The Firefly Expo aimed to inspire and challenge, as well as entertain and ask serious questions about technology and the future for today’s learners.
On Wednesday 2nd May, leading educators from across the UK and beyond united at the IET Savoy to celebrate learning. It was a day of stellar speakers, including Dame Kelly Holmes and Ed Balls, as well as an opportunity to get hands-on with the latest classroom tech, from VR and AR to 3D pens and smart-tables.
On the way home. Long day at #fireflyexpo plenty to think about. Some inspirational speakers. Thanks @fireflyteam for putting it together. I really liked the format. Also thanks to all the @fireflyteam staff who I managed to speak to today.— Ictinfo (@ictinfouk) May 2, 2018
To start the day, Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes delivered a powerful talk on her personal highs and lows, such as reaching the peak in the army and then her athletics career, only to be hit by the reality that despite her time, energy and resolve they inevitably had to come to an end. Despite the hardships she iterated that a belief we can change is vital. This was echoed by Kelly’s parting message: if we continue to imbue children with hope and dreams, provide a background of structure and respect, and tell them that they can be good then we will all have brilliant students.
Wow thank you 😊 and I am glad you enjoyed it. I hope you had a good rest of the day too— Kelly Holmes (@damekellyholmes) May 2, 2018
Ed Balls, former secretary of state for schools, reminisced about his time in politics and the impossibility of dictating to schools a moral purpose. He learnt that when engaging with school leaders there must be a shared belief in what was trying to be achieved, which might require persuasion, compromise but also politicians must offer genuine help.
Award winning principal and Firefly favourite, Richard Gerver reflected on his time in education and how he set out to make his school “like Disney Land”. Such a lofty ambition took everyone in the school (including Richard!) by surprise, but it in turn gave a staff room full of teachers a jumpstart to reignite their passion.
Also, spoken-word artist Suli Breaks gave a candid, different take on education and school, with the main takeaway being that no one – teacher or student – should let anyone else decide their fate. The event was wrapped up by Australian comedy Felicity Ward, gushing over the audience of teachers, remarking that “you’re all God’s creatures” before adding “I say this as an atheist”.
From all of us at Firefly, thank you to everyone who attended. It was a special day.
Thank you to our sponsors who helped make the day possible - Classoos, Planet eStream, School Cloud Systems and Double First.