Twine is a social bookmarking site that can be used by educators and students to share common interests. By creating or joining a "twine", a user will be directed to a web space dedicated to the topic. There, users can share web pages, videos, images, and text. Each shared item includes room for a conversation about that item. Twine uses semantic web technology to recommend other content and users as it "learns" what a person's interests are.
The goals of Twine T2 include:
1. Track an individual’s interest, powered by the semantic web
2. Search the web using a semantic meta-data search index, that enables the researcher to narrow to specific categories around the web
3. Provides data base categories for the research to review
4. Follow your interest and provide updates to other software (Facebook etc)
The learning goals for Twine would be determined by the instructor in a class.
Target Student Population:
Twine may work best with college level students. K-12 teachers may not want to use Twine with their students because of the feature that recommends users to connect with based on similar interests.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The learner would have to know how to use a browser in order to be linked to the information indicated in the home page. Requires sign-up and information is taken regarding the individual's interests. The learner would also need to know how to navigate the TWINE system.
Type of Material:
Twine would be classified as a repository or collection.
Instructor may consider having small groups of students research topics and create "twines" about these topics. The twines could be private or shared with the world. Twine could be an excellent tool for a group of teachers, teaching at the same grade level or discipline to share and discuss teaching resources.
One can use a variety of browsers from Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari. Users need basic web navigation skills to make use of Twine.
Evaluation and Observation
The quality of the content on Twine is typically very high because experts and others who care deeply about a topic manage the twines containing the content. There are clear and concise directions to create a user profile.
There can sometimes be a problem of having twines which have been abandoned by the orginator. Users may think they are joining a twine with current information only to find out that the content has not been kept up to date.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Twine has great potential as a tool to be used by college students charged with the responsibility of gathering information about a specific topic. Twine would also work well for teachers as a professional development tool, providing a shared area for discipline or grade-level resources. Each item would include a space for comments by those who have used them.
If an individual has a particular topic of interest, he or she can also request support from the TWINE support team. There may be one to two-day response time.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Twine is easy to use. Once users indicate their interests, they are offered the opportunity to join twines dedicated to those topics, and connect with other users who have similar interests. The site provides updated information for the individual when s/he is signed into the site. Visuals are appropriate and easy to follow.
It takes a while for Twine to get to know a user's interest. Since this is done through artificial intelligence, it is important for the user to not get frustrated when twine makes confusing recommendations. While technical support is available, there may be a one-day delay which would be problematic for last minute researchers.