March 20, 2019
Hugo Meynell Church of England School place great emphasis on Computing, ensuring that it has a significant profile amongst all stake holders. They believe every child should have high quality teaching and learning experiences in Computing which enables them to utilize technology effectively across the curriculum. Smart screens can be found in all classrooms and there is also a dedicated computing suite with individual desktops. As part of their continual drive to enable all pupils, they are currently evaluating mobile technologies, in the view to making technology completely accessible during all learning opportunities regardless of the location in the school.
When Amy took over as computing lead in January 2018, she was aware that her predecessor was so impressed with Purple Mash that she didn’t hesitate to sign the school up to a three-year licence back in September 2017. However, since that time, an Ofsted inspection was looming and little time was devoted to giving teachers training opportunities and exploration time of Purple Mash.
These days, Purple Mash or Mini Mash are used by all teachers and pupils in every subject throughout the school. So how did this transformation come about?
“The first reason is the software itself. It’s got everything, built-in apps, 1000s of topic fact files, schemes of work, printables, planning, guided video tutorials, the ability to set homework, mark work and get detailed pupil performance reports.” Says Amy. “All you have to do is access it.”
The quality of the software itself is important too. Amy likes the fact that it is always up-to-date. For example, it currently has resources for Safer Internet Day 2019 and for teaching children about the Chinese New Year.
Another factor is the support, which, according to Amy, is brilliant. “James, one of the 2Simple staff, is always there at the end of an email. He did a day’s bespoke training with us, perfectly aligned with our curriculum and teaching approaches. All our teachers and support staff knew what was there and how to use it to facilitate impactful learning. James is exceptionally knowledgeable and educationally grounded.”
Teachers and teaching assistants feel comfortable asking Amy for advice. For example, they might ask if Purple Mash has any resources for teaching a particular topic or if she can suggest certain tools to support a learning style or individual pupil needs. Amy believes it’s important to be proactive, promoting exemplary use of tools and premade content in her weekly newsletter.
Purple Mash is used in different contexts throughout the school, in fact, it’s used in every lesson. In both Nursery and Reception, the children use Mini Mash to reinforce the seven areas of learning. All their learning is saved effortlessly within their virtual trays. Maths City, within Mini Mash, is very popular with the children in Early Years. Further up the school, the Fact Files for topics such as Vikings, Romans and Space are heavily utilised. Indeed, teachers have even adapted their own to be personalised for their learners. A very popular application is 2Race, which is used extensively across KS1 and KS2 to secure children’s number facts in a fun and collaborative way.
The engagement with Purple Mash doesn’t end when the bell rings at the end of the day. Purple Mash-based homework is set regularly. This has gone down well with parents, all of whom have a Parent Portal access code, giving them alerts on any work set, handed in and commented on by the teacher. Learning beyond the classroom has really taken off with this feature.
“A great way to get my two to put up little resistance to homework.” Said one parent. “Particularly Maths and English, they love using it at home.”
That’s something the children would agree with. “I haven’t come across a single child who doesn't like using Purple Mash”, says Amy.
For example, a Year 3 pupil said, "It feels like you’re having fun, not working!", while a Year 1 pupil liked the fact that you can make your own games.
As computing lead, Amy has no doubts about using Purple Mash in any curriculum area and will often utilise it when she is being observed.
So, what does the future hold in store? “The challenge for us now is that Purple Mash is so popular that we have to look at ways of investing in more devices to allow every child to access it at the same time if needed. In a way, this is a nice problem for us to have.”