3 Must-Have Hybrid Benefits of Twig Science Next Gen

At Twig Science Next Gen, we’re constantly listening to what teachers say are the key challenges they’re facing—and devising creative solutions that are adaptable, easy to use, and genuinely inspiring.

Here are some of the important features that help to make the Twig Science Next Gen experience great for setting students on the path to long-term STEM success—even while we’re still in a period where usual learning patterns are being disrupted.

1. Remote and/or Hybrid Learning

Many of the distance learning resources available at the peak of the pandemic were stopgap solutions. Right now, as we edge closer to the end of the pandemic but while schools are still operating with some remote and/or hybrid instruction in place, teachers need solutions that deliver long-term, standards-based learning.

Twig Science Next Gen does this by combining synchronous and asynchronous learning—and, uniquely, being equally strong at both. In a synchronous session, teachers are able to walk through a Digital Twig Book live with students or present to students via a split-screen. Asynchronously, teachers can assign students the same sections from their Twig Books and use feedback tools to check on students’ progress. We’ve made sure that no matter what approach is being used, teachers can switch between using Twig Science Next Gen synchronously or asynchronously and the content and standards covered will blend seamlessly with what was taught before and what’s coming up next. This adaptability is bringing bring real peace of mind to teachers, students, and parents in these transitional months.

2. 3,000+ Twig Coach/Video Labs Lessons

Our 3,000 Twig Coach and Video Labs lesson videos are what really makes Twig Science Next Gen the strongest hybrid and/or remote solution out there.

Our team of Twig Coaches is made up of virtual teachers who appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos. They’re all experienced teachers, who specialize in teaching science at particular grades. The lessons Twig Coaches present are designed to fit right into your students’ full program of science learning—they’re not bonus lessons to fill in when the teacher is not available. They hit exactly the same learning standards as teachers would be expected to cover in the classroom. Likewise, they’re not simply presenter-led videos that students passively watch—Twig Coaches encourage participation and engagement.

Video Labs allow students to take part in experiments from home, which helps to support the teaching of hands-on science—a crucial part of getting students engaged in science. Video Labs are carried out by engaging presenters from different backgrounds, and all of the experiments are shot in HD from start to finish in the Twig Science Next Gen studio.

Just as with the Twig Coach videos, Video Labs aren’t just random fun experiments. They’re carefully designed to teach important standards—including science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas—as stepping stones on students’ paths towards STEM success at school and, much later, in college and careers.

3. Culturally Relevant Content

The Twig Science Next Gen program is committed to bringing the wonder of science learning to every student, no matter their background. Twig Science Next Gen features immersive story-based investigations full of theater-quality videos, interactives, and imagery, and in all of it we’ve tried to be sensitive to the need to represent the realities of the diversity of student experience.

In this respect, we’ve gone way beyond what is legally and socially compliant. We want absolutely every student to get the same level of opportunity to succeed in STEM. And we firmly believe that students get excited about science careers when they understand that scientists are regular people just like them. We’ve made sure to include representation of different genders and races in our learning materials—including in our Twig Coaches and Video Labs—and the program includes examples of a wide range of STEM professionals from all backgrounds to inspire students, including interviews with real-world scientists who talk in a relatable way about what they do, how they got started, and the tools they use.


Twig Science Next Gen pilots are being rolled out right now—so get in touch today to apply to have your school try out the entire program.

8 Enfoques clave de educación a distancia | Twig Education

En los últimos meses, maestros y alumnos han tenido que adaptarse a la educación a distancia, lo que conlleva enfrentarse a nuevos retos. Dado que es poco probable que la mayoría de nosotros volvamos a tiempo completo a un aula normal pronto, es importante encontrar formas de hacer que la educación a distancia sea lo más exitosa posible.

Hay varias razones por las que la educación a distancia a veces puede ser un desafío. El contacto uno a uno es importante para la motivación y el compromiso, y es menos probable que los estudiantes participen continuamente en el trabajo del curso sin contacto personal con los maestros y compañeros de clase. Tampoco es fácil para los estudiantes con dificultades de aprendizaje recibir el apoyo que necesitan si no están en la misma sala que sus maestros. 

