Students + Tech = Better Communities

Schools today have an amazing opportunity to shape learning through technology. And it’s a well-cited fact that a large percentage of future jobs have yet to be created – meaning teachers have both an easier and a harder job than ever preparing students for this obscure future. But how does technology help students?

Access

Technology in schools can help level the playing field among students. We know that students who have early access to literacy building blocks come to school better prepared to learn. So, the kids who do not have access to those building blocks are already experiencing a gap in knowledge. Technology can help bridge that gap for students who do not have access to those sources of early learning. Using evidenced-based programs in the classroom and providing access to technology that parents can use at home are just a few ways that benefit students.

The Lumen Touch solution: Bright Learning™ is a comprehensive, integrated district curriculum and learning management system, which allows districts to map objectives and skills to student learning activities and assess student mastery on a continual basis. Bright Learning is an all-in-one solution, which manages curriculum, instruction, assessment, and grading. Our system allows teachers to create and share learning activities with other instructors and districts from across the country.

Differentiated Learning and Accessibility

We all know that there are kids who are below grade level and need more support, kids who are at  grade level and need to just keep on chugging, and kids who are above grade level and need a challenge. Each of these students, using EdTech that helps individualize education, can find the support, structure, and challenge they need in school. Technology also has the power to help the kids in SPED programs who need additional educational support. EdTech can make it easier for differently abled students to learn, by delivering lessons with enlarged text, providing text-to-speech abilities, and using other technical tools to help students overcome physical barriers in order to achieve educational outcomes. Technology empowers students across levels to be owners of their education, and to love the challenge because they know they can realize a sense of accomplishment.

The Lumen Touch solution: Bright SPED™ provides schools with a comprehensive, timesaving, web-based tool for special education programs. It is designed to address the complexities and changing dynamics of special education reporting. Bright SPED provides functionality through a data-driven infrastructure which does not rely on forms processing. This significant difference is one of the aspects that allows Bright SPED to meet federal and state compliance modifications in a timely way.

Key Skills

There are some key skills that students must develop if they are going to face a market of newly created jobs: problem solving, critical thinking, the ability to see a challenge from multiple perspectives, data synthesis, and more. The use of technology in the classroom can aid students in learning these skills in a variety of ways in all grade levels. EdTech prepares students to be great community builders.

The Lumen Touch solution: Bright Success™ is a state-of-the-art, web-based software solution that allows students, counselors, administrators, and mentors to collaborate using an integrated platform to guide students towards career and college success. This powerful solution manages the interactions, goals, projects, communications, and accomplishments of students as they are safely and systematically guided by their mentors toward long-term achievement.

Teacher Development

EdTech is only as good as the teachers who provide the human element so necessary in teaching our children. As administrators, one of the biggest jobs you have is supporting and caring for the teachers in your classrooms. From providing them with the tools that give them more time and energy to spend with their students to helping them fulfill their own career goals, technology is there to help teachers, too.

The Lumen Touch solution: Bright Path™ connects all educators to dynamic learning opportunities with highly effective learning programs that help streamline professional development for all members of your team. Bright Path offers customizable courses and units of study to fit the needs of leaders, teachers, support staff, and communities. Professional development has never been so easy to differentiate! Save time and energy by letting Bright Path do the monitoring of learning and sharing of the content.

Kids today are hardwired to understand and use technology. From educational fundamentals through literacy apps, to high school students using the latest software to solve a community problem, technology can be used to give students the tools that help them take ownership of their education and thrive in their educational settings. And for whatever they need, Lumen Touch has the solution.

Your Teachers Have EdTech – Now What?

