These lesson plans offer suggestions for introducing Twine into the composition or new media classroom. Because Twine does not require coding knowledge, it is easy to have students begin using to create original work in only one or two sessions. These lessons are designed to be a combination of lecture and lab time so that students can experiment with Twine as part of the learning process. For more on the assignment used in James J. Brown, Jr.’s course, check out his assignment and course information.
Twine in One Day (1 50-minute session)
Goal: Introduce students to the basics of Twine and have them begin creating
Materials: Lab setting or students’ laptops, slides: “Twine – Day One”
Before class: Have students either download version 1.4 on their computers or navigate to the browser-based 2.0 on twinery.org. You may wish to assign a Twine game for students to play through as homework so that they can fully experience one entire work before learning about the platform.
15 minutes – Provide a sampling of a few Twine games that demonstrate the range of possibilities for the genre, and allow students some time to play through one or two. Here are a few suggestions:
• “Even Cowgirls Bleed” by Anna Anthropy: http://scoutshonour.com/cowgirl/
• “Magical Maiden Madison” by Christine Love: http://scoutshonour.com/madison/
• “Conversations with My Mother” by Merritt Kopas:
• “Arcadia” by Jonas Kyratzes: http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net/arcadia/arcadia.html
15-20 minutes – Lecture slides that introduce the following basic concepts: the twine map, passages, links, paths, variables, and simple conditional logic. Examples on the slide are from Porpentine’s “Cyberqueen.”
20 minutes – End the slides with a few possible prompts for students to begin creating in Twine. Allow the remainder of class for students to have lab time to experiment with building on one of these prompts, and encourage students to try out a variable and if/else statement.
Twine in Two Days (2 50-minute sessions)
Complete the previous day one plan, and then build on it with the following plan for day two
Goal: Build on the knowledge of Twine from day one to include ways to enhance their work with HTML, CSS, and scripts
Materials: Lab setting or students’ laptops, slides: “Twine – Day Two”
20 minutes – Slides briefly recap the concepts covered in day one while building on them, especially for any concepts students were interested in learning after experimenting with Twine in day one. In these slides, I have included a section for adding randomization, since students in English 177 asked about this feature during lab time on day one. Slides then move to explaining how to bring in CSS and scripts to enhance the visuals and functionality of their games. This presentation focuses on showing how to find and use resources that offer free styles and scripts for Twine without the need to write them, although students are encouraged to explore these further in their work.
30 minutes – This lab activity asks students to try to adjust their styles to match those of another Twine game and requires them to add (but not write) one script that is freely available online. I suggest Merritt Kopas’s “Conversations with My Mother”: http://mkopas.net/files/conversations/conversations.html. This short game allows students to quickly build the passages that they learned in the first lesson and then focus their attention on achieving the desired styles and functionality from this lesson’s new material. The simplicity of the design, however, is misleading. It takes some work to strip a Twine template of some of its features, but learning to do so gives students more freedom to style their works. This is entirely possible for students to finish or mostly finish in about 30 minutes.