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Firefly Learning Conference 2015

Aside from The Bett Show, the Firefly Learning Conference is our biggest UK event of the year. It’s a chance for our clients to get together and listen to some fantastic speakers from all areas of Education.

Part of the draw, we hope, is to see what’s coming next in Firefly. Joe does his “Steve Jobs” and wows the crowd with the top-secret features we’ve been working on in the preceding months. This year was particularly crowd pleasing as we announced the next major version of our software: Firefly 6.

While a full review of the day itself is no-doubt forthcoming on the Firefly Blog, for me, the conference is chance to reflect on the previous 12 months and celebrate the achievements of my team, and all of the brilliant people I get to work with every day. There are, however, some highlights that particularly stuck out from the day, that I wanted to mention first.

David Gifford, Graphic Facilitator

David Gifford, aka Josh, is a good friend of Firefly and an all-round top bloke. He’s also an incredible artist. He brought his formidable talents to bear on the day providing sketch notes of all the sessions. Aided by Firefly’s own Rachel Anderson, they captured the essence of all the talks in cartoon form. This proved hugely popular, and was one of my highlights of the day.

Some of Josh’s cartoons generating quite a lot of interest
Some of Josh’s cartoons generating quite a lot of interest
Badger, badger, badger (mushroom, mushroom)
Badger, badger, badger (mushroom, mushroom)

Team time

It’s not often all the Fireflies gather in one place, so when we do there’s always a particular buzz in the air. The conference is pretty unique as it’s an exciting event anyway, add in a smattering of friend’s you’ve not seen for a while and you’ve got yourself a pretty fantastic day. We’re a bunch of people who genuinely love what we do, and I think that shows. I’m sure our clients would agree!

Teachers receive a warm welcome from Team Firefly
Teachers receive a warm welcome from Team Firefly
Abi and David
Abi and David
Fireflies queue for lunch
Fireflies queue for lunch

Designing Firefly 6

During 2014 we cemented our move from part-agency to a full product company. We’ve really built on that move this year; With an expanded product team and a huge push to make user experience a core part of how we build software. My team, Design, have been instrumental in the development of Firefly 6. We now sit as part of the product team, and along side Development and UX we’ve undertaken the design of four new iOS apps and the design and front-end build of Firefly on the web.

Over the last few months we’ve updated almost all our processes, right from the way we’ve massively increased the amount of research we do with teachers, students and parents; to creating a pattern library for all our front-end code.

I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating: I’m incredibly proud of all we’ve achieved this year, and can’t wait to get Firefly 6 into the hands of our teachers and their students.