Upgrading to Firefly 6

Find out all you need to know about how the upgrade process works.

Firefly 6 release

  • Firefly 6 was released on December 12th 2016.
  • Schools are able to choose for themselves when they activate the new Firefly 6 functionality.
  • Support for Firefly 5 and unactivated versions of Firefly 6 ceased at the end of August 2017.

Upgrade path at a glance

  1. Let your teachers know about the new features coming with Firefly 6.
  2. Instruct apps users in the school to download the new Firefly for Teachers or Firefly for Students apps as appropriate.
  3. Check that you have a compatible theme.
  4. Let your teachers and students know that Firefly will be offline for about an hour.
  5. LOCAL ONLY Download and install Firefly 6.0.x There will be no change in functionality for any user at this point until you activate Firefly 6 in the Control Panel.
  6. Activate Firefly 6 from the Control Panel. 

Enjoy using all the new Firefly 6 functionality! Students and teachers can log in and use the new apps in the usual way.

Activate Firefly 6 when you're ready

If you're a cloud school, you're already on the latest Firefly version and you just need to activate Firefly 6. If you're a locally hosted school, you'll be able to download the installer from Lantern and run it as usual. Upgrading the version will not cause any changes. If you were using Firefly 5-style navigation, that's what you'll still have after upgrading. If you activated 'early access', likewise there will be no further changes.

Once the installation is upgraded to version 6.0, each school will be able to choose for themselves when the Firefly 6 functionality is activated. Users with Firefly administrator accounts will be able to activate Firefly 6 from the Control Panel.

How long will the activation take?

When activating Firefly 6, Firefly will start by checking that the installation is running a compatible theme. It will then migrate all Firefly 5 tasks to Firefly 6. This is completely automatic but does take some time (approximately one hour), so it should be done at a time that suits users at the school. While the migration is in progress, Firefly will display a message to all users that the site is unavailable.

Both Firefly cloud and locally hosted schools will come back online as soon as the migration process has completed. 

Please note that for all schools, regardless of hosting type, the migration process is one way only. The activation process is therefore irreversible.

As with all major upgrades, we strongly recommend that locally hosted schools take a full backup before activation.

It is worth noting that all tasks set to students in Firefly 5 will be migrated and available in Firefly 6 along with associated markbook entries. See below for information about tasks that have been set to teachers or parents.

Page content is unaffected by the Firefly 6 activation process and the new navigation will automatically use the existing menu structure so you can be assured that content you have already created will be accessible and there is no need for any further work.

All new apps

We've released a whole new suite of apps for teachers and students alongside Firefly 6. If your school uses the Firefly apps, users should be made aware that the Firefly 6 activation is on its way and encouraged to download the new apps in preparation. Teachers should ensure that they have recently connected their device to the internet so that all their marks and feedback are up to date in Firefly before activation takes place. After Firefly 6 activation, Firefly 5 apps will no longer connect and will display a message encouraging the user to download the new app. The new apps are accessed in exactly the same way that users are used to, using the school's unique school code and their own login credentials. Students and teachers will be able to find a reminder of their school code via their Firefly Account Settings.

Firefly for Teachers is available on iOS (iPad).

An updated Firefly 6 Teacher Planner is available for Windows.

Firefly for Students is available on iOS (iPhone & iPad) and Android.

Are there any functionality changes I should plan for?

In Firefly 6 we’ve done a lot of work to make tasks a far richer experience for teachers and students; to produce a workflow that will inspire creativity and allow for much more varied assessment. Focussing the task functionality on the teacher/student interaction allowed us to considerably simplify the dashboard while significantly expanding the ways in which tasks can be used with students. We understand that some schools have been using tasks set via the dashboard to send forms to parents. The workflow in Firefly 6 will change to recommending or messaging forms to parents. We think there is much more we can do to support communication with parents with dedicated tools designed for the purpose, something we have committed to on our roadmap.
You can continue to use Firefly to perform surveys with staff or check for compliance of various types. There are existing tools within Firefly that can be used which will ensure that you can carry on with these functions without requiring the tasks functionality via the dashboard.

Take a look at our inspiration section for examples on how to gather feedback from staff or parents.

Once schools have upgraded to Firefly 6, it will no longer be possible to send tasks to teachers or parents. Tasks set to teachers or parents in Firefly 5 will no longer be accessible in Firefly 6. Any data collected via forms and assignment pages using Firefly 5 tasks will remain available. We would recommend that any schools using tasks with staff or parents begin to adopt our recommended workflows even before upgrading to Firefly 6. All of this functionality is available in Firefly 5.

There is a new training class feature in Firefly which can be used via the app or the web. This allows teachers to practice every aspect of the rich task setting and feedback including annotation.

In summary, tasks set to teachers and parents will not be accessible in Firefly 6. We recommend that all schools stop setting tasks to teachers and parents as soon as possible and begin to use recommended pages.

Firefly 5 support

Support ended for unactivated versions of Firefly 6 and for Firefly 5 at the end of August 2017.