Teaching resources can be a saving grace in today’s increasingly busy world. However, while there are often a lot of resources for teachers (even created by teachers), lots of other groups get left out of the mix – including tutors, home-school parents, and more. That is until we come to Twinkl.
Twinkl is an educational resource publishing house with an expanded focus on multiple types of educators – with a strong emphasis on homeschooling. However, does this broad focus allow them to create high-quality content, or are you better off with a tightly-focused service like Zenva Schools?
Read on to learn all the best and worst features of Twinkl, the cost, user interface, and more!
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What Is Twinkl?
As mentioned, Twinkl (founded in 2010) is a teaching resource publishing house that provides multiple tools and resources to numerous educators. They focus on primary and secondary schools to give themselves the most extensive customer base possible. However, they also offer an extensive collection that can be used in homeschool and tutoring sessions as well.
Who Is Twinkl’s Target Audience?
One of the standout elements of Twinkl is its massive target audience. They have many focuses with their teaching resources, including:
- Primary schools
- Secondary schools
- Parents who home-school their children
- Those who teach from home (remote tutors, etc.)
- Those who teach kids English as a second language
- Those who teach children with special needs (disabilities, etc.)
- Adult learners
- International teachers
Although it’s impressive that they offer resources to so many markets, it is worth noting they consequently spread themselves thin compared to other platforms. They also are a bit lacking when it comes to high school level students compared to other grades.
For comparison, Zenva Schools has a much more specific focus on technology and is able to deliver high-quality content focused on that subject specifically. Since they mostly target teachers, they’re able to design the platform around this goal – while also offering an age range of Year 3 through 12.
Who Is The Founder Of Twinkl?
Jonathan Seaton is the founder of Twinkl. He has a degree in computing and a postgraduate law degree – and used his experience in those fields to create Twinkl. Since starting the company, he’s taken courses in business management as well to help improve the product.
What Are Twinkl’s Central Values?
Twinkl offers such a broad range of resources that to keep themselves focused, they need some central values. So here are the main aims of Twinkl and what they do to attempt to achieve them.
- They want a large target market to provide fantastic resources to as many students as possible. Mentioned several times already, the target markets include primary schools, secondary schools, home-schooled, childminders, and adult learners.
- They want their range of resources to accommodate their large audience. They do this by giving each target market a resource page with specific resources for each one.
- They want to inspire creativity in educators. They want to allow educators to create lesson plans with an easy and helpful tool.
While Twinkl certainly achieves its aims, bear in mind that there is not as great a focus on quality as other similar platforms. To example, Zenva Schools has a limited scope in targetting technology teachers, but is able to spend a good chunk of time vetting their resources to make sure they’re for sure suitable for the classroom (even mapping courses to curriculum standards).
What Are The Teaching Resource Services On Twinkl?
Twinkl is a massive website, so determining all of the key features can be challenging at first. Therefore, we will take you through their primary offerings to know what they do to stand out.
The Multiple Resource Pages For Different Target Markets
One of the main elements of Twinkl that makes it more unique is that it gives every target market a page full of specifically chosen resources. They do this to make the search process easier for educators who need a specific type of resource.
That being said, it’s hard to say how much benefit there is from this organization. To compare, while Zenva Schools doesn’t offer specific pages, it offers easy-to-use filters to find courses by whatever criteria you need – and this allows Zenva Schools UI to remain very clean.
The Lesson Resource Creation Tool
One of Twinkl’s more significant offerings is their lesson resource creation tool, which is the answer to their value of promoting creativity within educators. They offer various templates that allow teachers and other educators to create resources, print them and use them for lessons. The resources you can make using the resource creation tool include:
- Bookmarks: You can make customizable bookmarks for your classroom. You can choose a design and edit all the features (text, images, etc.).
- Playing Cards For Games: You can make customizable playing cards for fun classroom games. You can add original text and artwork to create the cards. You can also make greetings cards in a very similar way.
- Certificates: These are a great way to make students feel accomplished. There are multiple designs on the tool; you can choose one and move the text and images to your liking.
- Coloring sheets: You can add the illustrations (and text if needed) so students can color in the resource.
- Display banners: You can customize the banner by adding text and images. You can also create display bunting and lettering (with uniform letter sizes).
