Web watch: Josh Howgego looks at some websites that may be of interest to chemistry teachers
Twig Science has just reached the end of its first year online and has already won a 2012 British Education Teaching Technology (BETT) award. With credentials like that, it seems like an appropriate time for webwatch to see what all the fuss is about.
Twig is a swish new website chock-full of science videos. The films are visually beautiful; transporting pupils directly inside the xylem of a plant, or onto the head of a match, as it's struck in slow motion and begins its combustion reaction. Twig is also very well conceived; the clever thing being that the videos they produce are short and snappy. That means they don't take over a whole lesson and as a result they're eminently useable. Neither do they take up much lesson preparation time. You don't need to trawl through archives of VHS tapes to find clips showing what goes on at a metal extraction plant. Twig have done all that for you (and spiced it up a little too, thank goodness).
I asked Paul Foster, a science teacher at a school in Bristol, what he thought of the site. 'Finding a suitable Twig video clip is quick and easy,' he told me. 'But the best thing about them is that the clips are short and to the point, making them perfect for including as part of a lesson. The accompanying learning materials are great too.'
All of Twig's resources are extremely well organised. They are searchable by topic, unit of the curriculum or - my favourite - a rather funky animated mind-map which graphically connects videos that contain similar concepts.
It's not just videos either, as Paul indicated. For each topic there are 'basic' and 'advanced' quizzes, which seem designed to fix the information displayed in the films in the pupils' minds. There are also textual resources with more in-depth information for each theme.
Twig is a subscription based resource, but also offers a raft of freely accessible content. My favourite of these was the Time Travel video. Overall, Twig is a great resource and the careful thought that's gone into its construction is evident. My advice?
Go online and use it before your colleagues beat you to it.
Special offer for EiC readers
To a receive a 2-week free trial and your special offer price, email
email@example.com with the subject line EiC Offer (offer expires 31 March 2012).
Videos for science lessons
Contact and Further Information
If you know of any websites that should be reviewed in Education in Chemistry please email the title and URL to Josh Howgego.
Email: Josh Howgego