Library Love: The Value of HyperDocs

The Challenge

Let’s face it. When librarians teach classes on academic integrity, database use, and MLA citation, it’s a challenge to keep teens from nodding off in boredom.

The Solution

Enter the Hyperdoc. I first heard of this handy-dandy tool from Sandra Paetkau over at The Total Tech-Over and by searching around the web at places like Google Teacher Academy. The Hyperdoc has allowed me to move away from presentation-style lessons to becoming more of a guide on the side.

The Process

As a Hyperdoc newbie, here are the steps I took to create stand-alone lessons:

  1. I accessed a hyperdoc template at Teach It With Tech.
  2. I created questions that students discussed online, in real time.
  3. I curated stand-alone resourcesScreen Shot 2017-10-29 at 4.42.09 PM
  4. I designed a task that required each student to contribute to a shared class document.Screen Shot 2017-10-29 at 4.47.13 PM
  5. I formed a shared Google doc to which all students in the class contributed
  6. I developed a class Padlet for feedback.

After sharing the HyperDoc link with the teacher to post at the class Google Classroom, students were able to access it. (Using is another option.) By using YouTube tutorials as mini-lessons, Padlets, and Hyperdocs, I have been able to transform sage on the stage,  stand-in-front-of-the-room lectures into collaborative, student-centered lessons that allow students to take ownership of their own learning.

Why HyperDocs?

Lessons that include hyperdocs allow students a choice in HOW they learn important digital literacy skills. In addition, as learners and educators, we are able to check to see to what extent the students have mastered the content in accessible, fluid ways other than the traditional quiz. Most of all, hyperdocs create a space where it is natural and simple for ALL students to contribute to a class discussion- especially the quiet ones.

I am looking forward to learning more about Hyperdocs with Ms. P. at The Total Tech-Over and from Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and  Sarah Landis’ book The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps available in print and on e-readers such as Kindle.

Librarians Share!

Feel free to use my novice attempts at Hyperdocs as a springboard for your own lessons, modifying as you like.

Better yet, take a look at the take a look at this useful Google Doc template created by Sarah Landis.


Hyperdocs work for librarians because they serve as a portal for curated sources (videos, websites, audio, databases, and multi-media).  They work well for online learning,  Virtual School activities, resources for students who are absent, and as tools for differentiation. They also serve as important learning portals that can be accessed long after the class lesson is over. Most of all, Hyperdocs can support the ISTE standards, allowing all students – not just the outspoken ones —  to experience the power of online digital collaboration and real-time, written discussion.

I want to hear from you! How have you used Hyperdocs in your lessons?

Creative Commons License
This work by Katrina Lehman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


But Can’t I Just Google It?

Google_logo_2010Hello, students. I know that most of you use Google on a regular basis. So do I! I can’t imagine a world without the instant gratification of typing a phrase in the search bar and finding the answer to my question. Because you all love finding information by doing an Internet search, it can be hard to shift directions and use online databases.  You probably like performing a Google search because that’s what you’re familiar with,  that’s how you’ve found information for research in previous classes, and that’s how you find information in your daily, personal research. I, for example, do hundreds of internet searches each week  to find information. I can’t imagine my life without Google!  When it comes to professional or academic research, however, I  turn to databases.

Here’s why some of you might have trouble switching over to using databases in your research:

  1. Database research takes time and effort to learn
  2. GOOD research takes time (it’s not quick and easy!)
  3. New databases are unfamiliar online environments
  4. Previous teachers might not have required it.

ebscoSo, why are are teachers asking you to use databases in their research?

Here’s why.

1.    Anyone can post anything on the web. There’s no sure way to ensure that your first hit when searching for info on “embryos” won’t be the post that a 3rd grader in Australia did on his class blog. For scientific research, we want credible, timely information written by experts in the field. Databases have just that.

2.    University research requires that you know how to use online databases. In order to acquire research and information fluency, you will need to apply digital tools to gather and use information. This is necessary in order to be successful in college. Teachers would be doing you all a disservice if you left our school not knowing now to navigate, search, and research within online databases.

3.  Using a database uses time efficiently. If we were to do a google a search for, let’s say, “stem cell research”, we would get 120,000,000 hits. Who has enough time to sort through millions of webpages to find a credible site, especially when many of them are advertisements or business sites? Not me! I’d rather use a database that has a collection of articles written by experts in the field.

Finding information on an online databases might not be as “quick and easy” as conducting a familiar Google search. However, if you  give it time, you will most likely be rewarded with credible sources and the added benefit of using your time more efficiently.