Lumen Touch and Paywat Announce Partnership

Lumen Touch is pleased to announce our partnership with Paywat. Together, we deliver to schools an easy and efficient way for parents to process payments securely. From lunch money to registration fees to library fines, Lumen Touch and Paywat make it easier for schools to receive payments.

No Cost to Schools

As our preferred partner, Paywat is integrated with our systems, adding no additional cost to schools for use of the feature. Parents who choose to use the online payment feature pay a small fee. Parents will simply use the Lumen Touch platform as they normally do; they’ll just have an additional button to pay electronically.

Part of the Lumen Touch Promise

Lumen Touch is committed to providing best-in-class solutions to schools and school districts, making it easier to support teachers, students, families, and the community. As a K-12-focused payment platform that streamlines online payments, this is an important integration.

  • Your district’s business office can use the same reports from Lumen Touch that they currently use.
  • Funds are directly deposited into school bank accounts on a regular basis; there are no new accounts to track.
  • A single balance per user is noted across the entire integrated platform.

We are working to develop even more integrations, including parent engagement and communication tools.

It has never been easier to start using Paywat together with the Lumen Touch system. Just reach out to your Lumen Touch contact today! We’ll give you a quick overview, and once you’re comfortable, we’ll enable the process. Ask Lumen Touch to enable Paywat today.

About Paywat

Located just outside of Philadelphia, Paywat is focused on solving the communication challenges that exist in schools, particularly in regard to collecting payments. Paywat was founded by a parent who was fed up with the convoluted process of making school payments, having to rely on different tools for school payments, fundraising campaigns, communications, and forms processes. Someone had to do better. Our customers believe that we have hit the nail on the head. Learn more at paywat.com

Education Is Headed for the Metaverse

You can’t avoid hearing about the metaverse these days – this relatively new conception is impacting how we envision the future of retail, travel, social media, and of course, education. Still in its infancy, when and how the metaverse will revolutionize education is difficult to predict. But the vision is there.

How Will the Metaverse Impact Education?

There is no question that the metaverse will impact education. What we experienced during the height of the pandemic, with students and teachers being forced into virtual spaces for learning, has only highlighted how important it is to embrace technology. And as jobs of the future require more technical knowledge, we must ensure that students have the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology, to better prepare them to be part of the modern workforce. But because the metaverse is still under construction, so to speak, an opportunity exists for education leaders to help ensure the metaverse serves schools and students properly.

Educators Can Lead the Way

In an exciting look at education in the metaverse from Brookings, the authors point out, “Today, as the metaverse infrastructure is still under construction, researchers, educators, policymakers, and digital designers have a chance to lead the way rather than get caught in the undertow.” They paint a picture of interactive, multidisciplinary, cross-curricular education that immerses students directly into the environment about which they are learning. The authors of the Brookings research note that, “the interaction is inherently social with live people and live moment to moment, emotionally laden interactions. And notice that the teachers are still crucial to this experience.”

Experiences in the Metaverse Affect Our Brains Differently

Why is the metaverse such an important consideration for education? Because the learning is active, rather than passive. The learning creates memories for the students of actually being in a place. The Brookings research used ancient Greece as an example, but any historical location could have just as easily been used, or an astronomical phenomenon, or a field trip somewhere that a school could never afford to budget (The Louvre, for example). Stephen Fromkin writes in a Fast Company article, “Interactions in the metaverse give us the impression that we are having real experiences and creating real memories – because we are.”

But What About Measurable Outcomes?

We will hopefully move well beyond standardized testing and measure student success in more practical ways. One form of measurement is engagement. Imagine students being excited about education, being able to interact with figures from history, and being able to step into places from a distance – to touch, feel, and look around while there. A good example of rudimentary AI that is paving the way for education in the metaverse is the Digital Einstein Experience. Try it out. With a simple permission to use your microphone, you can have a conversation with Einstein, and he will respond to your questions.

The metaverse is coming. It is an inevitability. How it will impact education is still up in the air, but we have a huge opportunity to help guide the process to ensure we are meeting the needs of students, teachers, and districts as it becomes more commonplace.

