Bett Global Themes: Innovation at 2Simple

Jan. 9, 2024

The countdown is on for #Bett2024 and we can't wait to be there!

It's always a fantastic few days getting to meet our community in person so we hope you'll come along to stand SH21 and say hello!

One of the Bett themes is innovation, and who better to talk about this topic than our Product Manager, James Williams? Read on to find out more about innovation at 2Simple and in the wider EdTech landscape, in our Q&A session with James.

James W2
James Williams, Product Manager at 2Simple

Bett is all about technology in Education - what would you say are the current EdTech trends?

AI has captured everyone's imagination in every sector. The EdTech sector is no exception with many companies out there using AI to enhance their products, or as the sole driver of their product. The key question for me is whether the use of AI is purposeful and will have a meaningful, positive impact on the end user.

How far do you think Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality have a place in UK classrooms?

With all three we have to think about what purpose they serve teachers and students. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality certainly give a 'wow' factor in the classroom and do allow for experiential learning that would otherwise be impossible. With artificial intelligence it is again important to think about the ‘why’. When I speak with teachers about AI, what I hear is that they are not only keen to use AI as a tool to save time and reduce their workload, but they are also interested in teaching children about how AI works and the impact it has in the real world.

How does 2Simple prepare children with lifelong skills?

2Simple develops a wide variety of simple, accessible, creative, age-appropriate software for children that clearly links to industry-standard software and the curriculum. We provide children with software that will be the starting point in their journey to using software in the future. We ensure children aren't overwhelmed with all the 'bells and whistles' that software such as Excel can include, but instead make tools that get to the point of what children will want to do with software and then provide them with an experience that enhances their learning and gives them confidence in using technology.

Technology and teaching is changing - how has 2Simple kept up with those changes?

We are always looking at what exists within the EdTech space and thinking about how we can innovate and provide great products to our customers. The lessons we learned from COVID were that we needed to standardise the look of our software and make the look, feel and experience consistent for our users thereby improving access and breaking down barriers to learning.

This lead to the development of a design system which we have been gradually implementing over the last two years. This has modernised our software, making it more accessible and simple to use.

We've also started developing apps for iOS and Android, and last year released our Purple Mash Browser App, which makes using Purple Mash on tablets a smoother experience, as well as our Purple Chip App, which allows students to control an external device with code written in our coding application, 2Code.

After the pandemic, teachers and students are more used to a hybrid way of learning. How is 2Simple adapted for hybrid or blended learning?

Perfectly! Nearly all of our products come with home access as standard, including Purple Mash and Serial Mash. Additionally, most of our products have powerful classwork/homework setting functionality. Teachers get notified when children have submitted their work and can instantly provide feedback online. Purple Mash also has a Parent Portal which lets parents see what work has been assigned and when it is due in, as well as any teacher feedback.

What are some exciting projects your team are currently working on?

We have some exciting projects around coding, application interoperability and quiz creation. We have also allowed our development team time to work on their own EdTech apps as part of our hackathons which has already produced some exciting software for our customers to test out in our lab area, including Python Painting and LogoBot…there is more to come soon!

If you're coming to Bett, make sure you come and stop by stand SH21 - you might be lucky enough to have a chat with James and see if he'll divulge any secrets about some of the exciting projects his team is working on!