Además de eso, no todos los niños tienen fácil acceso a dispositivos digitales o una buena conexión a Internet. Si bien los maestros no pueden controlar el entorno del hogar de los alumnos, hay algunas cosas que puedes hacer para ayudar a que tus alumnos se mantengan comprometidos, constantes y motivados.

Estos son nuestros principales consejos sobre cómo navegar con éxito en un entorno de aprendizaje a distancia.

  1. Hazlo divertido

Esto puede parecer obvio, pero podría decirse que es lo más importante en la educación a distancia. Los alumnos deben sentirse motivados para ser constantes en las lecciones virtuales, participar en los trabajo en grupo y hacer su trabajo independiente. Cambia algo todos los días y utiliza recursos digitales como videos, juegos interactivos y actividades prácticas. 

  1. No des sermones—prioriza la conversación

Mantén las explicaciones al mínimo y prioriza el contenido de video, los proyectos de investigación o el estudio independiente para asegurarte de que los estudiantes se familiarizan con los temas antes de venir a clase. Reserva tiempo cara a cara para conversaciones, comentarios y proyectos prácticos.

  1. Busca un aprendizaje lo más colaborativo e interactivo posible

Esto es complicado en un entorno de enseñanza a distancia, pero no imposible. Utiliza las salas para grupos pequeños (disponibles con la mayoría de las plataformas de videoconferencia) para fomentar el trabajo en grupo y / o la discusión, asigna proyectos prácticos como tarea y utiliza actividades y juegos interactivos cuando sea adecuado.

  1. Haz uso de un Sistema de Gestión de Aprendizaje (SGA)

Usa un SGA u otra aplicación para compartir contenido ya que puede ayudar enormemente en un entorno de educación a distancia. Por ejemplo, se puede pedir a los estudiantes que compartan los resultados de sus proyectos o que trabajen en proyectos grupales en documentos compartidos. Además, un SGA generalmente te permite compartir fácilmente videos u otro contenido con los estudiantes como “asignaciones”. 

  1. Haz que los alumnos rindan cuentas

Los alumnos con motivación por naturaleza suelen tener más éxito en un entorno de educación a distancia. Con los alumnos con dificultades, puedes utilizar estas estrategias:

  • Prioriza los proyectos grupales sobre las tareas individuales y haz uso de las salas de descanso durante el tiempo del aula para darles a los grupos tiempo dedicado para ponerse al día. 
  • Mantén a los padres informados. Por supuesto, los padres no son maestros y la mayoría tendrán trabajos que les limitarán el tiempo, aún así, es probable que muchos estén dispuestos a aportar en que sus hijos sean responsables cuando se trata de hacer sus tareas escolares.
  1. Establece metas individuales claras y verifica el aprendizaje

Evalúa cómo se ha desarrollado cada estudiante recientemente y establece metas para que las alcancen. Adapta el contenido y las tareas de cada lección para lograr estos objetivos y asegúrate de verificar el progreso de los estudiantes con regularidad. Esto ayudará a motivar a los alumnos a aprender y significa que puede realizar un seguimiento de las necesidades de los estudiantes.

  1. No te olvides de diferenciar entre tus alumnos

Puede ser un desafío atender a todos los alumnos en un entorno de aprendizaje a distancia, pero quizás en este entorno sea incluso más importante. Hay algunas cosas que puedes hacer para ayudar:

  • Reúne grupos de alumnos en diferentes salas de reuniones. Dependiendo de la tarea, puede ser más útil reunir a los alumnos con las mismas habilidades o agruparlos complementándose con una variedad de habilidades diferentes.
  • Adapta la tarea y la retroalimentación a las necesidades de los alumnos. No todos aprenden de la misma manera y algunos alumnos pueden necesitar ayuda adicional en ciertas áreas.
  • Busca recursos de enseñanza que permitan un aprendizaje diferenciado, como videos que vienen con subtítulos / voz en off en diferentes niveles de idioma o en diferentes idiomas.
  1. Busca recursos de confianza

Tener recursos de confianza que pueda usar para una amplia gama de propósitos es esencial para el éxito del aprendizaje a distancia. Los recursos de Twig Education para edades de 4 a 16 años se pueden adaptar fácilmente para la educación a distancia:

  • Nuestra función “presenta tu lección” te permite fácilmente compartir materiales educativos con tus alumnos tanto durante una conferencia de video como en el aula.
  • Nuestros videos atractivos y de alta calidad se pueden enviar a los alumnos como un contacto previo a un tema o lección antes de una clase de educación a distancia. Los subtítulos, locuciones y subtítulos en inglés estándar y simplificado, árabe, chino y más idiomas, permiten su diferenciación fácilmente.
  • Las actividades interactivas, los juegos y las pruebas son perfectos para animar a los alumnos a participar en el proceso de aprendizaje durante las lecciones de videoconferencia.

Obtén más información visitando nuestros recursos: Twig (años 11–16), Tigtag (años 7–11), Tigtag CLIL (años 7–11, con apoyo adicional de lenguaje), o Tigtag Junior (años 4–7).

Esperamos que estos consejos te ayuden a sentirte más equipado para abordar la enseñanza a distancia en el futuro.

¿Qué impacto ha tenido la pandemia en la educación?

Para estudiantes y profesores de todo el mundo, el último año ha sido una experiencia turbulenta. Cuando la pandemia golpeó a principios de 2020, países de todo el mundo impusieron el cierre de escuelas, con el objetivo de “volver a la normalidad” lo antes posible. Sin embargo, muchos estudiantes y profesores están aún ejerciendo la enseñanza a distancia a tiempo completo, mientras que otros se están adaptando a la educación híbrida entre la escuela y en el hogar.

A mediados de marzo de 2020, el 44% de los estudiantes de todo el mundo estaban fuera de las aulas de forma parcial o permanente, y a mediados de abril este número había aumentado al 84,5%, con casi 1.500 millones de estudiantes en 165 países afectados por el cierre de escuelas. (1) Para continuar la enseñanza durante este tiempo, los profesores tuvieron que cambiar completamente la forma en que enseñaban. Se adaptaron los recursos didácticos, se actualizaron los planes de lecciones y se introdujeron plataformas de enseñanza electrónicas, todo con el objetivo de garantizar que los alumnos no vieran afectado su aprendizaje. La enseñanza asincrónica, en la que los estudiantes asimilan el contenido de forma independiente e informan al profesor, tuvo bastante popularidad, junto con la enseñanza sincrónica, en la que el profesor imparte lecciones en línea a través de software como Zoom o Google Classroom.

Los gobiernos de todo el mundo respondieron ofreciendo guías de orientación y formación, al tiempo que proporcionaron recursos educativos gratuitos a través de la televisión, la radio e Internet. El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Los Ángeles en los EUA se asoció con la red de televisión PBS para ofrecer transmisiones educativas locales, (2) mientras que la televisión nacional del Reino Unido, la BBC, lanzó una serie de enseñanza virtual llamada Bitesize Daily. (3) Mientras tanto, las plataformas de enseñanza en línea y las empresas de conferencias en línea también ofrecieron su apoyo. Por ejemplo, BYJU, con sede en Bangalore, ofreció clases gratuitas en vivo, y Lark, con sede en Singapur, ofreció a los profesores y alumnos tiempo ilimitado de videoconferencias, edición de proyectos en tiempo real y más. (4) La UNESCO trabajó con muchos países para minimizar la interrupción del aprendizaje causada por la pandemia, apoyando la implementación de programas de educación a distancia y recomendó el uso de aplicaciones educativas abiertas. (5)

Para nosotros en Twig, no hay nada más importante que apoyar a los profesores y los alumnos, por lo que hemos ofrecido contenido STEM de nuestros productos de forma gratuita, así como acceso a paquetes de educación a distancia especialmente diseñados para la enseñanza a distancia. En México, Twig Education trabajó junto con la Secretaría de Educación Pública para brindar a los estudiantes y maestros acceso gratuito a contenido STEM como: videos de ciencia, materiales educativos, planes de clase, paquetes de estudio independientes y libros de lectura en línea en español. Más de 11.000 usuarios accedieron a las plataformas Twig, Tigtag y Tigtag Junior durante el 2020 mediante la estrategia Aprende en Casa, y a partir de 2021 a través del sitio Nueva Escuela Mexicana. Además, se transmitieron 100 videos de Twig en televisión nacional como parte de la globalmente reconocida iniciativa Televisión Educativa.