Lumen Touch Empowers the Future of Learning

Connecting every student to opportunity: Those are powerful words, and they are the commitment we’ve made that drives the development of our solutions. But to truly connect every student to opportunity, we need to make it easier for teachers, IT leaders, and administrators to focus on meeting students’ needs and avoid being cluttered with things like managing roster data, monitoring cybersecurity, tracking health, and administering exams. Lumen Touch clears the path so that schools can focus on creating the future of learning.

Managing Roster Data and Ensuring Student Data Privacy with Bright PASSPORT™

The time and labor costs of data entry are something schools don’t calculate until they realize how much time they’re saving by utilizing a single sign-on system that includes a library of fully vetted edtech solutions designed to meet all the needs of every classroom.

Because of the enormous risk involved in sharing roster and other personal student data with multiple edtech vendors, schools must consider how to remain in compliance with student privacy laws and also ensure that the vendors with whom they share data are also using strenuous measures to protect that information. Bright PASSPORT – a centralized, secure method of sharing student data, governs how schools share personally identifiable information (PII), such as student roster data. Rather than allow teachers or school districts to implement apps for their classrooms, Bright PASSPORT provides for districts a library of approved apps that meet the required security standards.

Monitor Cybersecurity with Bright LITE™

Lumen Touch has always provided 24/7 monitoring and managed services support to our schools, but in order to strengthen your cybersecurity, you need to know where your security gaps are.  That’s why Lumen Touch is offering a service for schools called Bright LITE.  Our customized service offering provides individuals and organizations with the necessary information and education to efficiently evaluate both the risks and opportunities they face.

Manage Health and Safety with Bright CARE™

The laborious task of managing health and safety has been thrust into the spotlight in schools, as districts have been forced to manage mask and vaccination requirements, enforce social distancing, and establish isolation protocols. While schools have always needed a health and safety solution for regularly mandated vaccines, allergy management, and trouble-free Medicaid billing for services provided through the schools, the pandemic certainly has made this a much larger priority.

Lumen Touch partnered with Tesseract to offer even more tools through Bright CARE. Bright CARE is a comprehensive student health and medical record management system developed by Lumen Touch. For schools that would benefit, this system can be implemented as a standalone application.

Supporting Educator Professional Development

Bright PATH™ connects educators to dynamic learning opportunities with highly effective learning programs that help streamline professional development. By offering customizable courses and units of study to fit the learning needs of leaders, teachers, and support staff, professional development has never been so easy. As educator professional training and advancement through micro-credentialing gains momentum, Bright PATH provides the sophisticated solution that school administrators need to improve retention rates. Bright PATH provides:

  • Just-in-time learning – anywhere, anytime
  • Proven best practices for instructors
  • One-stop shopping for all members of the education community
  • Easy progress monitoring of content learning
  • Streamlining of all professional development
  • Résumé builder, through Master Teacher
  • Free, innovative global content

Make Teachers’ Jobs Easier with Bright SUITE™

Lumen Touch Bright SUITE™ is the total Lumen Touch offering, bringing many advantages including tremendous cost- and time-saving efficiencies. It includes a truly personalized and flexible management system that can meet the unique needs of your individual district while still encompassing characteristic school needs, from special education to student information to library and resources management to student individual plans of study to complete health and wellness management.  Bright SUITE allows students and teachers to embrace technology, to accelerate the trajectory of learning and enhance the well-being of each student. With Bright SUITE, your district will be connecting all students to opportunities!

To learn more about how Lumen Touch empowers the future of learning, get in touch. Email us at mailto:sales@lumentouch.com, call us at 816.880.0066, or visit www.lumentouch.com.

Cybersecurity and Your School

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Most people may assume that the effort in increasing awareness is primarily for the benefit of businesses. While businesses absolutely need to do their part to minimize cyber risk, school districts shoulder as much, if not more, responsibility for maintaining strong cybersecurity. It’s more than just a compliance issue – it’s a matter of doing everything possible to protect student data.

