drive” at their own pace and can pause, refresh, or review content as necessary. HyperDocs are essentially customized pages in a constantly updating digital textbook; every day you'll find new tools that enhance learning. In addition, teachers can add content from multiple sources--like those found at Curriculum Pathways. Teachers can also use Symbaloo, ThingLink, Buncee, or Picktochart to add visual appeal to WebQuest-like packages with links to the lesson or unit HyperDoc. Another option is to use the Knight Lab to create timelines like the one I created here for a history HyperDoc on the Integration of the University of Mississippi.
Because many schools have limited resources, attempts to implement technology can prove less than functional or ideal. Nonetheless, teachers find ways to incorporate technology, and they know the importance of collaboration. HyperDocs offer the opportunity to collaborate—even if 1:1 devices aren't available. Google for Education apps seamlessly allow for sharing, editing, and collaboration—regardless of your tech expertise or school resources. New extensions, apps, and tools are constantly innovating the way students engage in classrooms, and with HyperDocs you can effortlessly package them all. Check out Padlet, AnswerGarden, Lino.it, Twiddla, TodaysMeet, Socrative, Slack, and Scoot&Doodle—all of which encourage students to collaborate in new ways.
Confession: I am ALL about the design and delivery. I resist tasks that should take 10 minutes to deliver but end up taking hours. I’m not easily satisfied with design elements and visuals, and I spend a lot of time making sure my resources are student-friendly and attractive. In addition to allowing me to be creative with both the visual and lesson design, HyperDocs encourage students to be creative as well. That's because HyperDocs are designed with students in mind, and their responses, activities, and interactions inspire teachers to consider creativity in a new way. See for yourself by clicking through my Southern Dilemma HyperDoc.
The HyperDocs Handbook was created by three talented teachers. In the same spirit, they started TeachersGiveTeachers—a site where teachers can search for HyperDoc resources and upload their own creations. Just like Curriculum Pathways, they are free, adaptable, and available in all levels and disciplines. Having just uploaded my first one and filled a folder with templates and ELA HyperDocs created by other teachers, I am officially hooked.