Twig también ha colaborado con Ministerios de Educación en Colombia, Uruguay, Perú, Guatemala y España, ofreciendo acceso gratuito a recursos STEM para profesores y estudiantes, contribuyendo a mejorar el conocimiento científico a nivel mundial. En Colombia, apoyamos el programa ‘Jornada Única’ del Ministerio de Educación, un proyecto que tiene como objetivo reducir la brecha en la calidad de la educación entre la educación pública y la privada, mediante la extensión del horario escolar en las escuelas públicas. Los recursos de Tigtag y Tigtag Junior se han incluido en un ‘Kit de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación’, con distribución en 457 escuelas en áreas rurales.

Más recientemente, nuestros 29 libros de lectura en español fueron seleccionados por el Ministerio de Educación de Chile para ser incluidos en su Comunidad Lectora Digital, un sitio que tiene como objetivo aumentar la alfabetización en los estudiantes jóvenes proporcionándoles contenido de lectura atractivo.

De manera similar, nos sentimos increíblemente orgullosos de trabajar con UNICEF en The Learning Passport, una plataforma educativa digital personalizada para niños y jóvenes.

A febrero de 2021, 28 países del mundo mantienen cerradas sus escuelas a nivel nacional. La mayoría de los países del mundo han cerrado sus escuelas locales o bien han puesto en marcha un sistema de enseñanza híbrido en el que los estudiantes pasan algunos días en las escuelas y otros en casa. En todo el mundo, casi 222 millones de estudiantes se ven afectados actualmente. (6) Entonces, ¿cómo será el futuro?

Si bien algunos estudios muestran que los estudiantes retienen más material cuando aprenden en línea, (7) muchos otros estudios muestran la importancia de la enseñanza en persona. Según un estudio de la OECD, el éxito escolar se basa en relaciones cercanas con los maestros. (8) Naturalmente, el aprendizaje en línea ha dificultado que los maestros ayuden a quienes tienen dificultades de aprendizaje. Los estudiantes que vienen de familias desfavorecidas han sido especialmente afectados ya que no tienen un fácil acceso a dispositivos digitales, y cuyos padres no suelen poder ayudarles con los deberes. Estos estudiantes en una situación normal habrían podido utilizar el equipamiento escolar y recibir apoyo en persona de sus maestros.

Aunque es probable que las escuelas vuelvan a abrir en cuanto sea posible, la enseñanza híbrida se ha vuelto cada vez más popular y es probable que se mantenga durante bastante tiempo, si no durante los años venideros. En el futuro, los maestros tendrán que seguir desarrollando y adaptando sus métodos de enseñanza, y las empresas educativas tendrán que ofrecer soluciones creativas para asegurarse de que todos los niños reciban apoyo.

En Twig Education, continuaremos respondiendo a las necesidades de los estudiantes y educadores de todo el mundo. En los EUA, hemos lanzado Twig Distance Learning, un programa flexible de aprendizaje a distancia que admite la educación sincrónica y asincrónica, con un menú a la carta de nuestros experimentados instructores de Twig. Además, seguimos apoyando a los profesores y estudiantes de todo el mundo, mediante la mejora de nuestros recursos de aprendizaje y ofreciendo orientación sobre cómo pueden adaptarse a la educación a distancia

Fuentes:

  1. https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse
  2. https://deadline.com/2020/03/pbs-socal-kcet-lausd-los-angeles-schools-close-1202883111/
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2020/education-teachers
  4. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/
  5. https://en.unesco.org/news/290-million-students-out-school-due-covid-19-unesco-releases-first-global-numbers-and-mobilizes
  6. https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse
  7. https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/301248/15-facts-and-stats-that-reveal-the-power-of-elearning
  8. http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/learning-remotely-when-schools-close-how-well-are-students-and-schools-prepared-insights-from-pisa-3bfda1f7/

What impact has the pandemic had on education?