Resources for Improving Cybersecurity in your School

The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, CISA, provides a number of resources for schools. There is also guidance for parents, to help them teach their children to be more cybersecure, with additional resources for schools to assist parents, including:

Add Social Media and Cyber Safety to Your Curriculum

Schools have the opportunity to help improve cybersecurity by educating students to be cyber smart from the start. By teaching students how to protect their own identities online, how to use social media platforms responsibly, and how to be more cyber secure as individuals – using passwords, 2FA, VPNs, and more – we can make sure the next generation stays one step ahead of hackers and cyber criminals.

Cyber.org offers this great video on social media safety that can help get you started, as well as this downloadable fact sheet (PDF).

Make Sure Your Cybersecurity Is Up to Speed in Your School

One of the best ways to ensure that your student data remains protected is to manage how personally identifiable information (PII) is shared. Lumen Touch’s Bright PASSPORT™ provides districts with a library of approved apps that have been properly vetted to meet the required security standards. Learn more.

Does Your School Need a Cybersecurity Audit?

In order to begin making improvements to your cybersecurity strategy, you need to know where your weaknesses are. That’s why Lumen Touch is offering a brand new service for schools: Bright LITE™.  Our customized service offering provides individuals and organizations with the information and education to efficiently evaluate both the risks and opportunities they face. 

To learn more about how Lumen Touch can help your school remain cyber secure, get in touch.

Preparing Students for the Future Means Radically Changing Education

“Technology is neither the problem nor the solution, it’s just a tool. In the end, these are all human problems that need human-focused solutions.“ 

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

In March 2018, Vivienne Ming gave a speech at the SingularityU Czech Summit about the future of education and how to robot-proof kids. Fast-forward three years and her words are just as prophetic, if not more so, given the huge shift to virtual and hybrid learning we’ve experienced due to the pandemic.

Resolving Inequities

One of the reasons Lumen™ Touch talks so often about inequity in education is that it really does have an impact on the success of the student. When we can resolve inequities, such as access to the internet, access to a computer, and easy access to libraries, the gap is reduced. Ming explains that there is no bigger impact on children’s minds than their experiences within the home, so the other thing we must tackle to give our students a better future is to address economic barriers at home: access to jobs, transportation, mental health, and medical care. This allows parents to provide the kind of role modeling that students need to start with a stronger foundation.

The Connection Between Education, Workforce, Health, and Inclusion

Ming’s research discovered that people who came from a higher socioeconomic status were 10 times more likely to have patents attributed to them as kids who performed similarly but came from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds. When we consider what that means in terms of, as Ming describes it, the massive economic, cultural, and innovative potential that is being squandered, we can clearly see the need to address inequities in education, to take advantage of that potential.

How do we do that?

We level the playing field by providing access to edtech, AI, and other technologies, so that each student has the opportunity to develop, achieve, and contribute.

“In the future 10-15 years from now, there’s only going to be one job description: adaptive, creative problem solver.”

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

Window of Opportunity: Radically Changing Education Can Happen Now

Between the ages of five and eight, a child’s brain is most impacted by things like childhood household stress and childhood isolation. The trauma of those stresses decreases a child’s ability to develop working memory. Using literacy and numeracy, working memory can also be improved. Ming also discovered, through the course of her work, that grades don’t predict success. She goes further, however, insisting that education should be about helping each individual have a happy, healthy, productive life – not just philosophically but in an objective and measurable way.

How Can Radically Changing Education Help All Students?

According to Ming, we must recognize the trap of assuming that who a student is during one parent-teacher conference is not who that student will always be. So, if we learn to give students what they need in the moment, we can maximize their long-term outcomes. And this approach works whether a student is in elementary school or high school or college. It’s about putting emotional intelligence into education.

“If we keep building them for a world that’s not existing 10 years from now, then we will end up with a society in which a tiny sliver of people will be ready to compete.”

