Enhance Learning with Twig
Product Manager, eLearning
We are all familiar with the following situation. Students are seated, elbows on tables, waiting as the teacher rolls the department television into the classroom. The lights go off, the tape or DVD goes in, and the teacher calls for quiet. As the video begins, most of the class is watching the information on screen, curious as to what will be shown and appreciative of the change in routine.
After maybe 5 min most students have drifted off, disenchanted with the decades-old visuals and barely paying attention to what the presenter is discussing. After 30 min, only the most engaged and eager students are still attentive. The rest of the class will barely recall what took place. There has been no active learning, no critical thinking, and no assessment of what, if anything, students have retained.
Thankfully, with the advent of the Internet, increased technology in many schools, and the dedicated work of committed educators, the situation above is an exaggeration of what takes place in today’s classrooms. However, educators and supervisors are still wary of using video in schools, concerned that it will take away from hands-on learning and an engaging, active pedagogical approach.
Twig science and math videos
Video is a proven medium for fostering deep understanding and engagement, resulting in increased long-term recall of concepts. Problems with video usage arise when videos are:
- Too long, taking up valuable class time and allowing students’ attention to wander
- Visibly out of date, losing the interest of students who are used to top-quality modern visuals
- Difficult to find, taking a disproportionate amount of time for teachers to source
- Not paced for learning, either too fast or too slow for the age range of the class
- Clipped or cropped from earlier shows, removing the narrative flow that creates an emotional connection with the content
- Not delivering on curriculum requirements
We hear these complaints time and time again from teachers who are desperate to capture their students’ attention and bring real-world awe and wonder into the classroom. With Twig videos, educators have at their fingertips an expansive range of high-quality science and math videos to complement their lesson plans. These resources have been enthusiastically and energetically welcomed by the education community around the world, winning awards for quality and pedagogy in the UK and the US.
Twig in the classroom
But the question remains, what is the best way to use videos in classrooms? It is important that videos are not used as a replacement for best-teaching practice, but instead are used to complement existing lesson plans and activities. Here are some ideas for how to use Twig videos in your classroom.
For whole-class instruction:
- Incorporate selected videos and support materials into your lesson.
- Use video on your whiteboard to introduce a new topic to students and engage them at the beginning of a lesson.
For small-group activities:
- Have students watch videos on their laptops or other devices as a pre-lab assignment before starting a hands-on activity.
- Have each group answer a series of questions to evaluate prior content knowledge after watching the videos. Use this opportunity to address any misconceptions students may have about the content.
- Assign students videos to watch outside of class to review and reinforce the concepts taught that day.
- Include a series of questions for students to complete as part of the assignment.
For an extension:
- Assign students specific videos to watch along with an independent study assignment related to the concepts covered in the videos. This gives students the opportunity to learn about real-world applications of science concepts they may not have considered before.
For covering today’s science:
- Use a video to quickly reference the fundamental concepts at the start or end of a lesson tied to a popular news story involving science or math that your students may have seen outside of the classroom. This allows students to understand the concepts behind the news story and to relate them to their studies.
For post-lesson review:
- Summarize a lesson by showing a video and following it up with a factual recall quiz displayed on an interactive whiteboard or projector screen. Students can either offer answers individually or the whole class can vote on the correct answer, as every quiz is multiple choice.
Two Twig features help students develop science literacy in line with the Common Core standards. One is the availability of complete transcripts for every video. This amounts to over a thousand 300-word documents, covering both core science principles and contextual stories that use complex scientific terminology. Fully editable as Word® documents, these transcripts can be manipulated and used to support science literacy activities. The other is a video-based science glossary containing 500 very short video definitions of scientific terms that use stunning, memorable visual sequences to convey the information. These can be used to support all learners (including ELL) and help them commit key definitions to memory.