Tag Archives: “self-paced learning”

An “Ah Moment” With Self-Paced Learning!

When I began using hyperdocs as the source of implementing self-paced learning, my thought process was to have activities that equaled a 100 points for a practice grade and the final product to be a 100 point assessment grade. Our school system has a 70% Assessment/30% Practice split weighting of grades and it is expected that we record at least two a week.

I post the hyperdoc at Google Classroom as an assignment and in the private comment section list each of the activities and what the student earned. If they have not completed the task, a “0” was posted. See example below.

The problem with this system is keeping up with four classes of students and who has submitted what. The grade was recorded as a total of 100 and the students (nor I) at first glance could tell how the grade was generated. This particular group of students has a problem with turning work in on time and so four weeks after the due date, I have children wondering what they need to do to raise their grade and I have to exert some effort to respond to the question.

It suddenly hit me this semester that I should stop thinking in terms of 100 and assess each part individually. So now using the above scenario, the Engage activity is worth 10 practice points, Explore 15 practice points and so forth. Each task is a separate grade. I did this at first to help me and quickly noticed that students were much more aware of what they had done and how well they were doing it. In fact at present I have quite a few students with A’s and B’s, a situation very new to them. One of my learners surprised me this past week. He saw during the school day his grade and feedback for a particular task. During clean up at the end of the day he appeared and asked if he could redo the assignment and of course I said yes. He did and earned full credit. Despite parent teacher conferences and meeting with admin, this student has never felt this accountable for his work. It has been gratifying to see these at risk students suddenly taking responsibility for their learning. It is amazing how sometimes the little things create a big outcome.

Self-paced Learning: Part Two

Hyperdocs are a great way to implement self-paced learning but using the same thing repeatedly become boring. Here are two different ways to integrate a self-paced learning cycle.

  1. Deck.Toys: This website allows you to create a path of interactive activities. Similar to hyperdocs, each step is plotted on a grid rather than a linear flow chart, which allows for differentiation. One aspect I like is that you may put a lock on the activity. This allows students to answer a clue question to unlock the task. I use the feature to make sure students have really completed the previous activity. The site comes with ways to embed formative questions with the tasks. I found that it was fairly intuitive. Deck.Toys is free allowing the teacher two classrooms up to 35 students with three decks. The PRO version is about $8.00 a month coming with unlimited classrooms and decks. Students can log in with Google so the class links can be posted at Google Classroom. Here is a sample of one of my decks. A video that shares even more!
  2. ClassCraft Quests: Classcraft is free but the quests only come with its Premium version which costs $8.00 a month. Students are part of a Role Playing Game, earning points for grades and positive behavior. The quests are a way to earn more points as well as integrate a self-placed lesson. You choose a setting and then create paths that lead to various places embedding tasks alongs the way. The quest can include a storyline to make it more interesting and can include different branches for differentiation. The part that I particularly like is that the teacher can control when the student moves on by checking to see if the task has been completed. The drawback is class time is spent monitoring students rather than small group work etc.  I have one class that requires this kind of monitoring and use it more with them. Recently Classcraft updated to enabled “self -paced progress.” This program also syncs with Google Classroom, making it easy to create classes.

A Classcraft Quest on Writing in Active Voice

I have enjoyed implementing self-paced instruction into the curriculum and am now spending time reflecting as to when and how it is most effective for student learning.

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. ***