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.

Lumen Touch Commits to School Safety in Partnership with GG4L

lumen touch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lumen Touch is pleased to announce that they have joined the Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative led by Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) and McREL International.

October 10, 2019 | Kansas City, MO – Lumen Touch is proud to announce that the company has joined the Safer Schools in America Initiative to provide EdTech solutions to K-12 schools that are sharing up to $25 million in Safer Schools in America grants. Schools who participate in the initiative will have access to Lumen Touch’s Bright Care™.

“We welcome Lumen Touch to GG4L membership and are pleased to offer their innovative physical health and wellness solution, Bright Care, as part of GG4L Safer Schools Impact Initiative and the Safer Schools in America Grant Program,” says GG4L Chairman and CEO Robert Iskander. “Lumen Touch’s SIS Platform is now tightly integrated with GG4L Connect, offering their districts’ clients automated integration with a variety of different solutions, without compromising data security and student data privacy.”

Bright Care is a complete student medical record management system providing immediate and historical information. Some system features include: Medication Inventory, Daily Medications Schedule, Student Medication Chart (dosage and expiration dates), and Customizable School Screenings, which include mass screenings, BMI, and physicals that can be linked to extracurricular activity groups. Bright Care keeps your students safe and healthy in your schools by providing secure notifications to nurses and teachers, and nutritional services about student allergies and conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, etc. Our HIPAA compliant system is available on any device, anywhere, and allows providers to access critical information on the go. Traditional school clinics or school-based health clinics, Bright Care can manage your needs.

“My mission is to connect every student around the world to opportunity through education and Lumen Touch,” explains owner Dr. John Vandewalle, who purchased Lumen in 2011. “My focus is bringing technology to the K-12 education arena so that every student has the best opportunity for a great education and working with GG4L on this important initiative is a wonderful opportunity to reach more students.”

The Safer Schools in America Impact Initiative, led by Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) and McREL, a Regional Educational Laboratory (REL), is an initiative developed by a national panel of experts to facilitate a positive school climate and incorporate conditions related to engagement, environment, and safety, with considerations for emotional and physical safety, anti-bullying, anti-substance abuse, emergency readiness, school building design, and human variables, as well as threats resulting from technology vulnerabilities.

About Lumen Touch

We focus on improving the learning opportunities for children with measurable outcomes.

Lumen was established in 2000 and has been diligently listening to its customers and building an all-in-one solution that is unparalleled in the education arena. You can experience a seamless technological solution that will save you time and money and allow your students and teachers to focus on improving their wellbeing. Lumen continues to grow and has a presence in 14 states in the US. One of our goals is to go global in the near future. To learn more, visit https://lumentouch.com.

In 2011, Lumen Software was acquired by Dr John Vandewalle who wanted to make a difference in Education. He changed the name to Lumen Touch to better reflect the vision and mission of Lumen. Since then we have upgraded all our systems and are hiring the right people to deliver the best service.

About Global Grid for Learning (GG4L)

Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) is committed to promoting data security in schools. Protecting the data of every user is a top priority. GG4L’s Connect platform makes integrating and deploying education technology safe, easy, and inexpensive. It’s free for schools to use, less expensive for EdTech vendors, and safer for students. As a Public Benefit Corporation, GG4L welcomes collaboration and support from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and philanthropic foundations. Help us keep K-12 data interoperability costs low for schools, while maintaining the security and privacy of student data. To learn more, visit https://www.GG4L.com.

About this School Safety Grant

The total grant value is estimated at $25 million; the SSIA Grant is now underway with 48 unique EdTech solutions addressing the various domains of school safety that are a focus of districts and schools across the US. Eighty-seven schools in fifty districts across the US will be testing solutions in the Safer Schools Framework, consisting of campus security, physical health and wellness, emotional and behavioral health, emergency preparedness and management, digital safety, community engagement, and healthy school and district culture. This represents nearly 194,429 students who are directly and indirectly impacted by this initiative.

