Learn more about Hyperdocs
Hi everyone. And welcome to the effective teaching podcast. Today is episode 83, and we are going to be talking with Lisa Highfill about all things HyperDocs. Now Lisa is the co-author of the HyperDocs handbook. She came up with the HyperDocs terminology with the same people who wrote the book with her, the whole, the whole HyperDocs Academy and everything that’s linked to hyperdocs.co Lisa has had a hand in, so she’s here to talk about HyperDocs and how it links with lifelong learning. Well, thank you so much, Lisa, for coming and joining me on the podcast.
Thank you so much. I love that I’ve been invited. This is exciting.
Now Lisa, you are the co-author of the HyperDocs handbook and co-founder of everything HyperDocs really, the name, the Academy, the hyperdocs.co website and everything that’s connected to it. Now, can you just tell us a little bit about what a hyperdoc actually is?
Yeah. So I do have to give credit to Sarah Landis and Kelly Hilton who were coauthors and co-founders of HyperDocs and our newest partner, David Hotler, who has done all of our work on our new Academy, but just had to give them a little shout out there. So, a HyperDoc is a digital lesson that a teacher creates with purposeful intention and gives to their students, in, in, in, in order for them to accomplish whatever layers of learning that the teacher has put together on this document. So it, some people mistaken it for a digital worksheet, but it’s really all about how you deliver that content and what you packaged on that hyper doc.
Yeah. And now when we talk about your hyperdocs as this not a digital worksheet, it’s definitely not a digital worksheet. I often when I talk to teachers about HyperDocs, I talk to them about how it’s, it’s almost like a reverse lesson plan in the sense that it’s, it’s, it’s your whole lesson or your whole unit, or however you create them, but it’s designed for the student side of it so they can kind of work through it almost. I use them quite frequently for my, when I do flipped learning with a mastery approach where the students are progressing at their own rate. And so I kind of see it a bit like that, is that, am I selling it wrong?
Oh, for mastery learning. It’s great. Because what you want to do is you want to create it so that anyone could just pick it up and would know what to do. And it’s really about the, our templates that we have kind of framed them all after, because it changed a cycle of learning from just, this is why they’re not worksheets. And with the, just a list of here’s what you do. They actually start with the cycle of learning of explore first and then explain, and then apply your knowledge. So explore the content, build background knowledge, and collaborate with your classmates, that background knowledge before you get into that explanation that the big tell or the lecture, or, you know, your flip video, what it does when you reverse those two, that explore first before you explain, and you are, you’re activating that inquiry, thinking that inquiry learning also that curiosity, and it’s super important, to, shift your cycle of learning to that, because curiosity is a powerful driver for really good learning and what I call sticky learning, learning that really lasts beyond just your assessments. it gets kids, making those connections and finding meaning and driving into the rest of your lesson with that goal of, you know, solving some of those curiosities they had from that exploration. So you explore, then you explain where they get the explanation of your content. And then the apply part is very key to a HyperDocs it’s the, so what now? What, so you learn this, show me what, you know, in some authentic way. if possible.
Yeah, now. If I’m going to use a hot griddle, so it kind of have a bit more of an idea of what it is. How do you actually go about the process of setting one up?
So you first think, how do I want to package this? And we go back and forth because I know they’re called HyperDocs. And a lot of people think that means it’s a Google doc, but actually we call them doc HyperDocs cause hyper being alive and a doc being a document. So you could package it on slides. You could package it in, Microsoft, suite of tools. one note you could, I’ve seen them, on websites packaged as long as when you open up that link, you know, the steps to do so, whether it’s labeled with explore, explain, apply, or, you know, our extended, document has engage and, you know, share, reflect also on it. But you would start by choosing your tool to package on. And it’s something that, can easily, have links, which is very important. It’s not something that you would print.
It’s something that you would give out digitally. And you would think about how to curate all of your best resources and put them packaged in one place. And that’s really important to the designing process so that anyone from kindergarten through adult learners would look at that and be able to click on it and find the tools they need to do the work you’re asking them to do. So if you were doing flipped instruction and your explain is the video, that video would be packaged right on the HyperDocs, whether it’s linked or if it’s, if you built it on slides, you can embed that video right in that section. So you begin that process by thinking about what do I want them to know? What is my essential question? And I build my explore and I, a bunch of my favorite resources, whether it’s articles or videos or podcasts, and I give them something that will, they’ll be really curious about. Sometimes it’s just a really, really amazing website, for example, have you seen windows swap, Check that out? And it’s the craziest video and you just see people’s video outside people’s windows, it’s 10 minute video, and then you go next window. And it goes to the next window. It takes you all over the world and you’re just looking out their window. Now that inspires so much thinking and curiosity in kids, if you keep going with it. And it led to this lesson that I did a view from your bubble, and they did amazing digital projects around sheltering in place and what it was like learning from where they were sheltering.
