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Virtual Learning Platforms Thread, Any Firefly users out there? in Technical; Hi, Can anyone tell me if they have any ongoing issues with Firefly VLE and if there came across any ...
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    ass17's Avatar
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    Any Firefly users out there?

    Hi,

    Can anyone tell me if they have any ongoing issues with Firefly VLE and if there came across any issues that there are work arounds for?

    We are looking at choosing with firefly or Frog as our VLE

    Thanks

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    Netman's Avatar
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    We've been using Firefly as our Intranet for 18 months now and are only just starting to push the VLE side to teachers. It's a fairly simple system to use and easy to administer - we've not had any major issues with the system and any minor support requests have been dealt with well - there was only one occasion where I had to chase them up on something after a slow response. The directors aren't above getting in touch if they need to.
    Nice system of being able to view the site as any user - great for testing when making changes.
    Fairly new company, but seem to have a decent product which integrates really well with our MIS (iSAMS). Cross-browser compatibility is good (a bugbear of mine - are you listening iSAMS?!).
    I've just rebranded ours and the CSS files in the templates system are fairly easy to find your way around and tweak accordingly.
    The dashboard page is very good and presents news feeds, tasks, messages, calendar, timetable and sets information all on one personalised page. We've just set this as the homepage for logged in users.
    We did look at Frog too, but I remember it as being rather costly.

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    ass17's Avatar
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    Cheers thanks for that, are you looking into google drive integration?

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    Netman's Avatar
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    Haven't yet, but the thought intrigues me... we are a Google Apps house too and I've been thinking about home drives for pupils moving to Google Drive at some point...

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    We trialled Firefly - fantastic piece of software and I think it will only get better - but the cost was prohibitive. Frog for Primary is not in the same league as Frog for Secondary. I've heard good things about the secondary version, and only bad things about the primary version. We decided to build an Intranet on Google Apps, with the same idea - to integrate Drive. There are a few things to bear in mind:

    - there is no user template system, so you have to know each user's username and password to do the simplest things, such as editing their calendar settings. We are a primary school so giving the children sheets of complicated instructions won't work.

    - folder sharing on drive (web version) doesn't really work. I wanted to have a central shared directory, where each child would have a folder, to share work with their teachers. If the user does not have full (including delete) permissions to the folder above, it became almost impossible to share the folder. If I send the user an email with the "share" link, the user can click on the link, the folder opens, but once they close Drive, the folder again disappears from their list of folders. I had to log in as nearly 450 individual people, and manually drag the folder onto "My Drive".

    - There is an even stranger bug where you have to open the folder from the link twice before the folder you want to share appears in the folder list. I've reported it several times, seen it mentioned in thousands of blog posts but support are adamant I "must have a slow Internet connection" (at 22mb!) or proxy errors (don't use one)

    - there is no way to set sharing or saving defaults for children, and the saving defaults are inconsistent. For example, if you select a folder, and click "create file", the file will be created, and shared, in that folder. If you then open that file, and select "copy file", the duplicate moves out of the shared folder, and drops itself into "My Drive" instead. Children are constantly losing track of their work.

    - if a child struggles to share something with you, you cannot help as administrators have no access to administer other's files (unless you know their password).


    - When sharing a file/folder, users need to be able to understand three potentially conflicting sets of permissions, all assigned from different menus - permissions from the containing folder, permissions on the file itself and a third permission which can override the rest "Editors will be allowed to add people and change the permissions."

    In short, we moved from being an evangelist for Google Apps to considering abandoning it completely within 3 months of the release. It was too complicated, and too buggy. That said, it does have it's place - it is unmatched as a collaborative tool, it is free, and as long as you keep it very simple, it does the job.
    Last edited by Tara; 7th May 2013 at 03:53 PM.

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