Hyperdocs are all the rage right now in education, and I really thought I knew how to use them. So I didn't attend all the sessions at CUE on them, opting for more "high tech" sessions instead. However, in hearing a teacher talk about them, I realized it was a tool I was underutilizing as a librarian to streamline and guide research.
If you don't know what a hyperdoc is, it is, at it's most basic level, a Google Doc with hyperlinks to various websites and such embedded within the text of the document. Basically a digital worksheet. However, there is much more beyond that. Truthfully, it is a visually appealing interactive document that creators "carefully choose web tools to engage, explore, explain, apply, share, reflect, and extend the learning," according to hyperdocs.co.
As a librarian, I realized that I was underutilizing the power of hyperdocs when bringing information literacy to my students. Let me give you an example of a "before" and "after" lesson I would give students when they would come in for a research project.
This method typically resulted in decent research. However, students seemed have a hard time figuring out how to get to the main portal pages. In the database, they have to click "Browse Topics" in the upper left hand corner to see all the portal pages. Then they have to find their topic in a large list. . . . .it can be tedious for them. They tend to just search their topic, which could also link them to the portal page. However, I found myself having to re-teach them a lot.
I used a template on hyperdocs.co to create a visually appealing hyperdoc displaying all of the topics. Then underneath the topic I went into US History in Context and linked for them a variety of things. If you're not familiar with this, in Gale databases you can bookmark and link ANYTHING. Portal Pages, search pages, specific articles, etc. by going to page you would like to link (even a search page) and clicking the BOOKMARK tab at the top. You will be provided with a link to the page. I have found that students do not have to enter a password when pages are linked like this! One less step for them to access good resources.
I did not link EVERY article on these topics. They still have more they could explore, search, etc. through this database. At least these links get them in and interested in using this source. I found students were no longer on Wikipedia to get an overview of these topics. They were on our database instead! Plus, it allowed me to guide those students with more difficult topics right to sources that would help them.
Overall, this hyperdoc was a total hit! Students immediately went to the hyperdoc and started using good relaible resources to start! Wikipedia became a supplementary resource, not their main one.
In addition to this, the students did indeed make a copy of the document and share it to take notes and compile their works cited page, which made me happy! This addition took the hyperdoc to the next level or engaging them as oppossed to being a digital worksheet.
I look forward to creating more hyperdocs in the future to guide studnet research. If you are interested in using them, I encourage you to explore hyperdocs.co to find templates teachers have used and more inspiration. Teachers Give Teachers is an excellent part of their website where teachers have shared hyperdocs with the world to steal, modify, and use for whatever means you would like!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past five years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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