Our world is different than it was last year and extremely different than it was a decade ago (the iPhone was just released). Looking back with my ego intact, I acknowledge that I have changed many aspects of my teaching: methods, materials, assessments. The standards and goals have been changed for me (in a good way, I like to think).

BUT, Let’s. Get. Real. If I were to teach the way I used to, it’d be embarrassing and I’d probably lose my job. The way we communicate, learn, and live is completely different today than it was in 2003. If you don’t change, you become irrelevant.OBVIOUSLY, all educators receiving paychecks have changed; I am not special and have no right to pat myself on the back.

Conversations I’ve witnessed on Twitter these past two weeks have prodded me along to challenge myself with a hard question:

“Am I preparing my students for the world they will live in?”

I’m going to let myself be extremely vulnerable and admit to myself, and to you, that “No, I am not.” George Couros reminds us that “we need to change what school looks like for our students so we can create new, relevant opportunities for them— for their future and for today” (Couros, 2015).

Like I said, I have changed the materials: in a nutshell, they’re techier. That does NOT mean that I’m changing what school looks like – I’m just changing the pencil to a laptop, the overhead projector to an ELMO, the home newsletters to online posts. You get the point.

SAMR model
SAMR model by Sylvia Duckworth

How we, in education, integrate technology can be placed on Sylvia Duckworth’s easily interpretable SAMR model. Where are you? With complete honesty, I am only snorkeling.

I am not okay with that! Snorkeling is way cooler than standing in the sand, but you don’t get to see sharks or other cool creatures!

Luckily, I discovered the HyperDoc. “A HyperDoc is the teaching pedagogy involved when making important decisions about what to teach and how to teach with technology to redefine the overall student experience” (Highfill, Hilton, Landis, 2016). The beauty of the author’s plan is that it incorporates what I already believe to be good teaching, but it allows for significant task redesign. That means I could potentially start scuba diving as soon as the next lesson!!

So I tried it. I had the excitement adrenaline racing through my blood over the weekend and I created a Hyperdoc for the NGSS standard 5-ESS2-2: Describe and graph the amounts of salt water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.


Screen Shot 2017-10-06 at 11.18.53 AM
HyperDoc Attempt #1



The Good

  • Students (Ss) were making choices in the “explore” stage and some took notes of their own accord
  • Ss could read other Ss reflections on the e-Discussion, Padlet, and FlipGrid
  • Ss were on-task. The entire time!
  • Ss who were super excited about the topic chose to extend their learning

The Bad

  • I only gave choice once and the choices were only videos
  • Many Ss didn’t record their thoughts or notes anywhere – lost in space now?
  • The direct instruction completely interrupted the different paces of learning
  • Until FlipGrid, there was no chance for interaction between Ss
  • And then, FlipGrid conversations were weak, to say the least 😦

The Ugly

  • I did not even share the lesson objectives with the Ss, nor was it clear to me if they were meeting them! Eeeeek!

Make a Change (or two)

  1. Include the lesson objectives. ALWAYS.
  2. Allow more choice throughout a lesson

#RealReflections proves that I’m HyperStumbling.

That is OKAY.

UDL (Universal Design for Learning) was a foreign acronym to me twelve days ago. Instead of wondering what rock I was hiding under to miss such a huge shift in education, I am learning what it is and what it means for my Ss today.

Thank you to George Couros and his Season 3 of #IMMOOC. Gratitude also for Teachers Give Teachers and their HyperDoc Online BootCamp. Loads of thanks to Katie Novak for her inspiring workshop on UDL 🙂


Couros, George (2015). The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity. Dave Burgess Consulting, Inc. Kindle Edition.

Highfill, Lisa; Hilton, Kelly; Landis, Sarah (2016). The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps. EdTechTeam Press. Kindle Edition.

Novak, Katie. “UDL Now! Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms To Optimize Choice and Voice.” 3 October 2017, American School of Dubai, UAE.

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