Technology Platforms

Find out about the technology platforms we will use to support our Online Teaching and Learning programme and how to access them

Technology Platforms

Find out about the technology platforms we will use to support our Online Teaching and Learning programme and how to access them

We will continue to build on the success of using Seesaw (Pre-Prep)/Firefly (Prep) learning platforms, with the introduction of live video conferencing sessions. We have thought long and hard about what role this technology should have in our Online Learning. We do not intend to use this feature to try and exactly replicate a classroom environment. That simply is not possible or desirable. Synchronous learning activities will be shorter and for smaller groups, specifically designed to support key learning points and for children to share their learning, with peers and the teachers. The video conferencing sessions are being introduced to support our pupil’s ongoing academic progress and wellbeing. As such they will predominantly be used for form time and core academic subjects. They will also be used as a tool available to staff to enable them to provide additional support for small groups of pupils and from subject specialists by invite when required.

Video conferencing suffers from several issues which means it cannot compete with classroom teaching and as such is not the automatic way to replicate one. The available internet bandwidth needs to be consistently sufficient on every connection. When this is not the case this leads to distorted sound and video. At times, this can make what was said inaudible. The more people on the conference, the more often the speaker will need to repeat themselves. Less confident children will not call out to have things repeated so will miss out even if they were paying full attention. In a classroom, a teacher can easily see who is paying attention and will bring them back on task often without having to break the flow of the lesson. That is much harder to do on a conference as pupils appear in a very small box and are sometimes not visible at all. The other activity teachers need to do a lot of when focus teaching is present material. That could be text, pictures or video clips. These are much less reliable and frequently too fuzzy to see clearly on a conference call.

The issues of unreliability, hardware dependent connectivity and less collegial pupil opportunity, can cause stress to children who are attempting to partake in calls. Hence, we have concluded that the core teaching is more positively delivered through quality tailored video and audio recordings produced by our teachers. These take a significant time to produce, but provide teaching that is matched to the class, is audible, can be replayed and paused as many times as pupils require. Technically they are also embedded within the task on Seesaw and Firefly keeping it simpler for pupils. They are hosted on a streaming platform that will adapt the resolution to meet the available bandwidth of your internet connection. If a pupil is unavailable during a lesson slot (we realise at times it will be unavoidable) the lesson will still be waiting when they return.

Platform Guidance

Cumnor House School has teamed up with Seesaw to provide a digital platform for Online Learning.

Seesaw is a learning platform that brings together educators, pupils and families to deepen children’s learning. It enables teachers to design and facilitate powerful learning experiences, students to create, reflect, collaborate and make their learning visible, and families to actively support and celebrate their children’s learning.

To open the platform, if using a computer, simply follow the link on our Online Learning Homepage or by using the Seesaw Class app from your platform’s store.

Next, to enter the platform, parents should click on I’m a Student.

All children have received a login sheet with a QR Code and Home Learning Code. You can use either of these to access your child’s account and complete the login. If you would like yours reissued please ask your class teacher.

Once this process is complete, the platform will indicate to you and your child that activities have been set for them. Each activity will be explained by your child’s teacher through a video recording, audio recording or notes and presentations which, unlike in the classroom, can be replayed/seen as frequently as you or your child wish.

Your child will then be able to complete the activities that have been linked to this instructional recording and will also have the option of sending their own recording, work, notes or photos back to their teacher to describe/show what they have done. You are also very welcome to send in any other digital photographs, showcasing your child’s learning via the platform. In this way, your child will maintain that all-important personal link with their class teacher during this period of Online Learning.

Please be reassured that the activities set by your child’s teacher will be in full adherence to the Cumnor Curriculum.

As this programme of Online Learning evolves, you can expect periodic updates from changes made, to better support our pupils.

Pupils should use the Firefly virtual learning environment (VLE) to access materials and assignments for their completion during their Online Learning.

Pupils are already familiar with this platform. During Online Learning, however, Firefly will be used as a more comprehensive tool by our teachers to provide guidance and learning resources for our pupils.

To log on to this platform and access their learning, prep school pupils should simply enter the website in the usual way, at The tasks we will set for your child should then be accessed via the ‘Tasks’ button.

Please note: any work that your child is required to complete will be sent directly to them as a ‘Task’ Your child should complete most work on paper or in their relevant exercise book. Work can then be photographed and submitted to the task. Some work may be typed, narrated as audio/video or produced using some other software as directed/agreed with the subject teacher.

Should you or your child be unable to access content or require support with a specific task that has been set on Firefly, we would ask that you contact the relevant class/subject teacher via their email address and they will respond as promptly as possible.

Should pupils or parents experience a wider technical issue with Firefly, please contact us using the We will then do our best to assist you or take up the issue with Firefly Learning or our Central IT Dept as appropriate.

Additional Tips for Pupils and Parents:

If a teacher requires you to upload your work, you need to click on the task that they have set directly. Doing so will then load the details of the task with a bar above it, which will have three buttons:

  • The ‘Send a File’ button: allows you to attach a file to send to your teacher, but please remember to click the blue ‘Send’ file once the file has uploaded.
  • The ‘Mark as Done’ button: marks the task as complete (make sure you only click this once)
  • The ‘Send a Comment’ button: allows you to comment on the task you have completed and ask your teacher any questions – your teacher will then be able to send assignment feedback to you to help you continue to progress with your learning.

