Guest Blog Post by Fall CUE Keynote Speakers the HyperDoc Girls (Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis)

Today’s “classroom” looks very different than it did earlier this year. Whether you are teaching 100% remotely, in a hybrid scenario, or face to face; we know that the learning experience has shifted dramatically. Although there are some elements of learning that remain unchanged, we can argue that learning in 2020 has already shifted — even prior to pandemic schooling. In this blog, we explore What Learning Looks Like Today.

HyperDocs are complex, layered, digital lessons, built with a variety of intentional strategies to meet the needs of learners in any classroom. Before we further describe what a HyperDoc is, we must first address what learning looks like today. Our digital world is affecting the way our students are learning every day, inside our ‘classrooms’ and beyond. Let’s first explore some new ways we look at learning, how we deliver instruction, and what we ask of our students. 

A Look at Learning

Our schools have the opportunity and obligation to deliver relevant instruction that prepares students for what they will face beyond our classrooms. Although it would be convenient to teach every child what they need to know (content standards, how to use technology, etc), that is actually not ideal or true to learning. Learning — when done authentically and in student-centered ways — is quite messy! Taking on the many shifts of today’s schooling is a learning process for kids, parents, and teachers. Just like we learned to read and write over time, the same is true for learning digitally. Kids will struggle with organization, will struggle with focus, will be confused and frustrated at first. Those elements are what learning truly looks like. Over time, students learned how to overcome such challenges. That is learning. It’s not about having it all accomplished from the onset, learning is the growth and progress over time. Now more than ever we need to teach student agency and develop self-efficacy. Never has it been more obvious that creative problem-solving and (digital) communication have taken center stage as valuable learning methods. More important than our content is the ability to teach students how to learn, not just what to learn.

As teachers, we are tasked to prepare students for college and career readiness. Think of where you work. How do you find information for tasks? How often do you handwrite, in cursive, and mail your reports to clients? How often does technology distract you from your work? Does that mean you fail at your job? How do you refocus and meet deadlines? How do you utilize your devices to help make that happen? Try unplugging for a week. Can you function at your place of work, at home? The value placed on digital communication has increased over the years, and now more than ever we are relying on technology to function. Such is the case for our learners!

How We Deliver Instruction

We cannot teach the way we have always taught. Take this video, for example, as a reminder that we have to shift along with our students. The textbook is a ‘foreign tool’ to our students. How do we meet the needs of today? During the current pandemic schooling, our students might not be learning had it not been for the surge in technology. We are not addressing the issues of equity here, but it goes without saying that all students should have access to technology. But the learning looks different today as students of all ages — as well as educators — turn to digital applications as solutions to daily needs. Communication and connection have been at the forefront of that learning. And as the creators of HyperDocs, we believe in not just the use of technology, but the thoughtful integration of tech to enhance lesson design.

Today’s learner can quickly look up the answer to most questions, and can easily access information at a moment’s notice. As a designer of digital lessons, the teacher has an opportunity to create a learning flow that is logical, pedagogy-based, and customized for the variable learners. By packaging a lesson with HyperDocs, an educator can deliver instruction that brings the content right to the students’ own fingertips! The teacher then facilitates learning in synchronous and/or asynchronous methods. Each HyperDoc can include the 4C’s, which promotes best practices for learning. Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication are some of the things that remain unchanged during a society that is rapidly changing. Integrating technology into a lesson should only enhance the teacher’s ability to meet a child where they are. Delivering instruction with HyperDocs can also bridge the gap between home and school – which seems more important than ever. The lesson is the go-between within different spaces, connecting teacher and learner.

What We Ask of Our Students

Learning takes time. Are we seeing the learning opportunities in all that our kids are doing or just the frustration of the work that goes into the learning process? As teachers, it has taken a lot of time and effort to learn how to develop and create lessons and opportunities for students that reflect the way we learn and work today, rather than the schooling we attended. This is the nature of learning in a society that changes over time, our classrooms change too. Students will do what we ask of them. Do we encourage them to share their voice in a podcast? Do we capture stories using digital storytelling tools? Do we support oral rehearsal of ideas with Flipgrid? Do we model how to curate information using modern-day collection resources like Wakelet or Sutori? What are we asking of our learners? 

Join the Teachers Give Teachers sharing community, and learn along with us and see the possibilities in the curious minds that fill our classrooms! We are so excited to engage with you all during our interactive keynote “lesson!” In the spirit of risk-taking and reinventing online adult learning, we invite you to come prepared to DO this keynote experience with us! You might be wondering…

  • How has learning in your classroom changed? What ideas would you like to implement with your students?
  • Read through this HyperDoc Progression. Where are you as a learner?

To learn more about the definition of a HyperDoc, explore here.

Virtual Fall CUE Registration – October 22-26

Virtual Fall CUE registration is OPEN and just $79! Prepare for school with hundreds of sessions from the best edtech presenters in education! Schools around the country are looking to find ways to manage teaching online or in a blended setting. Fall CUE is the virtual conference bringing thought-leadership discussions and best practices on all things pedagogy, blended and online teaching strategies, and edtech tools!

Mercedes Maskalik

About Mercedes Maskalik