Ramping Up Heath Education

Mrs. Conley has made some exciting new changes to the way students encounter her Drug Education curriculum. Disseminating this information to students is a tricky task! As a 1:1 school district, our students have access to lots of information at the tips of their fingers.  A routine Google search could lead students to inappropriate content, which is why Mrs. Conley likes to carefully control the resources with which her students engage.  Additionally, Mrs. Conley was motivated to freshen up her curriculum.  In past years, the majority of this unit was delivered through slideshows, lectures, and class discussions.  While this isn’t inherently bad, it didn’t allow for much variance in the modality that students would receive information.

Mrs Conley decided that using a HyperDoc through Google Sheets would be a way to freshen the unit up while addressing the sensitive nature of the carefully considered content and resources.  HyperDocs are Google Docs – or Slides – that are self-contained lessons or units. The idea was developed by Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis.  One feature of HyperDocs is that they contain questions, with links to videos, info-graphics, websites, or other resources to help the students discover new information. HyperDocs also contain tasks for students to complete.   

Mrs. Conley’s HyperDoc served as one-stop-shop to organize and distribute the unit’s resources, activities, assignments, and discussion questions to her students.  Her students now encounter the information through carefully selected websites, manipulatives, private interactive class discussion boards, sorted descriptors and terms, an interactive game, and many other ways of learning new things on their own terms and at their own pace.   Mrs. Conley also designed the HyperDoc to present the information in a “stations” format.  Students were required to complete four activities within the two week unit.  However, they could choose which activities they wanted to work on each day.  Mrs. Conley’s HyperDoc has been an overwhelming success!

From a logistic standpoint, using a HyperDoc was effective and efficient. Mrs. Conley loved how the HyperDoc was the one resource students needed for the unit.  There weren’t multiple handouts, pamphlets, or binders to have to remember to bring to class.  As she reported, “It was nice to have all of students’ work – their notes, homework, and discussion points – organized and easy to access in one place.”

Additionally, the HyperDoc was well received from students.  “My students seem to have really liked using the HyperDoc for the unit,” stated Mrs. Conley.  “I observed them to be on task and engaged with the activities.   Also, students reported that they enjoyed being in control of their learning each day by having the choice of which activities to do and when.”

Indeed, when interviewed, students shared how much they enjoyed using the HyperDoc, which offered a lot of student options.  In the words of one student, “One day, I wasn’t in a social mood.  I liked that I had the option to watch and respond to the videos independently that day.”

Moreover, using this modality for disseminating the unit’s content enabled Mrs. Conley to have deeper, more meaningful discussions with smaller groups of students more often.  As students worked through the unit, Mrs. Conley circulated the classroom checking for understanding, clearing up misconceptions, and responding to students’ questions.  Mrs. Conley reported, “I loved having the ability to circulate as students worked through the unit and speak with students in a small group setting.  I’m not sure that all students would have contributed so openly in a whole class setting.”

Kudos goes to Mrs. Conley for wanting to revisit the way she delivered her Drug Education unit content to students.  She was open to new ideas, she was willing to take risks in leveraging technology in a new way, and provided her students with the power of choice to help them be in charge of their own learning.  All of this resulted in a successful, effective, and engaging unit of study!