For students and teachers around the world, the last year has been a roller coaster. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, countries around the world imposed school closures, with the view of “going back to normal” as soon as possible. However, many students and teachers are still doing distance learning full time, while others are adapting to a hybrid of in-school and at-home learning. 

At the middle of March 2020, 44% of learners worldwide were out of class some or all of the time, and by mid-April this number had risen to 84.5%, with almost 1.5 billion students in 165 countries affected by school closures. (1) To keep learning going during this time, teachers had to completely change the way they taught. Teaching resources were adapted, lesson plans updated, and e-learning platforms introduced, all with the goal of making sure students didn’t miss out on their education. Asynchronous learning—where students take in content independently and report back to the teacher—became popular, paired with synchronous learning, with the teacher conducting online lessons through software such as Zoom or Google Classroom.

Governments around the world responded by offering guidance documents and training, while also providing free education resources via TV, radio, and the internet. LA Unified School District in the US partnered with the TV network PBS to offer local educational broadcasts, (2) while the UK’s national TV network BBC launched a virtual learning series called Bitesize Daily. (3) Meanwhile, online learning platforms and online conferencing companies also offered their support. For example, Bangalore-based BYJU offered free live classes, and Singapore-based Lark offered teachers and students unlimited video-conferencing time, real-time project editing, and more. (4) Other organisations also offered their support. UNESCO worked with many countries to minimize the learning disruption caused by the pandemic, supporting the implementation of distance learning programmes and recommended the use of open educational applications. (5)

For us at Twig, supporting teachers and students is the most important thing we do, and to help out we have offered free trials to our supplemental products, as well as access to specially made independent learning packs. We also worked directly with governments around the world—collaborating with Ministries of Education in Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Iraq, and more to offer free STEM content to students and teachers, as part of our mission to improve science literacy globally. In Iraq, for example, Twig videos are published on the Ministry of Education’s online platform Newton. In Mexico, Twig content was published on the government’s new distance learning site, and Twig films were broadcast on national television as part of the globally recognized initiative Televisión Educativa. Similarly, we have been incredibly proud to work with UNICEF on the Learning Passport, a digital personalized learning platform for children and young people.

As of February 2021, 28 countries in the world have nationwide school closures implemented. The majority of the world’s countries either have local school closures or are doing a hybrid approach where students spend some days in schools and some at home. Worldwide, almost 222 million learners are currently affected. (6) So what will the future look like?

While some studies show that students retain more material when learning online, (7) many studies also show the importance of in-person learning. According to a study by the OECD, success in school performance relies on close relationships with teachers. (8) Naturally, online learning has made it difficult for teachers to help those who are struggling. Especially affected are students from disadvantaged families who may not have easy access to digital devices, or whose parents are not able to help them with homework. These students would normally have been able to use school equipment and receive in-person support from their teachers.

So while schools are likely to reopen as much as possible, the hybrid approach has become increasingly popular and is likely to stick around for quite a while, if not for years to come. Moving forward, teachers will have to keep developing and adapting their teaching methods—and educational companies will have to offer creative solutions to make sure that all children are supported. 

At Twig Education, we will continue to respond to the needs of learners and educators around the world. In the US, we’ve launched Twig Distance Learning, a flexible distance learning program that supports both synchronous and asynchronous learning, with on-demand instruction from our experienced Twig Coaches. Around the world, we are continuing to support teachers and students through improving our learning resources and offering guidance on how they can be adapted for distance learning

Sources:

  1. https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse
  2. https://deadline.com/2020/03/pbs-socal-kcet-lausd-los-angeles-schools-close-1202883111/
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2020/education-teachers
  4. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/
  5. https://en.unesco.org/news/290-million-students-out-school-due-covid-19-unesco-releases-first-global-numbers-and-mobilizes
  6. https://en.unesco.org/covid19/educationresponse
  7. https://www.shiftelearning.com/blog/bid/301248/15-facts-and-stats-that-reveal-the-power-of-elearning
  8. http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/learning-remotely-when-schools-close-how-well-are-students-and-schools-prepared-insights-from-pisa-3bfda1f7/

3 Must-Have Components of Twig Distance Learning

We’re in strange times for science learning, and many of the distance learning solutions out there are scrambling to catch up. It’s not hard to find solutions that are designed to engage students on a basic level just to get them doing something at home, but resources to help students master Performance Expectations or to prepare for state testing, for example, are another matter.

