Gone are the days when portfolios were just for those children studying art or design. They are an incredibly powerful tool that can be used right from Early Years to UCAS applications, not least because they put the child at the very heart of the learning journey, facilitating evaluative feedback and self-reflection.
With more and more schools migrating to the "cloud" and going paperless it has become much easier to share children’s work, making it accessible to teachers and parents, and organising it in a way that makes sense to the age, stage or preferences of the child.
Tony Blair famously put “education, education, education” at the heart of his priorities for office; this could equally be applied to the application of technology in today’s classrooms.
The Scottish Government have recently released a Review on the Impact of Digital Technology on Learning and Teaching and they are unequivocal about the benefits of technology in schools: “There is conclusive evidence that digital equipment, tools and resources can, where effectively used, raise the speed and depth of learning”. However, a theme that appears regularly in the report is the importance of teachers being able to use this technology effectively and their ability to “identify how digital tools and resources can be used to achieve improved learning outcomes”.
Love it or hate it, children are more exposed to technology today than ever before. It seems that everywhere we look we see even the youngest of children using a wide variety of devices and apps for play and to keep themselves entertained.
But are we overlooking the beneficial influence that these devices can have in Early Years education? Our 3-5 year olds are technology natives so why do we hesitate to place the proper tools into their hands?
We're proud to announce our most significant upgrade to Firefly yet - Firefly 6. We've been listening carefully to your feedback over the last year about how Firefly could fit in more closely with your workflow, provide sophisticated tools for managing tasks and support formative feedback. That’s why we’ve been hard at work the last few months and here’s a sneak preview of what’s to come.
During the last year we've been collating and analysing all the feedback we receive from teachers via the helpdesk, planning and training in schools and carrying out in-depth research. We encapsulated everything we learned in a set of principles that guided the design of Firefly 6:
This year’s Firefly Learning Conference was the biggest so far, with more involvement from our schools and experts in education and technology than ever. This blog series will give a round-up of some of the topics that came up at the conference, as well as explaining how Firefly is supporting teachers in these areas.
First up is Effective Feedback. One of the core messages of James Nottingham’s keynote on Visible Learning was the importance of setting up the conditions for giving good feedback to students. There's also some news on the next version of Firefly which will make giving effective feedback even more powerful and straightforward.