It is always both a gift and an honor to be asked to teach about Universal Design for Learning (UDL). As much as I love my 7th graders, there is a whole different kind of magic watching my fellow teachers discover the power of UDL for themselves.
This blog post is adapted, with permission, from two submission made by Karyn Copland, a colleague and 7th grade Geography teacher, during a course I co-taught with Danielle Patenaude on UDL and Project-Based Learning in summer 2019. In the course, we asked the participants to create a hyperdoc, which was the most challenging assignment of the entire project. Karyn has taken multiple UDL courses, including one where she had created a hyperdoc that she used in her 7th grade Geography class, and she shared her own journey and reflections on the use of hyperdocs in giving feedback to colleagues in the course. Thank you, Karyn, for letting me share your experiences here, with a wider audience!
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When I first started with hyperdocs last year, the scaffolds are what I missed the boat on. It’s now my favorite part of designing a hyperdoc. One thing that Amy [another Geography colleague] and I have been doing with written resources is pasting them into a Google Doc where possible so that we can add links to support vocabulary and also give students access to Google Read/Write for the audio option. Another idea would be to address any potential vocabulary barriers by creating a vocab doc with links to definitions/images/videos to support student comprehension of the terms pulled from the sources. Here’s one that Amy and I completed.
I love that you give [the students] a template for note taking but also the option of using their own strategy and then taking a picture to upload. What if you gave them more than one template to choose from (for those students who find that particular template difficult but can’t think of their own note taking strategy?)
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To another colleague in the course:
I love your honesty about the hyperdoc process. Reading your [submission] made me think back to [the] course I took last year and my epic struggle with the hyperdoc! It has taken me a full year to really understand what works for my students/grade level. It was a total trial and error process of rolling something out to kids and reflecting on what was missing and where it went wrong. This is tough to do while you are creating them. They look so good and seem to make so much sense to me in the development stage and it is only when students had to live my creation that I truly understood where scaffolds and steps were missing. What I found is that unless I gave them a sense of what to do with the resources, they took a quick look and moved on. One idea might be to give them a task to do as they “Presearch”. I also find that my idea of “finished” is very different from theirs, which is why I built in stops for feedback along the way. They need to slow down. I wanted to share a couple of links with you. The first is my original hyperdoc made in last year’s course and the 2nd is the direction I moved in after kids lived the first doc.
This years’ students will try the new format. It is a format a colleague and I went to mid-year that seemed to work better for students.
One thing that I love in your hyperdoc is the number of exemplars you include. This is something I need to work on.
Thanks to my fabulous colleagues and course participants–there is no learning or growth without your willingness to take risks! You are a daily inspiration.
and to Julie Spang, for introducing us to the hyperdoc years ago!