Twig Distance Learning is a product of listening to what teachers say are the key challenges they’re facing this year—and devising creative solutions that are adaptable, easy to use, and genuinely inspiring. We thought carefully about the problems teachers and students are going to face in the months to come, and we’re confident we’ve made some good choices that users are going to appreciate. There are lots of important features that help to make the Twig Distance Learning experience a tool for setting up students for long-term STEM success. Here’s a run-through of three of the standout features and benefits.

1. Synchronous/Asynchronous Distance Learning

Many of the distance learning resources available up until now were stopgap solutions. They help keep students learning something, which is important, but they’re not a replacement for what students used to get solely though in-class instruction.

Twig Science Distance Learning, however, is a high-quality, standards-based program that finally makes it possible to achieve a quality and depth of instruction equivalent to the classroom experience. Twig Distance Learning does this by combining synchronous and asynchronous learning—and, uniquely, being equally strong at both.

You no doubt know that synchronous learning is when teachers and students take part at the same time, such as when the teacher is presenting a lesson online. This is fine, and closer to the traditional classroom model, but synchronous learning needs everyone to be available at the same time, which isn’t always possible. Technical challenges can also get in the way.

Asynchronous is by nature a more flexible approach. Teachers don’t need to be virtually present when students complete lessons and work—they can assign content later that students can work through at their own pace. This feature of asynchronous learning is actually really empowering, giving all students greater freedom to guide their own progress.

The way Twig Distance Learning incorporates both synchronous and asynchronous models means you really have the best of both formats. In a synchronous session, teachers are able to walk through a Digital Twig Book live with students or present to students via a split screen. Asynchronously, teachers can assign students the same sections from their Twig Books and use feedback tools to check on students’ progress. We’ve made sure that no matter what approach is being used, teachers can switch between using Twig Distance Learning synchronously or asynchronously and the content and standards covered will blend seamlessly with what was taught before and what’s coming up next. We know it’s not going to be an either/or situation this fall. We know teachers are going to need to flip between live, online teaching, in-class situations, and assigning students independent work. Twig Distance Learning allows for exactly this flexibility in approaches. We hope this adaptability is going to bring real peace of mind to teachers, students, and parents in the year ahead.

2. Twig Coach/Video Labs

Twig Coach is the feature that really makes Twig Distance Learning the strongest asynchronous solution out there. As mentioned, Twig Distance Learning is the only program that can offer equally strong synchronous and asynchronous instructions.

Our team of Twig Coaches is made up of virtual teachers who appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos. They’re all experienced teachers, who specialize in teaching science at particular grades. The lessons Twig Coaches present are designed to fit right into your students’ full program of science learning—they’re not bonus lessons to fill in when the teacher is not available. They hit exactly the same learning standards as teachers would be expected to cover in the classroom. Likewise, they’re not simply presenter-led videos that students passively watch—Twig Coaches encourage participation and engagement.

Twig Distance Learning Video Labs are another vital tool for asynchronous learning. They allow students to take part in experiments from home, which helps to support the teaching of hands-on science—a crucial part of getting students engaged in science. Video Labs are carried out by engaging presenters from different backgrounds, and all of the experiments are shot in HD from start to finish in the Twig Science studio.

While the primary use of Video Labs is as an aid to enable students to view hands-on lab work they’re unable to complete themselves, they can also be used as a refresher for work you carry out with students in a synchronous session.

Just as with the Twig Coach videos, Video Labs aren’t just random fun experiments. They’re carefully designed to teach important standards—including science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas—as stepping stones on students’ paths towards STEM success at school and, much later, in college and careers.

3. Culturally Relevant Content

Twig Distance Learning shares with the wider Twig Science program a commitment to bring the wonder of science learning to every student, no matter their background. Twig Distance Learning features immersive story-based investigations full of theater-quality videos, interactives, and imagery, and in all of it we’ve tried to be sensitive to the need to represent the realities of the diversity of student experience.

