Hyperdocs: The Next Frontier – February 16, 2017

space-886060_960_720.jpgImage Credit: Pete Linforth, Public Domain, Pixabay

Hyperdocs seems to have a hyper-enthusiastic following of giddy teachers who view them as the ultimate pinnacle of lesson planning. In a way, this is understandable. Who doesn’t love a customized product packaged in an attractive, appealing way?

I am trying to jump on the hyperdoc bandwagon, but I have some reservations.

I don’t want to discount a new idea just because of my preconceived notions, but I’ve spent my life as a closet pessimist and that little demon just always wants to claw his way out first before I even have a chance to consider something. So here is what my demon’s first responses are:

First, what motivates the student to navigate the document? What if he or she just looks at the document and thinks, “Forget this!” Then what? How much of the lesson is completed independently online?

Do we think that a boring, adult-designed Hyperdoc is going to engage students just because it’s on the computer?

The same computer where open tabs beckon to fantastic games full of rich sound, visual stimulation, movement, action, and colors?

The same computer where instant messages populate the screen with enticing photographs and tempting messages requesting an immediate response?

We old fogeys and our ideas don’t seem to me to be able to compete with what interests students today.

They are immersed in a high-octane fueled digital life of excitement that whirls and spins at the speed of light, set to a high-intensity soundtrack of heart-pumping high-energy rhythm. All the educational programs and apps that I’ve seen all lack the eye candy and narcotic-like stimulation of social media or video games. How do Hyperdocs grab students’ interest?

Second, what does the Hyperdoc look like in class? Do students work quietly on their own computers, staring at cold blue screens, trying to hammer out coherent responses as their minds wander away?

Do they long for human companionship and conversation to elicit some kind of warmth and comfort?

Do they feel isolated on their own little digital islands, unable to reach out to the people who are seated all around them yet who are uninterested in speaking to them?

How much guidance and direction does the teacher give? Hyperdocs look almost like a self-contained McUnit, high in saturated fat and refined sugar but lacking in nurtrition and deep learning. How does the teacher complement the unit with instruction, group work, individual attention, etc.? How does the teacher reconcile the pace when some students will be starting as others just press the last submit button on the document?

Third, how is the workflow managed? Is each assignment submitted separately? Are the assignments assessed individually? Do students respond on the Hyperdoc and submit the entire monstrosity?

I am going to beat my little demon down into submission and share with you a Hyperdoc lesson I started writing. I used a publicly available Hyperdoc template and researched different content sources for lessons. But I’m stuck.

I know this Hyperdoc sucks, but I don’t know why.

I know that a Hyperdoc should not be just a collection of links, but I don’t know how to organize it so that students will be able to customize it and navigate it. Where do the assignments go? What if they understand a concept – can they skip it? How do I collect the work? What are they actually doing in class while this Hyperdoc “project” (??? I don’t even know what to call it.) is going on?

So, here is my lame attempt to start a Hyperdoc lesson: Lame Hyperdoc Lesson

Where do I go from here?

 

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