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|Curriculum based websites|
Twig World Limited
Twig World Limited is an online learning platform that offers digital educational content via a subscription service. The majority of its content is film-based, providing hundreds of short (three minute) films on physics, chemistry, biology and earth science. These are accompanied by learning materials for students and teachers. The service is targeted at students aged between 10 and 16.
Twig films are created to cover curriculum content using documentary footage from major archives (including the BBC Motion Gallery, NASA, Science Photo Library, and Getty Images among others) as well as self-produced graphics and animations.
Twig first launched its digital content at the BETT show in January 2011. Initially 250 films were available, these covered subject aspects of chemistry, biology, physics and earth science, were three minutes long, and aimed at students aged between 10 and 16.
The number of films grew to 500 by May 2011, and over 600 by the start of the academic year 2011/2012. This number is expected to rise to approximately 1500 with the release of human geography, mathematics and science glossary films in May 2012. These are currently in production.
Prior to Twig’s public launch in January 2011, the company was known as LL Online. LL Online worked in conjunction with Learning Teaching Scotland. To date, Twig has continued to work with Learning Teaching Scotland (now renamed Education Scotland), and renewed its contract to supply the resource as part of Glow (Scottish Schools National Intranet)) for a further three years in December 2011. Twig is known as GlowScience in Scotland and is available to all Glow users.
Twig’s main product is its range of films. This range covers physics, chemistry, biology and earth science, totaling over 600 films, all of approximately three minutes in length. They are made for teachers and pupils at Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and GCSE levels and their curriculum equivalents around the world.
Films are divided into “core” and “context” films. “Core” films are focus on key curriculum learning points, whilst “context” films cover real-life applications and extensions of the core learning points, as well as aspects of science history.
The films are produced in Twig’s production facility in Glasgow, using archive footage from a range of sources, including the BBC Motion Gallery, Getty Images, NASA, CBS, CCTV, Science Photo Library and the US National Archives. Films are scripted to make them curriculum and age relevant and are produced in conjunction with content-relevant academics and educators. Animations, graphics and text are produced and incorporated into the films during post-production after which, voiceovers are added. Voiceover and graphics, as distinct tracks, are easily re-voiced, allowing for re-versioning into other languages.
Each topic area of films is accompanied by a set of learning materials. These include transcripts of the films, key learning points, photographic and diagrammatic resources, and handouts for pupils that include detailed notes on the topic, as well as quizzes and extensions questions. Handouts are available for downloads as .pdfs, and complete learning materials of topic areas can be downloaded as a .zip file.
Studies and Reviews
An evaluation of GlowScience was carried out by the SCRE Centre and the School of Education at the University of Glasgow, with their final report being released in April 2011. The evaluation was commissioned by Learning Teaching Scotland and was conducted between October 2010 and February 2011, with part of its remit being to ascertain the extent to which GlowScience resources were supporting teachers and helping to engage pupils.
In the report, GlowScience resources “were deemed to be of excellent quality and of a high standard, trustworthy, suitably tailored for children and young people, and highly effective teaching and learning resources”.
- MEDEA Awards: Finalist, 2011.
- BETT Awards: Winner, Secondary Digital Content, 2012.
- Interactive Media Awards: Winner, Best In Class (Science and Technology), 2011.
- ERA (Education Resources Awards): Winner, Best Secondary Resource or Equipment involving ICT, 2012. Finalist, Innovation Award category.
- Learning on Screen Awards: Nominated, Courseware and Curriculum Award, 2012.
Twig makes its films available via its website www.twig-it.com. Through username and password access, schools and pupils can stream film content from the site, as well as access and download learning materials. Users can navigate to their required films in three different ways: firstly, via a standard list, divided by subject and topic area. Secondly, via the key learning points of a variety of curriculums, and thirdly, via an interactive mind map. The mind map feature is the most prominent method of navigation: it is introduced in the main homepage banner. It is multi-layered, and allows the progressive refinement of subject and topic area by the user. Films, once selected, open in a pop-out viewer that also provides buttons to download learning materials, as well as film transcripts and online multiple-choice quizzes. Twig’s website is award winning, having been recognized by the Interactive Media Awards.
Twig provides its digital content to over 2500 schools in the UK through its online subscription service. Twig either operates in partnership with Education Scotland (formerly Learning Teaching Scotland) as GlowScience, or independently, distributing directly to schools and local authorities.
In late 2011, Twig announced a partnership deal with Carolina Biological, making Twig’s products available to more than 180,000 teachers and 15,000 schools in the USA. This was followed in early 2012 by the announcement of a parternship deal with Benesse Corporation of Japan, with films in Japanese language being made available to students from April 2012. [Malaysia to be added in when details are released?]
- http://twig-it.com/credits "Credits", retrieved 20 April 2012.
- http://twig-it.com/coming-soon-to-twig "Coming soon to twig", retrieved 20 April 2012.
- http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/newsandevents/educationnews/2010/pressreleases/april/news_tcm4597240.asp "New education resources bring jobs to Scotland", 19 April 2010.
- http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/view/pressrelease/award-winning-glasgow-company-renews-contract-with-education-scotland-736828 "Award-winning Glasgow company renews contract with Education Scotland", 28 February 2012.
- Elliot, D.L., Wilson, D., and Boyle, S. (2011) GlowScience Evaluation. Project Report. Learning and Teaching Scotland, Glasgow, UK, 
- Elliot, D.L., Wilson, D., and Boyle, S. (2011) GlowScience Evaluation. Project Report. Learning and Teaching Scotland, Glasgow, UK,  p.8-9.
- http://www.medea-awards.com/showcase/twig "Twig: Medea Finalist 2011", retrieved 20 April 2012.
- http://www.bettawards.com/359721 "Winners 2012", retrieved 20 April 2012
- http://www.agent4change.net/bett-week/news/1437-2012-bett-awards.html "New-generation ICT steps up for 2012 BETT awards", Maureen McTaggart, 11 January 2012.
- http://www.interactivemediaawards.com/winners/certificate.asp?param=90873&cat=1 "Winners", 19 January 2012.
- http://www.besa.org.uk/documents/education-resources-awards-2012-winners-press-release/ "Education Resources Awards 2012 winners press release", 17 March 2012.
- http://bufvc.ac.uk/events/learningonscreen/nominations "Nominations for Learning on Screen 2012", retrieved 16 April 2012.
- http://twig-it.com/subscribe "Subsciption Options", retrieved 20 April 2012.
- http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/2/prweb9182195.htm "UK Start-Up Education Company Announces US and Japan Deals", 13 February 2012.