A brand new academic year is now well under way for many schools, with teachers and students re-familiarising themselves with their digital classroom tools, and possibly getting to grips with some new ones as well.
With the vast array of technology possibilities available to schools, it is not always easy to ensure that they don’t further complicate the lives of teachers and students, but enhance and simplify the learning process. Over the last few years, schools have begun to look at the digital tools that they are using and focusing tightly on those that are really necessary, i.e. those that will have an impact on teaching and learning. There is a recognition that whilst technology can certainly be enticing, what it cannot do is replace the teacher, in the classroom. It’s not that long ago that teachers could find themselves surrounded by a plethora of gadgets and tools, with interactive whiteboards, gyroscopic computer mice, laptops that turned into tablets, individual ‘voting pads’ for their students along with 3D video tours of ancient cities. However, this unending procession of technology at times further complicated the process.
With the focus moving towards the kind of tools that teachers actually need, the human process of teaching and learning has moved squarely to the forefront of schools’ thinking. Teaching is the interaction between the teacher and the student and it is this that lies at the heart of success; technology needs to support the teacher in their activities, rather than try to replace them. Teachers should not be planning lessons around the gadgets that they have available, but rather concentrating on how to engage with their students - technology should be an almost invisible partner in that process.
Above all, technology should play to its strengths and make the process of teaching simpler and more streamlined. At Firefly we put ease of use and integration at the heart of our product development. Schools using Firefly are able to take advantage of our partnerships and integrations with a wide range of productivity tools, content providers and MIS platforms:
Deep integrations with the most popular MIS providers means that Firefly allows schools to give teachers and parents greater visibility of the learning experience, with attendance and behaviour records, school reports and timetables, alongside each child’s homework and grades through the Firefly Student Profile. Classes and year groups are managed automatically via the MIS, saving teachers time and making sure that everyone gets the information they need, where they need it.
Content from publishers such as Classoos, Clickview and Planet e-stream can be easily added to Firefly resources and tasks, bringing the best learning content together for teachers and students. Share videos from Youtube, online quizzes from Quizlet, or science simulations from PHET in one space making it easier for students to get the material they need; homework can be better supported with learning content embedded into the task itself, and the integrated Firefly markbook makes it simple to track progress and identify those students in need of further support..
Partnerships with Google and Microsoft allow teachers to share resources and activities in Firefly, whilst students have the tools they need to complete assignments and homework, and are able to share these with their teachers in the way that best suits them. Teachers can provide feedback through audio, video and text, helping each student achieve their personal best.
Classroom Management tools
Part of the Firefly family of tools, Epraise simplifies admin, giving teachers greater freedom to support their students effectively in one, easy to use space. With the tools they want, at their fingertips, teachers can focus on helping their students succeed, rather than managing the process of learning. With Epraise teachers can recognise and reward student achievement in just a few clicks, monitor behaviour in the classroom easily and follow up with powerful interventions and take attendance registers and manage groups and activities on any device. With student data and seating plans at their fingertips, teachers can give each student the support they need.
With all of this activity managed through a single platform, Firefly’s unique learning experience database is able to provide a unified record, capturing the learning journey of every student and every class, term by term, year by year. Teachers can track the challenges their students face, along with their achievements and progress, and students can better understand how to achieve personal success.
Every school is unique, and technology must be flexible enough to fit each school’s unique culture and ethos. If you would like to find out more about how Firefly and Epraise can help to give your teachers more time to teach, and students more ways to learn, contact us to arrange a FREE consultation - we’d love to hear from you.