By Michelle Wendt

Michelle Wendt is a Technology Integrationist, Social Media Manager of the SRI&ETTC and Adjunct Instructor for Stockton University. She designs and delivers professional development programming and coaching in technological skills-building to K-12 teachers. She is a long-time presenter for NJEA. Wendt can be reached at 

Abandon worksheets and lectures and engage learners using the four C’s—collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity—in a HyperDoc lesson! Integrate technology organically by asking them to interact, analyze, extrapolate, and think using their digital skills.

HyperDocs are delivered digitally using G Suite and other web tools. The students work at their own pace through a series of guided explorations with appropriate formative assessments. Teachers plan an entire unit of learning instead of individual lessons and then can work actively with students who need help. Students explore content through multimedia delivery instead of through direct instruction. The most significant benefit of this type of blended learning model is that students can access the learning content as many times as they need.

One of the most lauded HyperDocs educators talk about is The Wild Robot, a HyperDoc novel study for fourth- and fifth-grade readers. Created using Google slides, this self-guided unit includes a teacher’s guide on how to use the HyperDoc with students, which is a beautiful starting point if you want to familiarize yourself with how they work. Reading the novel by Peter Brown, students explore vocabulary, context, and themes, and respond creatively to each other using tools of their own choosing, such as Flipgrid and Padlet. Embedded are assignments to draw, write an essay, participate in a digital breakout and demonstrate knowledge on Google Forms quizzes.

I suggest you check it out as an example of what is possible to achieve in a HyperDoc. Not all HyperDocs are as comprehensive; most are much simpler and easy to execute. Generally, HyperDocs include five to seven activities for students to complete.

The five steps usually involved in creating HyperDocs are:

• Objectives

• Cycle of learning

• Packaging

• Workflow

• Design

The objective involves selecting the specific desired outcome and trying to stay true to that mission. You will have to set a timeline for completion to keep your students on task.

The cycle of learning is the choice of specific steps students will follow based on effective pedagogy. Will you use an Explore, Explain, Apply, or a 5E model (Engage, Explore Explain, Elaborate and Evaluate)? Whichever you choose, there are easily editable templates to support your preferred process of learning on My personal favorite is the Topic X HyperDoc template. Some teachers prefer to align their HyperDocs with their favorite learning theory or methodology.

The packaging is the easy part, as teachers typically bundle the lesson within Google Docs or Slides; they are colorful and visually engaging. All links and instructions a student will need during their explorations are available in that package, including links for differentiation and scaffolding. HyperDocs solve the early finisher problems if teachers include extension activities accessed once required work is completed.

The workflow depends upon the teacher, and they decide how to push out content, collect work and provide feedback based on what types of technology to which they have access. If using Google Classroom, students can turn in their work in that space, or if educators are using another method of collecting work, they would simply provide a link or directions for the submission of student work. Most HyperDocs have built-in areas to collect student’s personal responses without the need for submitting work elsewhere. When lessons require students to communicate with each other, teachers add links to Padlets or Flipgrid topics in HyperDocs.

The physical design includes choices on page colors, fonts, tables, the addition of images and customized links. The most engaging HyperDocs include activities that allow students to make some choices about their learning or performance of knowledge. Multiple HyperDocs exist with built-in choice boards (Based on the UDL Framework) and these are popular with students.

The first step in creating a HyperDoc yourself is to STOP, SEARCH, and ADAPT other HyperDocs that teachers have shared to suit your purposes. HyperDocs exist for all grade levels on a multitude of topics and can be edited. Search for topics, subjects or grade levels on the section titled “Teachers Give Teachers” on the website. Copy any of these and switch out the links for your own or add other options for students to use when responding. The original idea for HyperDocs was developed by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis and we are grateful for their creative melding of pedagogy and technology integration. 

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