How to use hyperdocs in the classroom

I teach in a school that is 1:1 with Chromebooks, and I love how Google Classroom, drive, and docs make teaching and learning so much more efficient. I’m a type-B teacher with an “organized mess” philosophy, but technology has helped me organize my materials and make them more accessible to my students. My Google drive is organized, numbered, and color coded, with folders and sub folders galore. My real teaching desk…now that’s a different story. While I might be a hot mess half of the time, I have mastered the digital organization game. I have experimented with different ways to compile and share resources with students through Google Classroom, but my absolute favorite is using hyperdocs (a term coined by educators Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis). When sharing resources, mini-lessons, and links with my students, I always have two goals, and hyperdocs check both on my list:

  1. Make the resources as ACCESSIBLE as possible for my students.
  2. Make the process as EFFICIENT as possible for me.

Technology that makes life easier for me AND my students? Sign me up! But the benefits don’t stop there. Hyperdocs are innovative, student-centered tools that provide scaffolding, differentiation, and enrichment for 21st century learners.

How to use hyperdocs in the classroom

BUT FIRST, WHAT IS A HYPERDOC?

Hyperdocs take accessibility and efficiency to the max because they allow you to compile all resources in a more user-friendly, convenient spot, a Google doc. In its most simple form, that’s all a hyperdoc is: a Google doc with multiple hyperlinks to other docs, resources, websites, etc. All you have to do is share the doc ONCE, and then your students will have access to as many resources as you add.

An example of a hyperdoc in my classroom

This is an example of a hyperdoc for my rhetoric unit in American Literature.

If it sounds too easy, that’s because it is. The hyperdoc is incredibly simple, but so efficient. You can dress it up: Some teachers use hyperdocs as digital portals for lessons or entire units. Or you can dress it down and use it in its most simple, but innovative form, like me: I use the hyperdoc as a resource hub. Either way, hyperdocs can transform your teaching.

I’m always telling my students just how lucky they are to have technology to support their learning.”You have the entire internet at your fingertips!” right?! Well, despite the wealth of resources on the screen before them, I’ve found that my students don’t always know how to navigate the internet to find what they need. Even when Google is red-squiggly-underlining a word they’ve misspelled, students still don’t take advantage of their resources. Thankfully, hyperdocs help solve this perpetual problem, because they give students no excuses. Everything is right where students need it!

HOW I USE HYPERDOCS

I use a very simple but efficient version of a hyperdoc. For me, it’s a way to curate resources for my students. I create a hyperdoc for each unit, and I link up any and all resources that my students could possibly need. I make sure to add resources for struggling AND advanced students, so it’s also a way to differentiate. I categorize my resources so that students can easily find what they need. 

Another plus is that hyperdocs allow me to respond to already answered questions with a simple “It’s on the hyperdoc.” Through hyperdocs, I can foster independence and teach students the important skill of utilizing online resources, which is precisely what they will be asked to do in college and careers. 

In fact, the other day, a former student, who is now a senior taking a dual credit college English class, asked me, “Hey, Miss G! Do you still have that doc with all of that stuff for ethos, pathos, and logos?” I beamed when I realized he was asking to use my little old hyperdoc for his college class, and I happily re-shared the doc with him.

USING HYPERDOCS DURING WRITING WORKSHOP

Hyperdocs are especially helpful while facilitating writing workshop. Any time I teach one of my writing minilessons or use a mentor text, I link it up on the hyperdoc. I also provide links to helpful pages from the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) and more.

The writing process is discursive, messy, and unique to each writer, so a hyperdoc is the perfect way to accommodate all of your writers, no matter where they are in the process. This collection of resources allows students to work through the writing process at their own pace, and it allows you more flexibility to conference with writers. 

HOW TO CREATE A HYPERDOC:

If you’re ready to be hooked on hyperdocs, here’s how to create one! You’ll be astonished at how easy it is! The best part: Once you’ve created your hyperdoc, you can re-share and re-use it time and time again. These instructions are for creating a Google hyperdoc, but you could just as easily create one in a Word doc.

1. Create a Google doc.

2. If needed, type to create categories to organize your resources. I usually type category names in a larger, bold font.

How to create hyperdocs for the classroom

This is what pops up after you go to “Insert” and select “Link” (or use the shortcut ctrl + k). Paste the URL in the “Link” field and then type the text you want to appear in the “Text” field.

3. Add links in each category. You can copy/paste the URL, but your hyperdoc will appear more clean and organize if you insert links. Use the shortcut ctrl + k OR Go to “Insert” on the top menu, and scroll down to “Link.” Simply paste the URL in the bottom field, and then type out the text that you want to appear. 

4. You can edit the text and formatting to make your hyperdoc as fancy and user-friendly as you want.

5. Share the doc (view only) with your students through your LMS (learning management system). I post mine as a “Resource” on the Classwork page of Google Classroom.

Happy hyperdoc-ing! I hope that you and your students are hooked on hyperdocs soon!

If you liked these Google Classroom tech tips, check out this post: 7 ways to use Google Classroom “Ask a question” feature

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