Product Review of Tigtag
Tigtag is a resource from Carolina Science that provides videos and support tools for elementary-level science learning. Content is organized into modules, with online and in-class activities that examine Life, Material, and Physical Sciences. A one-year subscription includes 600 short science videos, images, worksheets, and quizzes.
Tigtag also provides pre-made lesson plans, along with tools educators can use to create their own lessons. Units contain at least two core videos paired with some shorter “tigbits” videos. These shorter videos might fall into a category like Big Reveal, in which kids guess what an image is before it zooms out from an up-close perspective. Similarly the Pixelate and Jigsaw videos have kids guessing to identify an image.
Tigtag is best used when educators delve into the practical activities that go along with the program’s videos. These videos are short to keep kids’ attention, but this often means that kids will need additional reinforcement to understand the learning goals. For example, kids who do the Showing the Phases of the Moon practical activity will truly understand why the moon changes shape — this is because they’ll get to play the part of Earth as they swivel in a chair and see how light changes on the “moon.”
Teachers with interactive whiteboards or a digital projector can leave the Tigtag site up on their desktop for easy access to classroom visuals. If you have a few extra minutes left in a lesson, you can click the Play Tigtag button, which could be great as a closure activity. In the Teacher Toolbox, videos are also available from Twig World, a related resource for secondary-level classrooms — these may help educators understand the content more deeply. Note that these videos are meant to be used as support tools for educators, not as instructional videos for learners.
Of all the resources provided, Tigtag’s core videos have the most potential. Phases of the Moon is accurate and clearly links to the associated learning goal. While it may not be that much fun, it’s short enough to hold kids’ attention. Context videos, like The First Moon Landing, provide historical relevance to what learners are learning. Other context videos, like The Grunion Fish, help kids make connections among scientific disciplines.
Quizzes are provided, but they tend to look more like tests covering a large number of topics and units, and questions aren’t always clearly linked to learning goals. For example, instead of asking kids to describe why the moon seems to change shape in the sky, questions focus on facts like the names of moon phases and the number of days in the moon’s orbit. Tigtag is a self proclaimed support tool for the “non-specialist” science teacher, boasting that its lesson planning tool allows educators to “teach a lesson with minimum preparation.” While using Tigtag may reduce prep time for educators, the videos by themselves are not enough to help kids master the content. While the shorter, Pixelate and Jigsaw videos may be attention grabbing, what kids actually learn from watching them is questionable.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Mindmaps make it easy to navigate the site’s resources. The videos are informative, but many are missing a fun factor that kids might expect.
Curriculum and Instruction
While the video content matches the Next Generation of Science Standards, it doesn’t always address the Science and Engineering Practices, which require kids to do science, rather than passively watch it.
Some of the practical activities described in the lesson plans make for great extensions. The assessments favor factual rather than conceptual knowledge, and aren’t always clearly aligned to learning goals.