With so many schools moving to incorporate technology into the classroom, whether by desire or state mandate, districts are searching for ways to support their teachers as they learn to utilize the technology. Supporting teachers requires a comprehensive approach – you can’t just buy software, install it on a teacher’s computer, and say go. Using a model can help teachers gain insight into how they can successfully incorporate the technology into their instruction. One widely used model is SAMR, which stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition. While this model helps teachers integrate technology, it also allows for a student-first thought process. Another model that is commonly used is called technological pedagogical content knowledge or TPACK

Supporting Teachers

Beyond providing a framework through which teachers can learn to incorporate technology, school administrators must also address the time and resources needed to fully understand and engage with the technology. Technology should be a tool and not another to-do for teachers. Teachers should not merely be a part of the team choosing those EdTech resources that will be beneficial. Administrators should support teachers with professional development, an IT support team, and in-school support, such as a designated mentor or onsite IT coach.

Benefits of EdTech for Teachers

The benefits of EdTech for teachers in the classroom are numerous. One of the benefits is the ability to use technology to help differentiate instruction for students. The ability to collect and analyze data about student performance also helps teachers more readily support individual students. Engaging students is often easier with technology, especially in this age of digital natives. The rise of students who need a classroom that is flexible and more engaging means that students are better able to use their learning capabilities to accomplish new things. 

Students today are surrounded by technology almost from the day they are born. Utilizing it in the classroom is essential. School administrators can support teachers by choosing technology that provides the support, training, and tools that make technology lift the burden on teachers, not add to it.

The Lumen Touch Difference

We like to position ourselves as members of a school district’s team rather than purveyors of technology. We offer an all-in-one EdTech solution that saves time and money while improving efficiency and collaboration. We provide comprehensive training and train-the-trainer training to ensure every school has onsite support. We are committed to our schools and districts and can work with schools to assist with planning, grant writing, organization improvement, instruction design, leadership development, technology planning, and more. We provide ongoing support to teachers and schools using any or all of our modules, and we are very strongly focused on customer loyalty.

At Lumen Touch, we are proud of our team that is driving excellence in education. Please get in touch if you are interested in learning more.

Growing Security Threats – EdTech Has a BRIGHT Future

Does the heart of a parent or teacher skip a beat when they hear that another school has been hacked? Their immediate thoughts are probably “I hope this doesn’t happen to my school.” But if it does, what can they do? Do board members and superintendents not lay awake at night wondering if their districts are protected from hacking and ransomware, and what the cost would be if their districts or schools became victims of extortion? Do school administrators concern themselves with their liabilities associated with student privacy, FERPA, HIPPA and much, much more?

The pressure that comes with protecting student management and information systems, maintaining compliance with state and federal laws, and delivering sophisticated integrated technologies to teachers and classrooms – all without breaking the budget – is enormous. It’s a difficult challenge, made more difficult by constant physical and digital security threats, unfunded mandates by state and local governments, and in many cases a shortage of IT support.

Schools Are Being Targeted by Hackers

Most schools are already using a variety of EdTech solutions that enhance educational programs, provide communications to their stakeholders; manage food services and bus routes; support students with special needs; provide data analytics; maintain data for audits; or help to manage buildings, libraries, student clinics, and school cafeterias. But when more than 500 schools have experienced targeted ransomware attacks in 2019 alone, the underlying security of any EdTech solution introduced to a school district must be a top consideration.

The social responsibility for managing technology in the education space is already overwhelming and will become more so with the advent of artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality, and the increased onslaught of cyber-attacks. This all equates to escalating costs to keep the demons out! The threat has become so significant that last year, the FBI issued a warning about the growing threat to schools.

The Daunting Task Before School Administrators

There is no turning back from this digital frontier; so how do you continue to deliver top-quality education and effectively provide student and data security, streamline workflow for overworked teachers and administrators, while also fostering community support with strong security and fiscal responsibility?

So, What Keeps the CEO of Lumen Touch and His Team Awake at Night?

“The last thing I ever want to hear is that one of our school partners have had a tragedy of some kind with one of their students, families, or staff members,” said Dr John Vandewalle, CEO. “The next thing that I loathe to hear is that their technology or data has been compromised in some way!”

How Do We Manage Effective School and Data Security?