– Dr. Vivienne Ming

Watch her presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_y5dhBdg48M

Why Every Classroom Should be a Smart Classroom

Remote learning has taught us that we need to provide more access to education – and technology is the solution that levels the playing field among districts. While most districts have certain elements in their classrooms that make them smart, the idea behind a smart classroom is that technology plays a significant role in the delivery of education – automating things, such as assessments, grading, and assignment tracking – so that educators have more time to work directly with students. What also makes classrooms smart is the way in which technology improves the learning environment by managing air temperature and lighting. The physical environment of the classroom plays a major role in learning. 

Benefits of Smart Classrooms

Smart classrooms, at their most basic level, foster access to education. From students who can continue learning from home if they are unable to attend (think: lice outbreaks; colds; and other illnesses that would otherwise spread throughout the student population; students without access to transportation; and more) to those students who benefit most from a classroom environment, edtech enriches their education.

Exposure to Technology that Makes Students More Hirable

As we’ve seen during the last year, with the shift to online learning, students are capable of learning how to use the tools and technology required in today’s workplace. Most third graders are at least as adept at Zoom as the adults using it – and sometimes more so. But it’s about more than just the tools; it’s about having the ability to integrate technology, merging these tools with collaborative efforts, project management, learning, and communications, that makes these students even more prepared for the future.

Deeper Learning

With the internet at their fingertips and the ability to take advantage of supplemental audio-visual information alongside every lesson, today’s students in a smart classroom have the potential of learning more about any particular subject. As well, subjects can be integrated with each other. While learning math, you can incorporate a science lesson on astronomy, a history lesson about Copernicus, and a social studies lesson about the Renaissance. Multiple educators can collaborate to bring entire curriculums to life in a richer way than was ever before possible.

Better Individualized Learning

It’s not just students on IEPs and 504s whose learning should be individualized. Every student should have an individual education plan. But that’s difficult to execute when you have 30 students in a classroom. Technology in smart classrooms can help educators provide a more individualized experience to all students, freeing those who can do so to work deeper or further along while providing educators with more time to help those who are struggling.

The smart classroom is the classroom of the future. It’s not designed to replace educators but instead to allow them to use the skills they possess to truly impact the learning experience of every student.

Going Back to School Shouldn’t Mean Going Back to What Was

The pandemic has been a tragedy of grand proportions, and we do not want to take lightly the impact it has had on people throughout the country and around the world. However, we believe strongly in finding the positive and the hope in any circumstance – and in celebrating the resiliency and the innovative nature of people under pressure. We want to celebrate the scientists who are guiding us through the pandemic with rapidly developed vaccines and treatments. And of course, because of the industry we are in, we are elated with the progress we’ve seen in edtech and the nearly overnight transformation it has had on education – which is why it is all the more important that going back to school does not mean falling back into pre-pandemic patterns of providing education.

Edtech Should Be Here to Stay

Edtech has often been haphazardly incorporated into curricula, almost as a forced segment instead of a method for enabling teachers to better engage and encourage students. Having been thrust into online education, edtech and tech solutions took a front seat for many schools for the first time. But that technology, which may have been hastily thrown together to meet an urgent need, can now be properly integrated into varied curricula permanently.

Moving Education Forward

Hybrid learning, exposing students to the technology in which they will need to be savvy for success in the work environment, and giving educators tools that make it easier for them to be effective and engaging without being bogged down in the minutiae of paperwork should be priorities. Learning systems that allow teachers to automate lessons and grading practices, so that they can focus on individualized attention to students, should be the norm, not just a pandemic response.

Back to School Does Not Have to Mean Back to What Was

We will be announcing some new collaborations and innovations throughout the year, but the main motivation will be to continue pushing education into the 21st century. As school districts begin discussing the resumption of full-time, in-person classes, the last thing we want to see happen is for back to school to become a euphemism for back to what many consider to be normal.

In an education system that literally has not been updated in over a century, the changes that have happened because we have had to adapt must be sustained. We need to embrace everything we’ve learned during the pandemic, maintain all of the technology and innovation we’ve incorporated, and continue pushing forward.

