In October 2016, I had the opportunity to attend the Google Innovator Academy in Toronto. Along with the amazing experience and a newly formed tribe I returned home with a copy of The HyperDoc Handbook by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis. I started reading the book on the flight home. By the time I landed in Texas, I knew I had to share this book with the teachers at my school through a book study.
If you are unfamiliar with HyperDocs, they are an interactive way to use GSuite and other tools to package student learning and support collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creation. Book study participant, Assistant Principal Christie Lawson explains, “As I look through sample Hyperdocs, my new idea about how to describe a HyperDoc is that it is a way to organize a lesson to include resources, tasks, and products in a way that is visually appealing and not overwhelming.” HyperDocs appealed to us because we work in a 1:1 iPad environment with movement towards a Project-based Learning mindset. Teachers have been struggling with ways to organize and give student ownership of their learning. HyperDocs seem like an obvious solution.
The foreword to the book is written by student Jordan Moldenhauer, which really spoke to me. We, collective educators, look at school initiatives too many times from our side of the fence. Although “student-centered” has been an education buzzword for several decades, we still see too much teacher-centered instruction. Hearing the voice of a student is refreshing. Her suggestion that teaching students to figure it out is so very important. We have to stop spoon feeding and teach them to feed themselves. HyperDocs seem like an obvious solution.
One of the major challenges I faced in the classroom was meeting the varied needs of my students. History Teacher, Cheryl Thornhill, shared “I have many ESL, 504, SPED, and GT students and having HyperDocs tailor to each person's needs is very appealing to me...I am excited that I can create something that can tailor to each person's needs since it is a struggle I have with my classes.” The need for customization in instruction becomes more important as the movement towards personalized learning increases. HyperDocs seem like an obvious solution.
Encouraging collaboration across a large organization is challenging. The potential for effective HyperDocs use throughout our school district is unlimited. Their addition to curriculum planning, professional development, and faculty meetings could give all stakeholders more flexibility and voice in what sometimes seems to be a top down endeavor. HyperDocs seem like an obvious solution.
The HyperDocs Handbook is a great read and resource book. It has the potential to change teachers and their classrooms, schools and the way they work together. HyperDocs have been so positively embraced by the education community that many online resources, including the HyperDocs website, are available. Read the book, search the web, but make and use HyperDocs. They will change the way you teach.
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