BETT 2014: The Firefly Story

MSC12_Edward_002It all started at school - two GCSE students from St Paul’s School who wanted to build a better intranet for their school and did. Firefly is now trusted by over 150 leading schools, and Simon and Joe’s vision of providing an incredibly easy way for teachers, students and parents to create, share and learn, remains the same. But making life easy for busy teachers doesn't mean we do everything ourselves. Instead, we integrate with our schools' favourite education providers - whether that’s whole systems, websites or apps - so teachers can move seamlessly between the tools that are right for them. That’s why we have a close relationship with Microsoft and in particular Office 365.

Firefly - 365 Friendship

Firefly and Office 365 have teamed up to offer single sign on and are working on further integrations. Single sign on means once teachers and students are logged onto 365, they're automatically signed into Firefly. It’s then effortless to move between documents, email, web-conferencing, instant messaging and the Firefly platform.

But don’t just take our word for it. Talk to a Firefly school to see why they use Firefly and 365.

Take Abbey Gate College as just one example. Abbey Gate, 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. Firefly gives the framework for setting and submitting documents as homework or for in-class tasks. Firefly integrates with Abbey Gate’s Management Information System so their teachers can set homework for their sets as well as to individual students they feel need exercises for extension or catch up. Students can submit documents of all types and they're 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.


In order to get the most out of Firefly, Abbey Gate have also set up an Exchange online email account for each student. That means whenever a student is set homework or an in-class task, sent a message or recommended a page, they will be notified by email and can’t miss a thing.

For their busy teachers and students, ease of use is really important. Single sign-on between the systems saves time and the flexibility to work across all platforms and all devices and in any location means they can teach and learn on demand.

Looking to the future, Abbey Gate has clear aims about developing Office 365 and Firefly together. For example, they hope to see increased collaboration between students. Office 365 will help teachers and students to work on a school document independent of location. Firefly’s blogs and forums will reinforce the collaborative culture in other school areas, allowing students to create rich content for themselves.

See Firefly at BETT

Come and visit the Firefly stand at BETT to try Firefly for yourself. You can talk to our team, including Simon and Joe, and to our schools about the best way to integrate with Office 365. We'll be giving live demos - of Firefly in general, working with 365 and our Teacher and Student Planner apps. Join us to find out why we’re trusted by so many leading schools.

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