2020 – A Year That Has Challenged Our Prowess and Resilience

Helen Keller said, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road… Unless you fail to make the turn.”

This has been a trying year for everyone, but we at Lumen Touch can’t help but end the year with a very bright outlook. Hats off to our partnering school districts – and educators everywhere – as they continue to make Herculean efforts to ensure that their students are taken care of and receive instruction, while we’ve simultaneously watched the edtech industry pull together to support teachers and schools in ways that were unexpected but most welcome. We all have embraced the bend in the road.

Lumen Touch has been fortunate to partner with several innovative companies, rising to the demands and extending the reach of our platform to provide urgent solutions to new challenges, using our Bright SUITE™ product line. This has dramatically reduced some of the constraints and frustrations that teachers and IT teams were unexpectedly confronted with. Two of these very valuable partnerships have helped us significantly impact schooling as we navigate unchartered waters.

The GG4L Digital Stimulus Package – a must for all school districts

Lumen Touch is proud to be one of the solutions offered in the GG4L Digital Stimulus Package, which gives GG4L member schools immediate deployment of a free, fully integrated digital transformation bundle, valued at over $2,500 per school. In addition to a district-branded portal and 60 days of access to Lumen Touch’s Bright CARE™, schools receive:

  • Reliable single sign-on School Passport across all apps
  • Safe online SchoolTube video sharing for all courses
  • Academic achievement self-diagnostic tools through Gooru’s Navigator
  • Secure GG4L Virtual Classrooms for all courses (60-day trial)
  • Actionable family engagement with native iOS/Android mobile app (60-day trial)
  • Hundreds of free online learning resources available from GG4L’s Catalyst catalog
  • Bright CARE for management of COVID-19

Better Health and Health Monitoring with Lumen Touch and Tesseract Ventures

Lumen Touch partnered with Tesseract Ventures, a fellow Kansas City-based technology company. Using Tesseract’s PRISM™ technology, Lumen Touch can issue badges for students, allowing the necessary tracking and tracing information to be collected while prioritizing student safety and privacy by shielding individual data from anyone without proper authorization.

Bright CARE’s tools include:

  • Temperature tracking and contact tracing
  • Tracking of COVID-19 testing
  • Monitoring of and alerting on social distancing
  • Summary of medical conditions and injuries
  • District-wide summary of immunization error dates
  • Immunization summary report by type and exemption (to include COVID-19 vaccination)

Kansas City is being recognized as a hot spot for education technology prowess. We are all better together to build an education platform that fills jobs with market-value assets – that is, students succeeding in a new learning environment. Lumen Touch and Tesseract are happy together and want to invite others to the table to develop the future in education.

– Dr. John Vandewalle

As 2021 draws near, we are grateful to have partners like these to help us better serve our schools and communities. All of us at Lumen Touch wish you a happy and safe holiday season and a prosperous 2021.

Lumen Touch and Tesseract Ventures Join Up to Tackle COVID-19 in Schools

Last March, could any of us have foreseen how rapidly schools would be forced to adjust in the months to follow? The pandemic has been a wild roller-coaster ride for every school administrator, teacher, IT director, parent, and student. And just as everyone started to get a handle on distance learning, many states began bringing students back to school. And because schools were under pressure to meet government mandates for data collection, COVID-19 screening, contact tracing, and daily temperature screening checks, providing a safe learning environment for students became harder, not easier. Lumen Touch™ heeded the call from our partner schools to help implement a solution that would work.