In this respect, we’ve gone way beyond what is legally and socially compliant. We want absolutely every student to get the same level of opportunity to succeed in STEM. And we firmly believe that students get excited about science careers when they understand that scientists are regular people just like them. We’ve made sure to include representation of different genders and races in our learning materials—including in our Twig Coaches and Video Labs—and the program includes examples of a wide range of STEM professionals from all backgrounds to inspire students, including interviews with real-world scientists who talk in a relatable way about what they do, how they got started, and the tools they use.


Twig Distance Learning trials are being rolled out right now—so get in touch today to apply to have your school try out the entire program.

8 Key Distance Learning Approaches | Twig Distance Learning

Over the last few months, teachers and students have had to adapt to distance learning, which comes with a whole host of new challenges. Since most of us are unlikely to get back full-time to a normal classroom anytime soon, it’s important to find ways to make distance learning as successful as possible. 

There are several reasons why distance learning can sometimes be a challenge. One-to-one contact is important for motivation and accountability, and students are less likely to continually engage in coursework without personal contact with teachers and classmates. It’s also not as straightforward for struggling students to receive the support they need if they’re not in the same room as their teachers. 

On top of that, not all children have easy access to digital devices or a good internet connection. While teachers can’t control a student’s home environment, there are some things you can do to ensure your students stay engaged, challenged, and motivated. 

Here are our top tips for how to successfully navigate a distance learning environment.

  1. Make it fun

This one might seem obvious, but it’s arguably even more important in a distance learning classroom. Students need to feel motivated to keep coming back to virtual lessons, engage with group work, and do their independent work. Change it up every day and make use of digital resources like videos, interactive games, and hands-on activities. 

  1. Don’t lecture—prioritize conversation

Keep the explaining to a minimum and prioritize video content, investigatory projects, or independent research to ensure that students familiarize themselves with topics before coming to class. Reserve face-to-face time for conversations, feedback, and hands-on projects. 

  1. Make learning as collaborative and interactive as possible

This is trickier in a distance learning environment, but not impossible. Make use of break-out rooms (available with most video conference platforms) to encourage group work and/or discussion, assign practical projects as homework, and use interactive activities and games when suitable.  

  1. Make use of a learning management system (LMS)

Using an LMS or other application for sharing content can help immensely in a distance learning environment. For example, students can be asked to share research findings or work on group projects in shared documents. In addition, an LMS will usually allow you to easily share videos or other content with students as “assignments.” 

  1. Hold students accountable

Students who are naturally self-motivated are often more successful in a distance learning environment. With students who struggle, there are strategies you can use:

  • Prioritize group assignments over individual homework, and make use of break-out rooms during class time to give groups dedicated time to catch up. 
  • Keep parents in the loop. Of course, parents aren’t teachers, and most will have jobs that take up their time, but many will likely be keen to keep their kids accountable when it comes to doing their schoolwork. 
  1. Set clear individual goals and check learning

Look at how each student has performed recently and put together goals for them to achieve. Tailor your lesson content and assignments to meet these goals, and make sure to check students’ learning regularly. This will help motivate students to learn and means you can keep track of student needs.

  1. Don’t forget about differentiation

It can be challenging to cater to every single student in a distance learning environment, but it’s perhaps even more important. There are a few things you can do to help: 

  • Put groups of students together in different break-out rooms. Depending on the task, it may be more helpful to either put students of the same ability together, or group students in a range of different abilities. 
  • Adapt homework and feedback to student needs. Not everyone learns in the same way, and some students may need additional help in certain areas. 
  • Find learning resources that allow for differentiated learning, such as videos that come with captions/voice-overs in different language levels or different languages. 
  1. Find reliable resources

Having a reliable resource that you trust and can use for a wide range of purposes is essential for successful distance learning. Twig Distance Learning does just that. Our distance learning solution is based on our full PreK/TK–8 standards-based science program. In addition to the full Twig Science program, Twig DL features additional support:

  • Twig Coach videos are bite-sized studio quality coaching videos, presented by experienced teachers who lead students through each lesson, encouraging participation and engagement.
  • Video Labs allow students to take part in experiments from home. Students can now investigate and participate in experiments with our digital labs, created to support teaching hands on science. 

We hope that these tips will help you feel more equipped to tackle distance learning in the future.