- Handwriting Sheets: Once again, you can customize the text and colors on the sheets.
- Labels: You can create and customize numerous label types on Twinkl, including standard labels, activity cards, book covers, and more.
- Posters: Twinkl has over 110,000 illustrations that you can add to posters. They also include photos, shapes, text, and more.
- Storyboards: You can use these to tell stories to the class, make plans for lessons, and more. You can choose a layout and customize it with images and text.
- Frames: You can make two types of frames on Twinkl: a Tolsby frame (for entertaining the class) and writing frames (for handwriting practice and other writing exercises). You can fully customize these with text and images.
- Wordmats: You can use word mats to help students improve their spelling and vocabulary. You can customize a range of layouts with specific words and accompanying images.
While a good amount of resources, it is worth mentioning most of these would be considered a supplement to a lesson vs. the main portion.
For teachers looking for something more robust that can function as the primary lesson content, platforms like Zenva Schools might be better. Zenva Schools, for instance, offers full courses along with supplemental material – including interactive lessons, quizzes, and written summaries of the course content.
Because of the large number of Twinkl resources, they offer some for free to give educators a taste of their content. They provide free resources for every type of educator on the site to gain the largest target audience possible.
That being said, the number of free resources is limited. For comparison, Zenva Schools offers teachers a free two-month trial to try out the platform first. With that trial, teachers can use everything, from the content to the classroom management tools.
How Do You Use Twinkl?
At the top of Twinkl’s site, there are different year groups and other student categories (home learning, etc.). When you hover over a category, you will see different subjects and subcategories to find the exact topic you want for a lesson plan. Then, when you find the right topic, you can search through the teaching resources.
While this does sound easy enough, keep in mind Twinkl has a lot of resources. This is one of those things that’s as much a curse as it is a blessing.
Other platforms like Zenva Schools may have more limited content, but are able to offer much cleaner UX experiences that can get teachers up and running faster. This may be more important in many cases than having an incomprehensibly large library.
What Are Twinkl’s Worst Aspects?
Twinkl has many features and tools that teachers can use for their lessons. However, not all of these features are to a high standard.
The main element on Twinkl that needs improvement is the website layout. The overall section for teaching resources on Twinkl is enormous, so there are multiple pages and menus. As a result, the menu system is quite convoluted, making the website look messy. It can also fall into the trap of choice overload.
Additionally, beyond resources, Twinkl doesn’t have a lot of other features that would be useful in the classroom – which other platforms do offer.
To example one platform, Zenva Schools has a goal of getting teachers up and running in the classroom in a few minutes. As such, while the content is more limited and scoped to technology, teachers will have a much easier time on the UI. Zenva Schools also offers tons of features besides content, including classroom management and analytics so teachers can track student progress.
How Much Do You Need To Pay For Twinkl?
There are two ways to pay for Twinkl if you want premium resources: you can pay for it individually or as school.
If you go for the individual option, there are three pricing tiers (with a monthly subscription), including:
- Core: The core tier includes all the essential teaching resources and tools like the resource creator. It starts at around $5/month (without discounts).
- Extra: Adds extra materials for planning and assessments and a daily photo feature.
- Ultimate: Adds a massive package of extra teaching resources from multiple providers.
As mentioned, there’s also a school service with customizable features. The price will depend on how long the school needs Twinkl for and the features they need for lessons.
While Twinkl is definitely very affordable, remember that the service does come with a resource focus. If you’re looking for other classroom features – like analytics – then other paid services like Zenva Schools (which charges per student per year) may be a better (but still affordable) option.
Is Twinkl A High-quality Teaching Resource?
Twinkl boasts a vast target audience and numerous teaching resources. With affordable pricing and a resource creation tool as well, it’s definitely a good platform for what it does.
As mentioned, though, there are plenty of other areas where platforms similar to Zenva Schools can do better. Zenva Schools offers not just quality content, but tools to make teaching the content in the classroom easy and a huge time-saver. So, if you want the total package, Twinkl is not the only or even best option.
That being said, Twinkl can make a great platform to pair with other more robust platforms, as the material it provides does make a good supplement to whatever main lesson you might be teaching.
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