Okay. So we’re looking at how are we going to package it? And then what’s, what’s our next step. So we say, I choose to use Google slides, or I choose to do a website or whatever I’ve used. What’s next.
So once you have the lesson designed, you have to think about, does everyone need their own copy of this lesson? If yes, that would be because you’ve created spaces within the lesson for them to write answers or record their thinking. then you would maybe if you use Google classroom or you teach students how to make a copy of your, of your lessons, you could do it that way. I tend to like to make them view only. And so the kids don’t all need their own copy. If I want to collect their thinking throughout, I might link in after they explored that window swap, I might link in a Padlet and say, what did you discover? What are you now thinking? What, what did you learn from this experience? And then that way I don’t have to look at all the student’s HyperDocs separately.
I can have all their answers curated in one place. so I have to think about that, that workflow, that, how do I want to hear their responses? And, and can I do that in an efficient way? So I might add a Google form to collect answers or to have them turn in their work. I may just put the instructions, turn your final product into Google classroom, which a lot of teachers are using right now. and that’s a great way, as long as it’s, the instructions are explicitly linked. So at the end, when the kids say, I didn’t, I didn’t know where to turn it in and you’d say, Oh yes, you did. It was right there. All clearly labeled for you.
Yeah, no, I like the fact that you’re thinking through how you’re going to give it to them. If they think that you’re less than you’re detailing out that through your, whether it be a explore, explain, apply, or your longer one, that’s got the, you know, the sharing and reflecting and all that kind of stuff built in as well. And then you’re also thinking, you know, you’re, you’re, pre-thinking how you’re going to collect it from your students so that you then can see how they’re learning. You can do your formative assessment, they go, and that kind of stuff. Can you also explain to us when we are creating these HyperDocs and we’re getting our students to do it, how much, how much detail do I need to put into this hyper dog? Like how much work is it? You know, because teachers tend to be a little bit short on time. So is this like twice the amount of work, because I have to do a lesson plan for myself and then adjust that and do a whole lesson plan for my students, or is it, can I kind of save time somehow? How do I go about that?
I always think about this in, we have, you know, when we have a substitute teacher, it was framed around this. If we have a substitute, a guest teacher, I have to be out sick. And instead of writing sub plans for the guest teacher, I write, I create HyperDocs and give them straight to the students. So with, with, with that, idea, that question, one of the fastest and easiest ways to, if you’re wanting to design one is find one that’s already made around a topic that you wanted to teach, but if you’re anything like me and cooking, I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. I mean, I’m terrible. I always have to add my own seasoning, my own personality to it. Lesson design is the same way. So you would find a hyperdoc youlike file, make a copy, and then get out all the stuff that is not quality to your liking, to your goals or to the needs your students have.
That’s really important. You need to be designing them for the students you have in front of you, whether it’s raising the level of critical thinking or, putting in, a little more clear instructions. Now I have to warn you don’t put in too much writing because the students do not read your instructions ever. So you say enough that they could figure it out. And this is where I absolutely loved them. When the students come to me and say, I don’t know what to do. I’m always saying I can trust that. You can figure it out. I put all the information you need on that doc. And I leave some room for them to add their own thinking, because a lot of students, these days in the classrooms I’ve been working in kind of wait to be told what to do. They want to be right.
And I want them to take risks and really push themselves and kind of go out of the box. So in order to do that, I have to not be so specific. I have to not have to resist giving them a list of 10 things to do, because they know the only do those 10 things. So I might say, instead, show me everything that you know about this topic in your, in your canvas poster or whatever it is that they’re making. I did skip one piece though. I, I wanted to share when you, when you, edit and revise it and you make it for yourself, great way to start. And especially you don’t want to do all the design. You don’t have to give it to the kids and just let them run with it. A lot of people say, Oh my gosh, they’re done in like five minutes.
I definitely like to pace the students through. So I’m 4:00 AM. All right, day one. We’re just going to do the explore. And then I want you to stop. I don’t want you to move on. If you have students who just like to race through and just get work done. I might package my lessons then on slides and every day, add a new slide to that lesson. So they don’t see the Explore or the explain and the apply they have to wait for it. So it’s a good way to teach the kids to slow down and, you know, take a deep dive and be curious about the step we’re on.
