Feb. 4, 2019
Kingsland only started using Purple Mash this school year (2018-19) and has already been recognised as a 2Simple School of Excellence. In fact, it’s worth noting that the school has a strong commitment to ICT in general: it has achieved the ICT Mark and is the Apple Regional Training Centre for Stoke.
When Kingsland became an academy in September 2017, it was decided that there would be greater focus on the curriculum. For example, one of the topics currently being considered for the summer term is Egypt. That kind of topic lends itself to coverage by all subjects and so is ideally placed for making use of the full range of Purple Mash applications and resources. And to get started, a whole-school training day was held on how to use Purple Mash.
It’s worth mentioning that Kenny Bartonshaw, the Computing lead and a Year 3 teacher, was keen for the school to take out a subscription to Purple Mash, having seen it elsewhere. It’s also worth pointing out that the school is in a very deprived area, with 75% of the children eligible for free school meals. This has a bearing on accessibility out of school. However, because Purple Mash can be accessed on any device, many parents access it from home via a smartphone in order to see their child’s work.
Every class has 5 iPads, which are always available for research, and which can be used by the pupils to present their work in different ways. When necessary, classes can pool their iPads. (At one time the school used iPad trolleys, but this didn't work because devices were missing or had no charge.)
Purple Mash is being used throughout the whole school. In the nursery, the children enjoy using Mini Mash. Some older pupils have been using mashcams for writing about animals for example they might write about zookeepers and insert a picture of themselves with writing in a speech bubble. Also, pupils use it on their own in "Golden Time" in key stage 1: this is a few minutes set aside in which the children can do what they like in Purple Mash, for example 5 minutes at the end of a lesson. In this slot they like trying the maths games, coding, and using 2Paint a picture.
Purple Mash is being used widely across the curriculum from years 1-3 while in Year 4, the classes are using the schemes of work. Years 5 and 6 have been completing Maths and Challenge homework’s such as “make a model”, or “write a report about what it was like living in the stone age”. In Year 6, the children have been Purple Mash to improve on their times tables and spelling.
There is also a Tuesday night coding club, in which pupils use Purple Mash for activities such as creating games and making e-safety posters. This is for years 3 to 6, with 25 allowed in at any one time. The coding club is part of the school’s rich culture of extra-curricular activities, which include yoga and table tennis.
In fact, 2Code is one of the most popular apps in Purple Mash, along with 2Paint and 2Create. Teachers in particular like 2Code because of its step-by-step instructions, unlike other coding applications which just leave you to your own devices. Also, the children can get help, which reduces confusion.
This extensive use of Purple Mash explains why Mr Bartonshaw likes it so much:
“I really like the fact that you can use it across the whole curriculum, because it has everything you need, like templates. In other words, it’s self-contained and easy to use. The children love it too.”
As far as the staff are concerned, the majority of teachers have really taken to it, using it throughout the week. The good thing though, according to Mr Bartonshaw, is that you don't have to plan a lesson yourself as everything you need is in Purple Mash. In addition to the school’s 20 teachers, there is one teaching assistant per class, who are using Purple Mash for their daily intervention work.
Mr Bartonshaw is also impressed with 2Simple support. The school needed help with their logins, which was dealt with quickly and professionally by the 2Simple support team. He also received a follow-up email a few days later to check if the logins were working correctly and if the school was in need of any further support.
In these days of tight school budgets, value for money is crucial. Here again, Mr Bartonshaw is enthusiastic:
“It’s definitely good value for money because it offers so much. It’s usable in every subject not just one, and the support is great.”
Overall, Purple Mash has had a fantastic impact on both children and teachers, enhancing teaching for everyone. Mr Bartonshaw hopes to be given the go-ahead to renew the school’s Purple Mash subscription next year.
"It is really good fun to use. I really like the drawing." – Yr 1 pupil
"I like playing the games on there that help me learn." – Yr 2 pupil
"It helps me learn and try new things. I really like when I have to debug the code to make the game work." – Yr 3 pupil
"It is really good to use as it is fun and educates you." – Yr 4 pupil
"I really like that I can use lots of different things to do my work with. I also really like using free code because I can make my own games." – "Yr 5 pupil
We use it a lot to help us with English and Maths. I really like that I can do my work at home and my teacher gets it straight away."– "Yr 6 pupil
Over to Mr Bartonshaw for the last word: "Purple Mash has been great this year. The school has started to integrate computing throughout the curriculum across the school using the different resources. Teachers, children and parents have all engaged with Purple Mash and have commented on how easy, enjoyable and engaging it is to use."
Follow Kingsland CE on Twitter at https://twitter.com/KingslandTweets to find out how the school is using Purple Mash and pick up some great ideas for you to try out too.