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PurpleMash - 4IR tools for Primary School Learners

We sadly learned this weekend that the inspirational educationalist Sir Ken Robinson had passed away. I was privileged to hear him speak in 2017.

In his 2006 TED talk he questioned “Do schools kill creativity?” He suggested that we “fundamentally rethink education”. The digital revolution is all around us, in the applications we use, how data is processed, all the technologies we see and read about. Embracing the changes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (or 4IR) around us and making learners aware of the technologies, assists in preparing them with skills of the future, for the unknown world ahead!

As a teacher, I used 2Simple’s software way back when it was on CDs and lived on the desktop! A few months ago I began investigating and exploring 2Simple's PurpleMash platform and it's incredible! PurpleMash also contains a wide range of tools for teaching and learning. What jumped out at me was how these tools could address almost all the learning applications a school would need across all subjects.

In addition to that, the PurpleMash tools upskill learners, creating awareness of 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) tools, let me explain what I mean. Technologies related to the 4IR include: data analytics, wireless, cloud computing, sensors, Internet of things, robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Since all digital technology is developed on writing software programmes for computers to understand! Exposing learners to these skills from an early age creates an awareness of possible jobs of the future. These jobs may include software application development, web development, computer systems engineering, database management and systems analyst. In Purple Mash learners can learn to code on three different tools, 2Code, 2Go and 2Logo.

2Code is a block based learning tool based on Javascript, where learners build new coding

skills in each lesson, develop their ability to debug a programme and understand the coding literacy skills, and finally creating their own programmes in the free and creative play activity of every activity. Each of these aspects of the various skills is building computational thinking in the learners, as well as adaptability, perseverance and confidence.

2Go is an introductory, simple directionality game, where learners control the object on the screen using a range of instructions. A great introduction to programming, as learners complete the challenges.

2Logo is based on Logo the text-based coding language where learners code the digital turtle to move in specific shapes and angles, created by Seymour Papert the South African born mathematician, teacher and computer scientist, who worked at MIT most of his life. Using 2Logo gives learners guidance when their code does not match the correct structure of the language and will prepare learners for the demands of more complex text-based coding, at the same time reinforcing mathematical concepts of 2D and 3D shapes and structures.

Python in Pieces is another 2Simple product that teaches learners how to programme in python through a systematic, structured and progressive pathway. Learners can programme in the block-based version or the python language simultaneously, visually seeing both at the same time, through this interactive, programming, learning tools

Introducing learners to the world of programming builds a range of skills that augment and support their skills in literacy and numeracy while developing their computational thinking skills.

The gaming industry is another 4IR experience, valued at about 18 Billion USD in 2018, which many educators don’t see the value of yet. The gaming industry is not just the players, but the designers, creators, evaluators and so much more. In Purple Mash learners can design and create their own 3D game maker tools using 2DIY3D. Here learners develop design and creative thinking, solve problems.

Additional tools that support this include 2Create A Story to design backgrounds and sprites, and 2Sequence to create their own sounds or music which could be added to their games.

When evaluating their games and those of others they develop their analytical, evaluation skills. They could even design their own evaluation quizzes, which they could ask classmates to complete and provide feedback in 2Quiz.

The world of 3D printing is a booming 4IR industry with a wide range of career opportunities, from small scale to large industrial manufacturing for construction, health and food industries, and even for outer-space, customised software design, material development, as well as 3D printing and the environment. Exposing learners to the field of 3D printing opens another world of possibilities. The Purple Mash tool of 2Design and Make allows learners to create 3D objects while viewing in 2D. These objects and items can be printed on paper with their glue tabs to be folded and made into real 3D models or the files can be downloaded as a .stl file and set to a 3D printer and printed in 3D.

The careers in digital artwork and animation also relate to the 4IR and provide exposure to learners to careers such as art director, stop motion animator, 3D modeler, or compositing artists to name a few. The Purple Mash tools that are used for developing these skills are 2Paint a Picture, 2Paint, 2Animate, as well as 2Create a Story. Learners are encouraged to think creatively, solve problems, take risks and be innovative.

Digital sound and music are fields which the learners can be exposed to as well, within Purple Mash with tools such as 2Explore, 2Beat, 2Sequence and BusyBeats. These careers involve music production, record production, audio technician, recording studio manager and sound designer.

Along the way additional tools are used to investigate (2Investigate and 2Question), plan (2Chart, 2Connect, selecting 2Publish and / or 2Publish plus tools), as the project finishes learners could evaluate the creation, develop a comprehensive report and provide feedback, using tools such as 2Graph, 2Quiz, 2Write and 2Create a story

This wide array of tools could be used to develop learners' thinking and problem-based learning - Enquiry-Based and Project-Based learning at its best! By incorporating these Purple Mash tools into your everyday lessons you could be developing persistence, perseverance, confidence, creativity, and innovation in each learner in a fun manner! Inspire learners to be creative, adaptable, and think while exposing them to initial 4IR concepts.

If you would like Karen Walstra to present professional development for your teachers. Reach out at

Karen Walstra works with schools on educational change, integrating technology into teaching and learning meaningfully.


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