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Here at Firefly, we understand that using technology to transform the learning experience for your whole school community is a journey. That's why we developed a Digital Maturity Diagnostic tool that explores 5 areas of the school ecosystem and assesses the maturity of your digital engagement. In this article, we explore the rationale behind the model we developed and how we validated it through research.

What defines a successful school? Before we can answer that, we need to understand what we mean by the word ‘successful’. Professor Pamela Sammons, writing in late 2007, identified the processes found in effective schools. These included effective leadership with a focus on learning, monitoring progress at all levels, developing staff skills to deliver effective teaching, and involving parents in productive and appropriate ways. These elements can be summarised in five areas.


Professional Leadership

The vision, values and direction of a school, and building relationships inside and outside the school community are key dimensions of successful school leadership. These are delivered through:

  • A defined vision and purpose, fostering the right growth mindset through a strong, inclusive ethos.
  • A clear strategy, aligning Learning, Teaching & Parental experiences across the entire school, from classroom to beyond the classroom.
  • Ongoing measurement of impact and success of this strategy, with opportunities for reflection and evolution on a regular basis.


Teaching Practice

Successful schools promote effective professional teacher development and engender a culture of evidence-based classroom practice. Areas of focus will often include:

  • Collaboration and innovation in the management of resources, reducing the time spent on admin and liberating teachers to focus on the craft of teaching.
  • A recognition of the importance of ongoing teacher development through CPD and sharing of best practice.
  • An enquiring and research-based attitude towards pedagogy, understanding the importance of the partnership between teacher and student.


Learning Experience

Minimising learning disruption and equipping students to engage and take ownership of their learning is positively correlated with academic achievement.  Leading schools will demonstrate:

  • The ability to deliver continuity and stability of the learning experience, facilitating student progress and success, both at home and in the classroom.
  • High levels of student engagement, with students empowered to take ownership and control of their learning.
  • Ongoing tracking of student experience, with both teachers and students using this information to evaluate outcomes and inform strategies for success.


Parents and the wider community

High performing schools build strong partnerships between the school, families and wider community. Schools can better enable this through:

  • Clear and ongoing parental visibility of the learning process through strategies such as continuous reporting and ongoing communications.
  • Empowering parents with a platform for their voices to be heard, giving the school a better understanding of the parent experience and allowing them to use this to inform school strategy.
  • Regular communications between school and home on the wider school experience, making parents feel a part of the greater school community and giving them a sense of ownership and belonging.


Resources and Infrastructure

For a school to deliver on its vision, resources and infrastructure need to be joined-up and form a single ecosystem. A successful digital infrastructure will consider:

  • What systems does the school need in order to manage the day to day activities of school life, and how these are integrated to provide one single ecosystem for users.
  • How these systems can be accessed easily by different stakeholders and what degree of support and training is required to get the most out of them.
  • How does the school measure the impact of different systems on their users and understand what role they play in delivering the overall vision for the school.

Research further indicates that schools achieve better attainment & engagement levels when: 

  • They are deliberate in their strategy 
  • They are joined up and think it through together 
  • They are consistent in their execution

However, to make a truly transformational journey, schools first need to know their starting point. The Firefly Digital Maturity Diagnostic tool is designed to help schools identify where they are now and stimulate a conversation about where to go next. 

Whilst any survey is inherently subjective, our diagnostic does not assess a school’s educational or pedagogical approach but aims to help them understand how well they are executing their digital strategy, and how engaged the whole community is in achieving their common purpose.

Our Digital Maturity Diagnostic will enable schools to open up conversations, reflect on their current practice, and understand how they can:

  1. Build stronger school, families and wider community engagement
  2. Ensure learning stability & continuity, within and beyond the classroom
  3. Minimise administrative burden and reduce teacher workload 
  4. Measure impact and understand engagement across the entire school 

We recognise that schools are working from, different starting points and with varying levels of confidence. We believe in the importance of a partnership with schools, to help them go further every day, supported by the experience of our team of education experts and the global community behind them.

If you’re not quite sure where you are on your journey, or simply want to make sure your plans are heading in the right direction, take 5 minutes to complete our online questionnaire. You will receive your report within minutes via email, giving you the information you need to inform your strategy moving forward and understand what you should be doing next.

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