Matt from Twingl here. When we joined the Ethos Community, Hazel asked that we share a bit about who we are and what we're working on. So here it is!
At Twingl we believe that technology can make humanity smarter—and we're building the first generation of tools to do exactly that.
A few months ago we entered the Lightning Lab, a startup accelerator based in Wellington. An accelerator is a kind of high-pressured school for early stage companies. Over the course of three months startups are bombarded with mentors and workshops, all well under the pressure to keep developing their product and user base.
The goal is to compress three year's worth learning into three months. For us it meant exploring many markets, with many products. In the process, we discovered a shared passion for education among the team.
Looking around (from the lens of recent school graduates) we were jealous of trend towards student-centred pedagogies. Not to mention the technology many of today's students now have at their disposal—in every class!
And so our first product, Trailblazer, was born. It's a Google Chrome application that visualises the process of online research. Trailblazer creates a map of the sites your students have visited, as well as the search terms they plugged into search engines:
This map helps keep students research organised—and on track. Instead of losing their place among a sea of tabs, students can use the map to reorientate themselves.
This same map is shared with teachers. Now you can see whether Tom is looking beyond Wikipedia. You can understand how Sarah is phrasing her inquiry. You can intervene before Jack submits a report filled with references of questionable credibility. For teachers, Trailblazer provides a window into your students' research process. We hope to see it spark conversations around digital literacy.
To put such claims to the test we're organising a pilot programme for Term 3. We're excited to have commitments from eight New Zealand schools to trial Trailblazer—all at the forefront of eLearning, 1:1, or BYOD programmes. We will be working closely with these schools to brainstorm features and iron out the worst of the kinks.
We're over subscribed for our first pilot, but we're on the hunt for schools to be a part of our second pilot that will start in Term 4. The only requirements are that your students have access to their own computers during your class and that your school uses Google Apps. If you access your school email using Gmail, then chances are you're using Google Apps!
Does this sound like something you're keen to trial, or something that will interest another school you know? Either way, we'd love to hear from you!
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