Sheffield school secures global edtech event

SHEFFIELD will join Bangkok, Melbourne and London in hosting one of four global roadshows looking at online educational platforms.

Leading independent school Sheffield High School for Girls was chosen as one of just two UK schools to host the Firefly Learning Roadshow on 22 November after being highlighted as an exemplar of best practice.

The school’s head of elearning Stephen Wiles is among keynote speakers at the roadshow, expected to be attended by nearly 100 headteachers, department heads and administrative staff from educational establishments nationwide.

Mr Wiles will present a show and tell of how Sheffield Girls’ successfully uses technology and education through Firefly’s interactive, transparent and environmentally friendly online platform and how both pupils, parents and teachers are sharing ideas, information and supporting each other.

Stephen Wiles, head of elearning at Sheffield Girls’, said: “Organisers were looking for a school that was using this online platform well across the whole school in various different ways to enhance the learning environment.

“Sheffield Girls’ has invested in technology that puts it at the leading edge of the learning experience for both students, teachers, and parents. But we have not just done it for the sake of using technology, it is helping teachers and pupils expand their knowledge and strive to get to the next level.”

The school uses Firefly in various ways including allowing students to independently access the right research materials and information ahead of, and after, lessons; to attract and promote creative content from students wanting to engage with others through blogs; revolutionising the homework setting system, and to assess pupils.

Stephen added: “We are really driving our digital learning programme and as a result the learning experience for students is consistent, and no-one misses out on important information.

“Students have become a real driving force for Firefly and are constantly asking teachers to make resources available on it through the forum, while teachers are able to provide students with a variety of resources in different formats. We are now integrating non-educational information and even putting the bus routes to the school on the system.

“And in the junior school we have now scrapped all paper communication with parents making it much more efficient and quicker to contact them as well as more environmentally friendly.”

Firefly Learning provides virtual learning platforms to hundreds of schools around the world allowing teachers, students and parents to publish and access information from anywhere with an internet connection.

It was founded by two GCSE students, co-founders Joe Mathewson and Simon Hay, who developed the first version to help their teachers and fellow students have access to school information online and out of the classroom.

In 2016, Firefly secured the largest Series A funding for an edtech company in the UK, at £4.5 million.

To attend the roadshow, which runs from 9am until 4pm on November 22 and features roundtables and workshops, plus opportunities to hear about the latest developments and best practice, register at www.fireflylearning.com