Self-Paced Learning: Part One

My school system decided to go one-to-one this year and with middle school that means that each student receives a Lenova laptop computer. They are housed in the student’s homeroom and are used only at school.

With the availability of technology on a daily basis came a sense of responsibility to use it for a purpose. Before Fall Break this took the form of Nearpod presentations. I enjoyed the ability to get instant feedback from the entire class in the many forms that Nearpod offers – short answer, multiple-choice, drawing, finding an image, collaborative discussions, surveys, etc. A drawback was that students with poor keyboarding skills often needed more time and some checks for understandings might have been better executed with class discussion. By the end of the nine weeks, I was a bit burnt out and am sure my students were more burned out by the pattern of sameness even if I had different tasks for each lesson, so I searched for something else.

I found Blended Learning in Action by Caitlyn R. Tucker and The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps by LIsa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis. With these resources I considered the idea of implementing hyperdocs, a phrase coined by Highfill, Hilton, and Landis. A hyperdoc is a self-paced lesson that includes opportunities for students to work through a variety of resources to master strategies and skills. Here is a link to one that I created soon after discovering this idea.

Teacher Karly Moura created a wonderful graphic that helps to understand the difference between a hyperdoc and a document with hyperlinks.

After helping students work through their first ones, I became more concerned about the format and did not believe that my walking around while students worked was the best use of my time. Upon reflection, I realized that this lesson format offered wonderful opportunities for meeting with small groups.

  • I use feedback from the hyperdoc tasks to pull in students who need more help.
  • I pull heterogenous groups together to introduce ideas like how to blog or writing techniques, for example, “show don’t tell” which are better presented in this way.

With my hyperdoc lessons I began to incorporate the 5 E’s – Engagement, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This seems to best correspond to the EDI model used by the school system. Here is my latest hyperdoc. I have also let up on things like deadlines trying to emphasize the “self-paced” aspect. The year is early but things seem to be looking up!

*** Here is a link to a repository for hyperdocs. ***

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