Yeah. That’s also a way where you can expand it beyond just one lesson too. So it’s not just getting through these three or four steps in your lesson. You can actually do it across a whole week. And I like to do it even across the whole unit where you actually get more chance for them to go deeper. That kind of, there’s a bit of a repetition, I guess, but the explain that might be, know, explain, apply, explain, apply, and then another explore built in there, but creating that all together, I find really, really great for my students. And particularly I make them also do like some kind of formative assessment before they’re allowed to go on. So once they get to a particular point, one of the things they’ve got to do is come and show me their learning. And then I’ll say, all right, that’s fine.
You’ve understood that. And now you can keep going, because one of the things I find, if students are doing things at their own pace, they’ll just finish the tasks. If you were saying they finished the list of tasks and like, Oh, I’m done, but I’m like, but did you learn anything or did you just complete the task? So I want to make sure that they’re constantly learning. And so that actually brings me to the next question. How do you see HyperDocs helping our students then with their learning in the sense of training them to become lifelong learners?
I think that they have the ability to accomplish any of your learning goals. You want with kids based on how you design it. So if you want to inspire curiosity or excitement for learning, then you might, link up some things that really cause them to critically think and to manipulate in ways that they hadn’t had that opportunity. it, it encourages more independence, versus just sitting passively and listening, for students who struggle with learning, if you’ve got, embedded videos of your instructions, or you can put in even soundbites, the give instructions as you go through a lesson, it really helps all learners access the curriculin a way that suits their learning styles or their learning challenges. I think that’s a really important part to it. If I have students who are just learning English, I make sure that I have embedded lots of video so they can watch my instructions over and over again and listen, and even use the translate features in YouTube for that. I want students to have that agency for learning, and that’s what I try to build in those lessons where they have to sort of take control of, of their, what they’re doing. and put more thought into it than just answering, you know, questions, recall questions or summarizing what you’ve done. So,
Yeah, no, that’s beautiful. And then what things should our teachers do? Like our teachers gonna listen to this on probably Sunday night or Monday morning when their way to school. So what can they do this week to get started with these HyperDocs process?
Well, hopefully you’re curious about HyperDocs now what I did there. I’m really excited that, our, old website teachers give teachers, which we created right alongside HyperDocs, cause we knew these were time consuming to make it’s back. So we’ve taken about a year to redesign and rebuild it and you can find it at our hyperdocs.co website. I encourage you to go take a look and search, by your grade level or your topic, or just look at a bunch of them that are there. If you see when you like file, make a copy and begin that editing process and try it out with your students and get feedback from them. and a lot of times kids will say, Oh, I hate it. Just give me the worksheet. But sometimes they don’t like it cause you’ve caused them to do some harder thinking than, they just want to be done quickly. So
Yeah, I’m going to say I did use HyperDocs when I first started, I surveyed all my kids straight afterwards and a hundred percent of them actually said that they preferred the HyperDocs and the other process of being taught. So that’s really, I thought it was great. I mean, it was partly the way it was set up and all that goes up, but my students, they just, they loved it because they knew exactly what they were doing the whole way. They knew what was coming. They kind of had that overview. That’s kind of embedded in that whole process as well. So, that was really good. So thank you so much, Lisa, now can you tell me how can people come and connect with you or connect with HyperDocs obviously there’s hyperdocs.co. Is there anywhere else where they can come to check you out or check out any of the authors of this, of the HyperDocs handbook?
Well, we have a giant Facebook group and if you are a Facebook user, it is one of the nicest places on social media and there are 40,000 teachers in there who are very active. And if you have a question or you’re looking for a particular lesson, you’ll get like 20 replies before any of us can even get to the question. So if you go to, Facebook and search HyperDocs, you will find the HyperDocs Facebook group. but we are active on our website. We, if you want to join the Academy, we host, once you’re a member of the Academy, we host webinars all the time. So right now I’m currently doing, a three week webinars series and I only have about 10 people in the workshop. And so all become really good friends now, collaborating and talking about lesson design. And so you’re welcome to join me. I’d love to connect with, your colleagues and teachers, within your reach there.
Cool. Well, thank you so much, Lisa, thank you for giving up your time to come and talk to me and to share your knowledge and your expertise and HyperDocs, which I know has been around for quite a while, but I think it’s still quite new to a lot of people who hear about that. It’s a HyperDocs so thank you so much for giving up your time and coming in and joining me here. Thank you so much. Well, guys, I hope you really enjoy the episode. If you did, please leave me a review, make sure you hit the subscribe button and come back and listen to the episode next week, when I’m gonna be sitting down with Ron Richard and talking about the importance of visible thinking for our students and for us, if you want to access any of the links and stuff or connect with Lisa, please head to teacherspd.net/83, and you’ll find all the links and the transcript for this episode. And you can get to know more about HyperDocs through there.