Finding high-quality teaching material that both matches specific curricula and engages students can be a challenge. Research shows that teachers spend between 7 and 12 hours per week creating and searching for instructional resources and often take content from unvetted sources. (1) Another study found that 96% of teachers use Google to find lessons and materials and 75% use Pinterest to find their content. (2) While the internet can be a great source of inspiration, it can lead to mixed results, as a lot of the free content available online is of inconsistent quality. As a consequence, students’ success in school can suffer.
When creating our products, we wanted to help teachers with exactly this issue. Our aim was to create platforms where teachers could easily and quickly locate high-quality content that covered their curriculum, inspired students, and helped build subject knowledge.
We have three products for teaching STEM and geography to ages 4–16:
- Twig is our resource for ages 11–16, containing 1,000+ award-winning, 3-minute videos that combine visual and adaptive learning, supported by hundreds of lesson plans, visuals, and other classroom resources.
- Tigtag is designed for ages 7–11 and contains engaging videos, visual resources, lesson plans, and quizzes that allow teachers to simplify tricky scientific concepts for primary school students.
- Tigtag Junior is aimed at ages 4–7 and is a complete online resource for younger children, introducing foundational science in a simple, fun, and engaging way.
In a recent survey of teachers that use Twig Education products, we found that:
- 87.5% of teachers find that our content builds student knowledge
- 87% of teachers find that our content builds improves teaching efficiency
- 80.5% of teachers find that our content improves attainment
- 80% of teachers find that Twig Education content reduces teacher workload
But exactly how do our products do these things?
Building student knowledge
At Twig Education, we strongly believe in grounding what students learn in real-world examples. Our digital platforms are specifically built to facilitate the exploration of real-life phenomena. The Mindmap function is perfect for extending learning by letting students explore on their own, allowing them to deepen their understanding of phenomena. Students can choose a topic that interests them and immediately be presented with related topics and contextual examples. For example, the topic Ecosystems doesn’t only include the theory behind biodiversity and ecosystems, but also introduces places like tundra lands, savannahs, and redwood forests.
In addition, our products allow students to learn at their own pace. Students who struggle can watch videos again or go over key learning points and read film transcripts. Those who find a topic easy can use extension questions to learn more or explore related videos to extend their knowledge.
The different types of videos also work together to support knowledge building. Curriculum films are best used for explaining key ideas and concepts and can be incorporated in the first half of a lesson, ideally after an introductory discussion that assesses what students already know. Meanwhile, context films help anchor concepts in the real world. These videos open up further discussion and allow teachers to check if students really understand how concepts apply in real life.
Improving teaching efficiency
While our products are centered around videos, every video comes with key learning points, activity suggestions, discussion questions, quizzes, review questions, images, and diagrams, ideas for practical investigations and extension work, and more. All of these resources are built into the platform and can be accessed with just a few clicks.
To allow for more flexibility, the resources can either be slotted into existing lesson plans or used together as a full lesson. Tigtag and Tigtag Jr also have the option to filter these materials into a ready-made one-hour lesson – perfect for when teaching time is limited.
The content itself has also been created with the purpose of improving teaching efficiency. For example, the ready-made quizzes and review questions allow for easy assessment, and the “Present this lesson” function allows teachers to easily share the contents of a lesson with their class. In addition, Twig allows teachers to quickly assign homework to their students, set due dates, and track progress.
As a first step to improving attainment, we have to keep students engaged and interested in their school subject. Therefore, we have made sure that our videos used high-quality, real-world footage, giving students examples of how scientific concepts relate to things they experience and witness in real life.
Our platforms are centred around video content for a reason: numerous studies show that video content improves student interest and achievement. For example, in a Kaltura study from 2016, 93% of teachers said that videos had a positive effect on student satisfaction and 88% said video usage improved student achievement levels.
In addition, built-in key learning points, quizzes, review questions, and assignment features also give teachers an easy way to monitor what students are learning and what they might need to spend more time on.
Reducing teacher workload
When creating our resources, we made sure that they would be easy and intuitive to use, saving teachers time instead of adding to their workload. Our platforms have been designed to make finding content fast and easy. Teachers can search for content by keyword, filter by subject, or select their school’s curriculum.
Our award-winning videos are made using high-quality content from the likes of BBC and NASA and are aligned to international curricula. This means that teachers don’t have to worry about finding videos that are age-appropriate and aligned to their school’s curriculum while still being fun and engaging – we’ve already done the work. This saves a significant amount of planning time, as teachers don’t have to trawl through the internet looking for suitable content.
In addition, there are detailed learning materials for teachers to refer back to, so that they feel confident going into each lesson. All of this means less time spent researching, prepping, and planning.
To find out more about our products and request a free trial, head to the product-specific homepages:
- Goldberg, M. (2016). Classroom Trends: Teachers as Buyers of Instructional Materials and Users of Technology. K-12 Market Advisors
- Opfer, V., Kaufman, J., Thompson, L. (2016). Implementation of K-12 State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.