Mashing the Curriculum Purple… Purple Mash – a Curriculum Review
Purple Mash by 2Simple AU
Back in July, at the CEGSA conference I caught up with the team from 2Simple Australia. Now, 2 simple has been around in the UK for a long time and it’s wonderful to see that we now have an Australian Contingent to represent us in this hemisphere. It’s taken me nearly 4 months (sooo sorry!) but, today I have sat down and really delved into what 2SimpleAU are offering in their Purple Mash product.
You can have a 30 day free trial (and it’s well worth checking out) and after that you have to pay. Normally, that would put me off. However, now I’ve had a look around I can can see what a rich resource Purple Mash is and it’s well worth the costs involved. It really is.
Now, before you ask, yes a lot of the resources are made in the UK so you will see British houses and cars in the backgrounds of the videos and activities. However, to be perfectly honest in the global digital world we’re all working and learning in… i see that as a real advantage rather than a disadvantage. You’ll also note that there are specific resources that are geared directly towards us, the Aussie part of the family. There are some excellent resources that students can use to explore aboriginal Australia and more!
There is an awful lot to explore in Purple Mash. It really is a very feature rich package and it seems to grow and develop every week! There are new things to use all the time. Currently, there are resources for Remembrance Day, Guy Fawkes, Halloween and some for Christmas are already creeping in. Let’s see if we can break it down..
When you log in you’ll be greeted with a Home Screen which contains many options for you to explore. You’ll see things categorised by themes, term times, age groups etc. Along the top you’ll also see a whole host of tabs inviting you, and your students to explore themes, creative tools, games and online documents. There really is a lot to play with in here!
I started with Themes. On this page you will find template after template for activities that your students can create. They are, of course, classified by theme. This means that you students could explore Aboriginal Cultures and use Purple Mash to create a poster or informative article demonstrating what they’ve learnt. The advantage of using Simple’s online tool is that instruction, images, layout etc. are all done for yo. This allows younger students to concentrate on the learning they are doing about Aboriginal Cultures rather than getting their heads around how to use a more complicated tool for presenting their work.
To the left is a screen shot of one of these themed activities. You can see how simple the user interface is. It has drag and drop image galleries, shape and writing tools and – my favourite part, a scaffolded set of subjects – with guided questioning to ensure that they are on task rather than just making a pretty poster! It is so important that the ICT is used to enhance learning and i like this little touch. It’s an attempt to focus students and perhaps to extend and challenge their thinking as they complete the task.
It would be even more exciting if we could edit those hints 😉
When you consider the domains of learning open to students using this tool – perhaps using the Revised Blooms taxonomy -I see this tool operating in many ways! It allows students to show what they have remembered, to discuss what it means to them, to create something from the information and to then, perhaps, swap work with another and reflect on their perspectives and viewpoints.
This theme, in itself helps us to operate within the communicate and investigate areas of the ICT General Capability as well as addressing some of the elements of the ATSI Cross Curricular Priority. Add in Year 3 History, the Creating Texts strand of the English Curriculum (particularly the ones which require students to use word-processing programs from the Foundation Year and you start to realise the richness and relevance of these ‘theme’ based resources.
There are six Australia specific themes and 48 Asia themes too! That’s without looking at themes that are usually untouched by our global position such as sustainability, celebrations (which mainly focus on religious celebrations) – Note to 2SimpleAU. The Year 3 History Curriculum likes us to explore celebrations such as Anzac Day, Australia Day, Harmony Week and our state emblems… they’d be handy in there 😉 Either way there are around 50 themes for you to explore!
Mash for Mathematics and Numeracy Across the Curriculum
There are a vast array of tools in Purple Mash which are perfect for primary mathematics. I’ve selected a few (below) and indicated how and why i’d use them 🙂
|Tool||What does it do?||Curriculum Links?||Pedagogies|
|This tool helps students to make simple pictograms from information.You can choose which images you will use to represent your data set and then your students simply click on the images to create pictogram representations of the data they are collecting||MathematicsThis links beautifully with the Early Years / Lower Primary Mathematics Currlculum. Particularly in the strand of Statistics and Probability – Sub Strand – Data Representation and InterpretationYear 1 | Year 2 | Year 3
|Again, the simplicity of the tool means that the focus is on the mathematics. Let students build their graphs collaboratively on the class IWB and allow them to behave as the class experts, others can guide them and accelerate their learning through conversation and team work.Alternatively, use it as a modelling tool and ask students to go and work individually on their own machines/ on paper.|
|This would work really well for technology too but I’ll focus here on the mathematics of it.This allows students to edit a series of templates (provided by 2SimpleAU) to create products. These range from masks to 3D models of houses.||MathematicsThis is great for studying shape. in the Measurement and Geometry strand of the mathematics curriculum.Year F | Year 1 | Year 2 | Year 3 Numeracy
If coming at this from a Technology perspective you would also be able to cover:
|Again this could be used for modelling or for students in a 1:1 setting.The simple nature of the tool does mean that students are getting into the learning of the curriculum but this would only happen with guided questioning about the template and how it becomes the shape at the end.|