We maintain updates and configurations for all of our services, keeping with industry best practices. Isolation of risk and standardization are core principals we use when determining the design and configurations of our services, and rather than react to existing threats, we work under the assumption that all networks are potentially hostile, including other servers in the local network and clients across the web. With this assumption in mind, we have explicitly banned the use of defaulted trust between services. All systems have access rules and firewalls enforced.

We have migrated to a fluid system of interoperability that allows for sharing of data across platforms and vendors while creating technological engines for automated data integration. This allows us to meet the standards of Ed-Fi, IMS Global, CoSN, and other organizations that create these standards. We are also able to distribute data across platforms in a just-in-time manner that provides instant communication and dashboards to all stakeholders, from board members to students and their families, on the technology of their choice.

Support Overworked Teachers and Administrators

Lumen Touch is dedicated to helping schools and districts transform how they deliver education, support teachers, and manage their schools, using EdTech that is not only comprehensive but extremely secure. Our all-in-one solution delivers remedies for everything a school district requires. Watch for our next blog, when we will discuss streamlining workflow and guarding against workplace dissatisfaction and teacher turnover.

Fiscal Responsibility – Save Your District Time and Money

Schools that implement Lumen Touch experience an average savings of 30% to 60%, which is realized from the time of engagement. In addition, Lumen Touch eases the aggravation that may result from negotiating with multiple vendors and removes the need for telecom contracts, carriers, and fees.

If meeting EdTech mandates has overwhelmed your school and district, let Lumen Touch demonstrate how we can free you up to focus on what’s really important: educating students and creating the leaders of the future.  Email us at sales@lumentouch.com, call us at 816.880.0066, or visit www.lumentouch.com.

AI Surveillance in Schools

Artificial Intelligence is posing a new positive to school systems around the country. The increased scrutiny of safety of schools in America is causing a void that needs to be filled. Artificial Intelligence may be the answer to this problem.

Schools are now using facial recognition, LPRs, microphones, and have even thrown around the idea of robots that patrol the hallways. These systems are far more accurate than the usual use of one or two security guards that patrol and watch live camera feeds all day. These new AI uses do things such as detecting weather a student should or should not be in the hallway at any given moment and send a signal to administration if it rules that the student is breaking any rules.

Another way that AI is being used for surveillance is in the students computers. Most schools in America have or will be providing students with individual computers. This poses problems such as cyber bullying and other inappropriate behaviors online. This brings the ability to monitor what each individual student is doing at any time of the day. Being able to flag keywords or phrases that would allude to things such as elf-harm, bullying, or any other inappropriate behavior and be able to send an alert to people to address this issue. This provides quick and easy solutions to behaviors that would usually have to be reported by another student. AI is truly the next great way to make schools a safer place to learn. 

AI in the Classroom

The integration of artificial intelligence into classrooms is virtually inevitable. According to Artificial Intelligence Market in the US Education Sector, AI is expected to grow upwards of 47.5% in American classrooms within the next four years. As we move more and more towards personalized learning the need for artificial intelligence grows. This is simply because of the time factor it takes to talk in depth with each student and find out what is best for him/her to help them learn better.

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Integrating an artificial teaching assistant into the everyday classroom can help alleviate some of the stress involved with personalized learning, as well as increase the effectiveness of personalized learning.  Artificial teaching assistants can adjust the caseload of each individual student based off of certain inputs given by students while solving certain problems.  AI is expected to fill the gaps in teaching and learning, making teachers jobs easier. Content Technologies and Carnegie Learning are developing technology to provide Artificial Intelligence that can provide learning, testing, and feedback for each student. It provides students with challenges they are ready for, identifies gaps in their knowledge, and redirects students to new topics at appropriate times.

As we move closer to an AI future it becomes inevitable that AI integrates into classrooms. It is time to open up to the idea and embrace Artificial Intelligence into our classrooms so we don’t fall further behind other countries in the education sector.