EdTech and Security Risks

Vulnerabilities and risks are inherent in all technologies. And while the increasing use of tech in the education sphere is a huge benefit for all, it isn’t without its share of issues.

Apps and IT

Many of the apps that are used by students and teachers to access their school information may not be properly vetted or controlled by district IT departments. That may leave doors open for criminal activity. A student or staff member may log into an account from multiple devices, or login at a coffee shop or on an unsecure network. Those instances in themselves are risks to data, but they also force us to pose the question of what to do about so-called shadow apps that are accessing the networks. 

The answer is Lumen Touch.

Lumen Touch software runs on a Linux operating system that is remotely managed by Lumen Touch. We maintain the updates and configurations of all services. We follow industry best practices for the services provided. Isolation of risk and standardization are core principals we use when determining the design and configurations of our services. We work under the assumption that all networks are potentially hostile. This includes other servers in the local network and clients’ servers across the web. 

Criminal Activity and EdTech

Schools have become the second-most sought-after organizations for cyberattacks. The demand on school IT departments to manage school technology has nearly doubled from five years ago. Networks, devices, and apps all require extensive management and monitoring, and the complexities in doing so are growing. Ransomware is an emergent and easy way for criminals to gain access to schools, especially when many people are using many different network devices. In addition, there have been state and federal responses to cyberattacks in schools, due to the nature of the information they collect – information that could have a large negative impact on students and their families. Phishing schemes are a common vulnerability in schools. When students or staff members click on suspicious links, they are opening their system to risks.

Lumen Touch hosting employs full-disk encryption and a server image created from scratch by Lumen Touch. This allows us to have full end-to-end encryption of client data, both in transit and at rest. Lumen Touch also manages backups and disaster recovery for you. Whether we host your site, or even if you have a server on-site, we perform daily encrypted backups that are stored off-site in another region of the United States. This gives us the flexibility to handle data restores for your site in the event of user error or catastrophic hardware failure. These restores can occur on your existing site, if applicable, or placed into a Lumen Touch hosted site.

Managing the risks associated with EdTech is a must for school districts. Lumen Touch is committed to ensuring student data security by providing remote monitoring of your site 24/7/365. On average, we track 160 data points per site that help us identify potential issues before they affect clients.

EdTech is the future of education, but technology without responsibility is dangerous. Lumen Touch considers student safety and data security with everything we do. At Lumen Touch, we are proud of our team that is driving excellence in education. We’d love to talk to you about how we can help support your school! Get in touch.

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.

Bright SPED: Delivering the Individualized Education that Students Need

Today’s school population is complex and dynamic, especially when trying to facilitate and meet the specialized needs of students on 504s and IEPs. It’s not that the teacher can’t or won’t provide required accommodations; it’s often the process that hinders success: How do you make sure every teacher knows about a student’s accommodations without violating their HIPAA and FERPA rights? Without overtaxing SPED teachers, how do you make it easy for them to deliver the education that students need?

Give Teachers and Aides the Tools They Need

Most schools rely on forms-driven solutions for special education. It’s all about IEP and 504 completion. But a form is not a student. And a form is not a teacher. To make SPED work for the people involved – the students, the teachers, the aides, the parents, and the CSE teams – schools and districts need a solution that lets teachers take the time they spend working on IEPs and use that time instead to work with students.

How Bright SPED™ Transforms Special Education

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

What Does Bright SPED™ Mean for Your School?

Bright SPED is designed for the user experience. Teachers who work with students who have individualized needs can view or print IEPs with the click of a button, so there so is never any requirement to dig through a paper file to find out about accommodations or special curriculum goals. It also guides teachers through the entire IEP process, including the time-consuming process of developing annual goals. Bright SPED makes it easier for teachers to build IEPs, communicate with parents and team members, and support students.

  • For teachers, it means less frustration and more time working directly with students. This in turn results in better job satisfaction, less attrition, and more time to collaborate with other teachers.
  • For parents, it means easier communication and the confidence in knowing that their child’s accommodations are disseminated to every teacher and support professional who works with the student.
  • For the student, it means needs can be met more confidentially and more effectively, so that the overall education experience is more positive.
  • For school and district administrators, compliance stops being a headache.

Teachers are taxed beyond their capacity in every way in today’s public schools. They are expected to meet not only a variety of educational mandates and goals but an extraordinary number of compliance-related demands – all while still creating engaging lesson plans, providing emotional support to students, and meeting their own continuing ed licensing requirements. Lumen Touch exists to make it easier for teachers to meet all of those demands without losing the joy in doing what they love: teaching students.


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.

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.