|This is a game designer so it will eventually fit really nicely into the digital technology curriculum. For now though, this is another tool that can be used to explore mathesmatics and spatial reasoning.You create a game in a 3D environment that you then play. It’s really simple to do with a drag and drop interface 🙂||MathematicsThis works really well in the realm of Location and TransformationYear 1 | Year 2Numeracy||This one requires students to understand that the view they’re working (2D) will be different to the one their game will operate in. That’s why it’s great for spatial reasoning.It could also be used so that students create a game for their friends to navigate, giving directions and exploring how the 3D environment differs to a 2D map. Great for collaboration, review and analyse.|
|2Investigate||This is a simple database creation tool. Databases are usually presented in such a compicated way. I can’t imagine using Access with a Year 2 class. I can see how they’d use this simple tool though.Add images and then when you click on the image you are asked to insert field information. Very easy to use! Some pre-prepared templates already available to get you started.||MathematicsThis works well with Data Representation and InterpretationYear 6 | Year 7Numeracy||This does has the option to collaborate. Usng Purple mash’s online environment different classes, from different schools or countries to collect data and compare it.Alternatively, it could be used as a stand alone tool for research and data collection. Students are scaffolded a little by the nature of the tools used. They are asked to identify an item (add a picture) and then prompted to complete the fields (the database information). This will help students to develop a sense of what a database is and will really help when using it across the curriculum as a numeracy based tool.|
|2Graph||This tool reminds me, very much, of the graphing tool in Easiteach Next Generation. Except, it has even more options!Your students enter their data into a simple table and then choose what type of graph they’d like to use. A great numeracy tool for exploring how data is represented and what effect that has.||MathematicsThis works well with Data Representation and InterpretationYear 2 | Year 3|Numeracy||This is a wonderful tool for collaboration, modelling and discussion. A whole class approach to examining which type of data representation works well and why will create opportunities for accelerated learning, team work and evaluation.|
|2Go||This is very much like the BeeBot appyou can get for ipad. Although, in my opinion, it’s much easier to use!Guide a little mouse around a maze or a car around a track using the arrows provided.||MathematicsLocation and TransformationYear F | Year 1 | Year 2 Numeracy||Once more there’s an opportunity for teacher modelling and student group work and team participation . This would in turn create opportunities for accelerated learning to occur as some students are the experts and others learn and question their choices.|
Mashing the English Curriculum and the Literacy General Capability.
|Tool||What does it do?||Curriculum Links||Pedagogies|
|See descrition above.Basically these are writing activities that are already set up by theme. Theme’s include cross curricular topics from History and Science but also generic templates for review writing.Students choose their theme and complete the written task.||EnglishEven in the foundation yearstudents are expected to be creating texts using wordprocessing packages. This provides a great introduction to those tools.F Year – F Year a
All year levels are required to create and edit texts using digital tools.
ICT Gen Cap
Obviously you are creating with ICT here. Make sure you discuss with students the ethics around the copyright free images they are using to cover social and ethical protocols.
Literacy Gen Cap
|Because students are working in a digital, online environment it is very easy for them to show and comment on each other’s work. This leads for plenty of opportunities for Assessment for learning. Students can read and reflect on each other’s work and, in turn, accelerate their own learning.The tool is very simple to use. Themes contain scaffolded questions to support student writing.|
|This has no theme but contains the basic tools for creating either a leaflet or poster. Lots of titles and images to choose from. A very basic – simple – publishing tool ideal for younger children.|
|This follows the same idea as 2 Publish but with some “extra” bits. Now there are far more templates and students can create labels, posters, leaflets,CD Cases, newspapers and more.Based, again, around a simple drag and drop concept, the word-processing /publishing tool is ideal for young learners.|
|This allows students to create very basic, hand drawn, animations. Perfect for Art but also for illustrating stories that they are writing or as a base for a literacy focused discussion.||LiteracyVisual KnowledgeComposing Texts||Students are operating to create a stimulus for discussion when creating their animation. By drawing what they wish to communicate they are asked ( in the earlier years) to consider how their images reflect upon their knowledge.Students could work in groups in this task to help develop skills of communication amongst peers.|
There are many more tools, even after this great list! These include Talking stories which show the text in English but read it in a range of alternative languages. There are specific language games for French and Spanish and “apptivities” for P.E. There’s also a great resource in there for learning who are getting to grips with English as a second language. It really is a very rich resource.
2Simple AU – Some thoughts for the future:
- Flash was a great tool but we’re moving forward. The whole site is based around Flash 10. This means that it is often impossible to get a URL to a specific task – something that is very important when teachers want to set tasks through their blog, virtual learning environment or QR code. Of course, being entirely in Flash means that you can not run the site on your class set of iPads. That’s a real shame because a lot of these tools would fit nicely on that form factor. If you’re an android or Surface user then you’ll be fine 🙂
- It would be good to see 2Simple looking at the Australian curriculum for us and helping us to find activities based up certain focuses or General Capabilities. I’ve started this here for you in the hope that you will continue 😉
Overall, this resource is fabulous. There is a lot there, it’s all cloud based and students can save their work in the cloud and come back to it later – at home or at school. I can certainly see a lot of potential for it’s use in the primary classroom.
Is anyone using it already? Do you have any experiences or lesson ideas to share?