Friday, January 20, 2017

Hyperdocs in the Elementary Classroom

At a recent TCEA Google Certified Trainer Bootcamp, I had the opportunity to introduce participants to Hyperdocs, a new way to house tools and resources.

Purpose of Hyperdocs

A hyperdoc scaffolds student communication, heightens inquiry, and structures student exploration of a topic. The purpose of hyperdocs is to bring all types of multimedia resources under one roof. These multimedia resources can include images, videos, audio, text, and of course, hyperlinks. You can also include graphic organizers and any tool you can link to. In addition to combining multimedia elements, the hyperdoc can be used to enhance a specific learning topic for students engaged in cooperative learning, flipped learning, or directed instruction. Hyperdocs are stored in Google Drive and often formed as Google Docs.

Hyperdocs may sometimes be compared to
Multi-Media Text Sets (MMTS), a term coined by Lisa Highfill. Both hyperdocs and MMTS remind me of Bernie Dodge's and Tom March's webquests and Internet treasure hunts. Whatever you call them, it's time to revisit how easy it is to frame student learning opportunities.

Elements of a Hyperdoc

Hyperdocs take advantage of tables in Google Docs. The table may include the following elements:
  • Shaded cells and rows
  • Instructions students can follow
  • Formatted spaces for students to respond to questions or prompts
  • Hyperlinks from YouTube
  • Images from Google Image Search
  • Citations and links to articles in Google Scholar

Sharing Your Hyperdoc with Students

If you are using Google Suites for Education, then you can either share the hyperdoc with your students via the Share button or you can take advantage of Google Classroom to share it. Lance Yoder, educational blogger at, has some simple steps for sharing hyperdocs via Google Classroom:
  1. Create a Google Drive folder with a copy of your hyperdoc for each group. The hyperdoc is a regular Google Doc.
  2. Rename each Google Doc to match the name of your student groups (e.g. Group 1, Group 2, Group 3).
  3. Add each document to a Google Classroom Assignment. Recent updates to Google Classroom make it possible to assign hyperdocs as assignments to each group of students. What a powerful enhancement for Google Classroom!
  4. Set each document as "can edit" and assign.
  5. Turn students loose to collaborate.

Best Times to Use Hyperdocs

There are many instances in which you might want to use hyperdocs. Below are just a few:
  • When you want students to collaborate to create content.
  • When you want students to interact with content, exploring it at their own speed and following their interests.
  • When you need to include live content links from numerous sources that the user can interact with, including Google maps and numerous other sites.
  • When you want students to focus on content rather than formatting.

Examples of Hyperdocs in the Elementary Classroom

There are many ways in which you can use hyperdocs in the classroom. Many hyperdocs are structured to help students engage, explore, explain, apply, share, and reflect, as well as enable extension of learning. Watch these hyperdocs-related videos to get started. Take a look at a few elementary examples below:
And here is a chart of hyperdocs organized by grade level.

Give It a Try

If you have access to Google Docs, but have never created a hyperdoc, I challenge you to give it a try. Many tutorials exist, and you can find some hyperdocs templates. If you use hyperdocs in the classroom, please share in the comments below.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Slide into the New Year with Student eBooks

If you are looking for ways to slide into the New Year with your students, why not have them create ebooks using Google Slides? I can’t think of a better way to have student demonstrate their learning than by having them create an ebook.



Sample eBook Cover
eBooks are defined as a book publication made available in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, that are readable on computers, laptops, or other electronic devices, such as iPads, Kindles, etc. However, a broader definition includes PDF files, which only require a web browser to read.
With Google Slides, students can create a simple ebook that includes text, photos, videos, and links. They can even create or select themes, templates, and layouts for their book.  Once created, the ebooks can be shared with other students, both locally and around the world, for feedback.

Classroom Ideas

Because a PDF ebook is incredibly easy to create, having students make them is an excellent option for all kinds of projects. Today, many businesses create PDF ebooks; therefore, assigning them to students gives them additional skills needed for the future. A few ideas that come to my mind for ebook classroom projects include:
  • Children’s books
  • Book reports
  • End of unit books
  • Portfolios
  • How-to manuals
  • Reflective journals
  • Memoir books
  • Family histories

Creating eBooks with Google Slides

Below are four quick and easy steps on how to create an ebook in Google Slides.
Step 1: Customize the Slides
The first step in creating an ebook is to change the default widescreen format in Slides to a custom page size. This will allow the reader of the book to read it in portrait view.
To customize the slides:
  1. Go to File, Page Setupebooks
  2. Select Custom in the format dropdown
  3. Enter 8.5 x 11 inches
  4. Select OK
If you want, you can now select a theme or customize your own, apply different slide layouts, or change the background. Consistency is always best when creating ebooks.
Step 2: Add Content
The next step is to begin adding content to your ebook. Some things you can add include a:
  • Cover page
  • Header
  • Footer (with page numbers)
  • Table of contents
  • Conclusion page/credits page
Don’t forget that you can make your ebook interactive by adding links to videos and other resources.
Step 3: Download as a PDF
Once your ebook is complete, it is now ready to be saved as a PDF. To save your ebook as a PDF:
  1. Go to File
  2. Select Download as
  3. Select PDF
  4. Save the PDF or upload it to your Google Drive
Step 4: Share the eBook
The final step is to share your ebook with other students, teachers, administrators, or the world. If you upload the book to your Google Drive, you can then share it with others, which will generate a shareable link. Consider posting the link on your classroom website or blog.

Try It In Your Classroom

As you can see, it is very simple to create an ebook with Google Slides, and it doesn’t have to take up a ton of time. Start the New Year off by having your students give it a try.
If you use ebooks in your classroom, we would love to hear from you. As always, please share in the comment section.
This blog entry was also published at