A hyperdoc, simply put, is an organized workspace for individuals or collaborative groups. Have you ever tried to give students a response sheet in Google Docs that looked like this?
What always happens? Students tend to move, delete, and destroy any ounce of organization within your document. Ever share one of these documents with a group of students so that they can work on it collaboratively? Any shred of organization is out the window, and frustrations between students begin to rise.
A simple solution to the "sloppy doc" issue is to put your existing documents in a hyperdoc format. Making a hyperdoc is not rocket science. It also doesn't take that much time. All you need to do is make use of the table feature within Google Docs. Once you do that, you are well on your way to creating an organized space for digital learning.
(Please keep in mind that students can still change information in the cells you create in a table. It merely clearly defines where students are to input information and keeps it better organized.)
Hyperdocs with Mrs. Knox
A couple weeks ago I stopped by Bev Knox's sixth-grade class. Her students were working in groups on a book study. In each group, a student was a recorder for the group so that one copy would be turned into Mrs. Knox. Having the students collaborate on the same document via Google Docs would have been a huge mess. Questions would have been moved around the document. Students would have been trying to fight for position.
As I looked at the packet, I realized that I could "Googlify" this document and make it a manageable workspace for students to collaborate. So Mrs. Knox sent a copy my way, and I transformed it into a hyperdoc. I colored the locations to input answers in light green, and colored chapter questions with an outlying table in a specific color to keep them organized (yellow = chapter 4 in the example below). It helped define specifically what needed to be completed. It also offered clearly defined spaces so that all students could participate at the same time without a constant battle for position.
The hyperdoc example I did for Mrs. Knox was specifically focused on providing a collaborative space. Hyperdocs do not have to be collaborative. A great example of one that is for individual work can be found here. (This example was not created by me.)
Collaborative Hyperdocs and Google Classroom
Want to create these collaborative workspaces in Google Classroom? What you'll need to do is...
How can you get started?
You don't have to reinvent the wheel to make a hyperdoc. Utilize existing docs or activities completed on a regular basis. Try changing one of your existing documents by adding tables where the students can respond. Also, think about your question types. If the students can Google the answer, is it a good question? Is it merely replacing a worksheet, or are you asking questions that cause the student to reflect on their learning? Start small with a 2 x 2 table. Choose which cell you want to have color or have two separate colors. Maybe even include an image in your question box? Regardless, creating a definitive workspace for your students will help them focus on the specific task at hand.
After the creation of Mrs. Knox's book study hyperdoc, I spent quite a bit of time with her discussing the creation, implementation, and purpose of organizing docs with tables to create collaborative spaces. I also had the chance to see her students in action. It was great to see Mrs. Knox's excitement as she clearly witnessed that this was a great way to get students collaborating and discussing the text. As students were responding on the document, conversations started building as they read each others' responses. The true test came when Mrs. Knox stopped the class for a moment to ask for their opinions of the learning experience. The students mentioned that they most appreciated being able to all participate at the same time. Seeing each other's responses created conversation. Each person had a fair share of the group work and discussion.