If you need to contact a teacher, it is generally best for them to be contacted via the work email address. Should you wish to discuss a specific task that has been set on Firefly, however, you can send a comment in the way described in the final bullet point above – they will then receive an online notification and will act upon your request as soon as possible.

Please ensure that you mark your tasks on Firefly as ‘Done’ each day. If you do not, your ‘Overdue’ tasks will appear first on the screen and you will struggle to find the latest work.

Your tasks can then be filtered by a teacher or lesson by clicking the boxes on the left. To find just the tasks for Today’s lesson you can click the Due Date: Today filter. There is also a ‘Reset’ link at the top which will clear any filters so you can see all tasks again.

Over this period of school closure, Prep School pupils will be expected to check the Tasks page to find each lesson according to the day’s timetable and will need to ensure that they are proactive in completing work rather than leaving it too late. Some things about school will never change! Form Teacher will advise pupils each day as to the lessons they have.

Accessing Live Teams meetings  

Ideally, students would be accessing Teams on a laptop, tablet or iPad in order to participate in live online meetings.

There is a Microsoft Teams app which is free to download from the appropriate store.  You can sign into the Teams app with any email, but you do not need to sign in.

Locating the link

The link to access the Teams meeting will be included within an Activity or Announcement on Seesaw.

The Link to the Teams meeting will be found within the Task instructions of the relevant lesson. For instrumental lessons, LAMDA and Year 3 Music Scheme lessons the link will be on your timetable.


You will be notified if there is a new class announcement and this is visible on the Inbox within Seesaw.

  1. Click on Join conversation to open the link
  2. The next steps will be dependent on the device used.

It is recommended to download the Teams app for these meetings.

Joining on a device 

When the link is clicked for the first time, you will have a number of options:

  • Download the Windows (or Mac) app
  • Join on the web instead
  • Open in the Teams app (if already downloaded from the store)

Windows 10 device/ iPad (via the app)

  1. Choose your camera and audio settings
  2. Then enter your child’s name (if necessary) and click Join now
  3. You will be let into the meeting as soon as possible once the meeting starts

Guidance for Screen Time

This is clearly an unusual situation for everyone, where there is a greater reliance on digital devices than usual. It is important that we all take responsibility for monitoring the screen time of your son. We recommend that pupils try to spend no longer than three hours on a device each day. We have adopted a program which allows for learning across a variety of mediums; we recognise the value of reading, writing and creativity beyond the virtual world. We expect your son to cease remote learning and online activities at the conclusion of his scheduled day. If you feel your child’s screen time is exceeding what is reasonable, please do contact their Form Tutor/Class Teacher so that they can help to coordinate communication between teaching staff. Regular breaks, within the maximum recommended screen time, are crucial.

You can learn more about the Teams and Seesaw platforms below.

What is Seesaw?

Seesaw is an award-winning digital portfolio that allows you to see your child’s learning like never before. Teachers, parents and children can all access videos, audio recordings and notes in one place, taking the onus off solely the parent supporting their child’s learning.

How will it work?

In these uncertain times, we want to make sure we are balancing screen time for our pupils – Seesaw opens and closes each teaching day on the screen but provides resources and activities away from a computer or phone. On a teaching day morning, parents and children will log in to Seesaw where the teacher will have a daily check in with pupils (read a story, say hello, set instructions for the day). Then at the end of the day, the parent and child log back in to add photos and videos, documenting the day’s learning that the teacher can then comment on.

Why is it perfect for our families?

  • Empowerment of pupils – pupils will have a clear connection with their teacher at the beginning of each school day, giving them clear instructions on the day ahead. This relieves parents from thinking up activities and gives children independence in understanding the task and reporting back whilst keeping a connection to the school routine.
  • Development of metacognitive skills – children will report back on the day’s work using video, voice recordings or pictures. This is crucial to the development of metacognitive skills, allowing the child to learn about learning.
  • Easily accessible – access from phone or desktop with easy to use, intuitive software.

How do I access Seesaw?

You can find out more and log in via the Seesaw website.

Watch the introduction video here

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, content, resources and apps together in one place creating a vibrant learning environment.

How will it work?

Lessons will still run for students, with the teacher talking to them through the computer screen rather than at the front of the classroom. This face to face contact will allow the teacher to keep track of students and give students the chance to ask questions, keeping their lesson as similar as possible to learning in school.

Different subjects will sit in different channels and these will also become a place to go for any resources shared by the teacher, or recordings of classes to go over the information.

Pupils will still hand in homework through Microsoft Teams and teachers will offer high quality feedback – these tools will allow some normality where schooling is concerned.

Why is it perfect for our families?

  • Face to face contact – pupils and teachers still have face to face contact which is so important in making sure wellbeing, as well as academics are monitored. At a time where so much change is happening, our teachers want to be there to support pupils and face to face contact makes this easier to do.
  • Virtual classroom – keeping a lesson routine is vital for our families’ wellbeing: structure will help pupils feel less overwhelmed with change and will also help parents know how to manage their time and energy.
  • Easily accessible – access from phone or desktop with easy to use, intuitive software.

How do I access the resources?

You child will need to click here and sign in using their normal school log in details.

More information on using Teams and Office 365 for remote learning is available from Microsoft here.

Watch the introduction video here

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