Enhancements to Bright CARE

Bright CARE™ is Lumen Touch’s comprehensive student health and medical record management system.  While it can be used as a standalone application, it is also included as part of our student and district management system, Bright STUDENT™. Bright CARE is the only total electronic medical record platform that tracks medical, dental, and behavioral health for students from early childhood through graduation, giving administrators and health staff immediate and historical data in a safe and secure manner. Features include:

  • Comprehensive student medical records management
  • Ability to schedule and track office visits
  • Full immunization tracking, including COVID-19, with state compliance requirements and expirations
  • Medication inventory tracking with automatic expiration notification
  • Medical condition tracking with health alert system
  • Medical insurance (health, dental, etc.), demographic, and emergency contact information
  • Automated Medicaid billing

Tracing, Tracking, and Managing COVID-19 with Lumen Touch Bright CARE

Lumen Touch developers have enhanced Bright CARE to create a system that will monitor students and staff and carry out contact tracing. Compatible with a variety of different thermometers, including GoSafe, schools are better able to meet district and state reporting requirements. Bright CARE’s tools include:

  • Temperature tracking and contact tracing
  • Tracking of COVID-19 testing
  • Monitoring of and alerting on social distancing
  • Summary of medical conditions and injuries
  • District-wide summary of immunization error dates
  • Immunization summary report by type and exemption (to include COVID-19 vaccination)

Partnering with Tesseract

In order to meet the needs of schools as students began returning to their classrooms for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, Lumen Touch partnered with Tesseract Ventures, a fellow Kansas City-based technology company. Using Tesseract’s PRISM™ technology, Lumen Touch can issue badges for students that allow the necessary tracking and tracing information to be collected while prioritizing student safety and privacy by shielding individual data from anyone without proper authorization.

The strategic partnership between Lumen Touch and Tesseract Ventures will continue to provide opportunities for schools to enhance their support of students well beyond the pandemic. Academic progress, medical history, extracurricular achievements, and more, can all be securely tracked and recorded. Students and parents will have access to their secure portfolios to use for future academic and professional goals. Districts will be able to aggregate anonymized group data to make informed decisions regarding curriculum and operations management.

Lumen Touch is excited for what this partnership will bring to schools around the country, both in the short term and as we move beyond the pandemic. To learn more, read our full press release here.

As Education Changes, Lumen Touch Changes with It

Lumen™ Touch has been in the thick of things with our partner schools since the first hint of the pandemic. The administrators, teachers, and especially, the IT directors at our schools began doing everything they could to prepare for distance learning and mitigate risk as early as last March. They’ve continued that work each day with determination. They make sure students have laptops, arranging for contactless pickup for students who didn’t go home with one. They come up with creative ways to provide access to the internet, enabling mobile hotspots in parking lots and on buses, for instance. But our industry remains in constant flux, and with the changes being thrust upon us, we must adapt accordingly.

New for the 2020-2021 School Year from Lumen Touch

You already know how we strive to protect student data and provide the kind of IT support that makes a measurable difference to every school’s data security. But we haven’t stopped there. We have been listening to the schools we work with about what really hinders their ability to keep their students safe, and our developers have been working tirelessly in response to their feedback to meet the needs of schools across the country.

Bright Care™ Rapid Screening Entry: Though health and wellness has always been at the core of our values and technology, we understand that the well-being of our students is now more important than ever. Bright Care Rapid Screening Entry allows any staff member to quickly screen student temperatures as they enter the building. This systematic and data-driven application easily allows you to monitor students and staff and carry out contact tracing. Using data coming from temperature sensors of different kinds (e.g. GoSafe), you will have another level of contactless control to manage the safety of your students and staff.

Bright Learning™ Secure Video Conferencing: We know that students learn through a variety of media and that learning ‘online’ doesn’t just mean watching videos and completing multiple-choice assessments. In a time when we cannot always be face-to-face for instruction and discussions, it is critical to be able to provide a safe, secure, interactive, and measured video software solution. For these reasons, we have worked to include not only the virtual learning video, but also, the ability to capture the engagement of students during the interactive sessions. Our secure video conferencing is an integrated video platform that can be used within the Bright Learning system to manage virtual and distance learning. By incorporating this onto our platform, we are able to better manage cybersecurity while providing features to make the new way of virtual engagement seamless and less stressful.

Lumen Touch is committed to providing the safest and most comprehensive learning solutions to meet your school’s needs – without compromising student security or education integrity. We’d love to have the opportunity to talk about how our platform can help your school. Get in touch.