GG4L Member schools and districts worldwide that are not already participating may apply and qualify for an on-demand one-year grant that enables schools and districts around the world to assess their progress against implementation of best practices for school safety, discover validated EdTech solutions that can save them time and money and make them more effective and efficient, and apply for an in-kind grant that allows them to select any vendor’s solution in the Safer Schools catalog of curated EdTech solutions for the use of the school year. Any school or district can be a GG4L member at no cost and apply for an on-demand grant. Learn more and apply: https://gg4l.com/impact-initiative-grant-application/

Media Contact

Shadra Bruce
shadra@dashfactor.com
DaSh factor LLC

Training Troubles

As American classrooms gain more and more technology we begin to run into the problem of teachers not having enough training to use this technology correctly or to full potential. In Education Week’s, Technology Counts 2017 Survey it became apparent that teachers in high-poverty school districts are receiving less technology training than teachers from wealthier schools. Google, Digital Promise and EdTechTeam have teamed up to curb this issue. They began a program in July that provides 6.5 Million dollars to 50 different school district with a focus on informing teachers on how to better use devices in the classroom. These different districts all reside in 5 different states (Alabama, California, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas). We hope that this creates the ability for people in high-poverty school districts to receive better instruction and produce better than they have in the past.

Tech Troubles

As we move further and further into the future technology keeps developing. Technology is used to increase productivity in most businesses today. The original thought is that the more technology you have the greater the productivity of your workers will be but this is starting to cause problems for some businesses. In most companies employees are outnumbered 4 to 1 by technological devices. These include switches, routers, hubs or firewalls, desktop or laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, factory controllers, printers and multi function fax, copy and print devices. Now this may not seem very much but this can cause major problems for the IT departments of many businesses. With this many devices IT departments have started to require more people and more money to work. This also requires them to receive more training as the have to be prepared to see all sorts of different devices with all sorts of issues.

What can we do to resolve this issue? A solution that has some potential is RPA’s or Robotic Process automation. RPA’s would be able to run the basic tedious tasks that would take the time out of most IT departments day. It can evaluate most of the issues in most devices and act upon them. This will save businesses time and money in the future.

Strikes in Oakland

Members of the OEA or Oakland Education Association went on strike the week of Feb. 21st. The demands of the strike were an 11% increase on total salaries, a delay on school closures, and smaller class sizes. The strike lasted 5 days with many conversations happening between the OEA and the Oakland school district. Before the strike the school district said that the best they could do was a 7% increase on salary with a one time 1.5 percent  bonus. With the school district failing to meet or comprise with the unions demands it left the 86 schools and 36,000 students out of school for a whole week. With the pressures of getting these children back to class the OEA secured a deal which they felt was fair. Salaries would be raised by 11% plus a 3% bonus once the new contracts were ratified. Along side of this it opened up additional spots for counselors and medical personnel, as well as reducing the size of high school classes by 1 person by the 2019-2020 school year. This is one of many times this school year that a major city’s teaching work force has gone on strike to secure raises and has done so successfully. These city’s include Oakland, Los Angeles, and Denver. Along with these city’s states such as West Virginia and Kentucky have payed attention to teachers needs this year.

Newest Defense Against Breast Cancer

On Monday, March 5th, iCAD, an artificial intelligence company, developed a partnership with Karolinska. This partnership expands on an existing agreement between the two companies that will be able to provide AI assistance to scan mammography images. This program shows promise in developing an individualized way to scan for the potential to develop breast cancer in the future.

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in all women. The key to stopping and treating breast cancer depends on how early you can catch it. This makes screening and early detection a major key to preventing breast cancer. The model that is being produced by this partnership shows promise in providing individualized screening for each person. Turning the current model of age based screening on its head. Instead replacing this with a means of risk related screening. They accomplish this based off of mammography images.  Per Hall, professor and senior physician at the Karolinska Institutet says that, “Most current risk models are population-based and focus on lifetime or long-term risk. Our research using the iCAD AI technology has shown that by simply using the information available in the mammogram images, we can more accurately stratify women based on short-term risk. Understanding short-term risk will open the door to new paradigms in both the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.” We can expect to see this form of detection soon under the name ProFound AI.

Snow Days

Sometimes the best way to innovate inside the classroom is to focus on what happens outside of it. It seems that this year we have had an abundance of snow days. A usually celebrated day might be on its way out. As school moves more to the online sector it becomes easier to teach classes while not at school. This also avoids the make up days at the end of the school year that take away from summer vacations.

There are many positives to eliminating snow days. It allows college level classes to stay on pace. Advanced Placement classes have a set testing day that isn’t adjusted due to snow days. Having an online element where kids can check in and get instruction on days where they would have been at school is very helpful. If you lose a day due to snow it causes major problems in lesson plans. Teachers from Neenah High School, in Wisconsin have experienced 5 snow days this year. They have described the ability to go online and teach as a “life save” because of how it allows them to stay on pace.

At the end of the day some students may be upset that they no longer get a free day off in the middle of the week but with this loss they have the potential to gain in other areas. Test scores and overall understanding of the topic will go up due to being able to learn without condensing lessons.