By Firefly Learning
The next step in the evolutionary journey for Windows and Firefly is the launch of native Student and Teacher Planner apps that will work on any Windows device. The Student Planner and Teacher Planner apps are due to launch in time for BETT 2015. You can find Firefly Learning at BETT 2015 on stand C221.
The Firefly – Windows relationship is constantly evolving. Historically, Firefly users have been able to embed documents from Microsoft Office as content, while more recently, Firefly has been linked directly to Microsoft Office 365 and OneDrive.
For Firefly, staying at the forefront of education technology means constantly asking what features teachers want to bring to the classroom today, how a learning platform might factor in that and, more importantly, what features will be wanted tomorrow?
In this context, the link with Office 365, OneDrive, as well as the arrival of Student & Teacher Planner for Windows make perfect sense. They combine the Microsoft Office environment, where pupils and teachers typically create their work, with Firefly, an environment designed for the sharing and discussion of work.
Combined, these features go a long way to help to meet current classroom needs and will also pave the way for future versions of the product that hit the mark in terms of tomorrow’s demands from educators.
Native Student & Teacher Planner Apps for Windows
In 2014, Firefly launched two native apps, which were designed to support homework, communication and classroom management. These are now available for Windows and add an extra dimension to the learning experience for both students & teachers. Teacher Planner lets teachers access timetables, lesson plans, class lists and student information at any time. Teachers can set tasks, keep track of students’ progress and marks, and give feedback on work.
Teacher Planner is designed to reduce administration around classroom management and facilitate rapid and effective communication between teachers, students and parents. Like Firefly, Teacher Planner also connects with your school’s other systems. This means that your timetable is always up to date, and your classes, which are automatically populated, are there ready to be set homework or organised into seating plans.
Firefly Student Planner allows students to access important information, like their timetable or homework, straight from their tablet or smart phone. Like Teacher Planner, it links with existing school systems so things like timetables and groups are automatically synchronised.
As soon as a teacher sets homework, sends a message or recommends a bookmark it is pushed to student’s devices, which helps to keep them up-to-date. Imagine a homework diary that teachers can write into, remotely! Students can also add their own manual tasks and optionally associate them with particular lessons and teachers.
Office 365 & OneDrive
The way in which Office 365 and Firefly talk to each other means that users just need to sign in once to their Office 365 account and they are automatically logged into Firefly.
Teachers & students don’t need to remember multiple passwords or enter the same information twice. If your laptop or tablet also connects to Office 365 - for your email, calendar or documents - you can take your work with you, without needing to sign in again. Single sign-on with Office 365 also works in instances where your school's learning platform is hosted on Firefly servers.
With Firefly’s connection to OneDrive, collecting and displaying students’ work is much easier. For example, when working on an essay in Word, Office 365 allows students to save their work to OneDrive at the click of a button. When submitting their homework, Firefly then asks if they want to choose a file from OneDrive. They can pick their essay and it’s sent straight to their teacher for marking.
How are schools utilising existing Microsoft integration?
Abbey Gate College, an independent day school near Chester, use Firefly and 365 together to help keep staff and students organised, encourage new styles of lesson creation and extend the boundaries of their classroom. Teachers and students use the 365 SkyDrive to access documents outside College and use web-based versions of Office programmes to edit and save work.
Firefly then helps teachers and students share their resources by providing the framework for setting and submitting documents as homework or for in-class tasks. The connection between Firefly and Abbey Gate’s MIS means teachers can set homework for their sets or, when appropriate, to individual students. Students can submit documents of all types, which are sent straight back to the right teacher. Firefly and Office 365 make this as easy from home as it is within the classroom.
For more general lesson resources, Firefly allows teachers to combine their 365 documents with rich media - video, pictures and audio - in a single page which can be viewed on any device without downloading or navigating through folders. It’s easy to access on the Firefly site from anywhere.
Native Windows Apps, Cloud Services, Office 365 & OneDrive integration provide a solid foundation for a learning platform that works seamlessly with Microsoft products.
You can visit Firefly at BETT 2015 on stand C221.