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

Hindsight 2020: A Year Filled with Hope

Do you remember what you were doing a year ago today? You might have been sending the kids off to school, driving to work, or shopping for Christmas presents. You most likely weren’t running back in to grab your mask, transforming your dining room into a work-study area for your kids, or angling your laptop just right for the light and background in your bedroom to hop on yet another zoom call. A lot can change in a year. And from our perspective, it’s a year that points to the endurance of spirit, the kindness of strangers, and the ability to transform challenge into progress.

We Will Endure

We’ve worked through challenges to overcome everything from zoom bombs to Wi-Fi inequity. Along the way, we’ve learned that teachers are wonderfully committed beyond all expectation to caring for their students – and that they can get pretty creative in finding ways to do just that – like the teacher laying on the side of the road recording an ant hill for his students using a GoPro. Or the teacher who used his stimulus check to pay his students’ utility bills. Or all of the teachers who showed up this fall – in person, online, and both – still ready to give their students 100% every day.

We Are All Innovators

The saying necessity is the mother of invention has never been more accurate. From parking buses in neighborhoods to deliver WiFi to rolling out new technology to make it easier for schools to safely track and monitor student heatlh, innovative solutions have been in abundance to help students, teachers, parents, and schools have a successful year. Nowhere has that innovation been more apparent than from the scientists who have rapidly developed multiple viable vaccines.  

Hope Is Eternal

Throughout this year, amidst the tears, frustration, and loss, there has been an underlying feeling of hope. From a renewed appreciation for the essential workers in our communities to empty pet shelters across the country, good things happened in 2020. Here are some of the highlights:

Vaccines are being distributed as we speak. Our ability to endure, innovate, and maintain hope will see us through to a BRIGHTer 2021.

Decreasing Teacher Attrition with Bright Learning

Admittedly, the path for teachers has never been an easy one. And with tight budgets and larger class sizes, teacher attrition is at an all-time high. Losing talented teachers places an enormous burden on those school districts that are forced to cobble together enough staff to meet the needs of the students. At Lumen Touch, we believe that the right technology can help districts retain talented teachers by giving them tools that allow them to meet instructional mandates without losing touch with what got them into teaching in the first place: having a positive impact in the lives of children.

The Problem

Over the last decade, as budgets have tightened, teacher pay in many schools has stagnated. At the same time, new mandates are now in place that require teachers to spend more time working. This has resulted in the highest number of teachers quitting since the Department of Labor started measuring the sector in 2001.

The Solution

A multi-pronged approach to solving the teacher shortage is required. Clearly, states must prioritize education in their budgets, but that has been and will continue to be an ongoing fight. In the interim, districts must do what they can to minimize the impact on teachers. One way to do this is by finding ways to stretch their school budgets – through grants and strong community volunteer programs, for example. Another way to help is by integrating technology that reduces the workload for teachers. For most teachers, stress and long hours are as much the cause for them leaving the profession as is the pay lag.

Bright Learning™ Empowers Teachers

Bright Learning is a powerful resource that puts teachers back in control of meeting standards, by aligning student achievement and standards-based grading. The system gives teachers a “command center” from which they can map standards to curriculum, assess students, and evaluate progress easily and simply. With an integrated gradebook and lesson planner, teachers save time, aggravation, and stress while better meeting mandates – and having more class time to truly engage with students on a more personal level.

At Lumen Touch, we know that there are no simple answers to solving the big challenges that face educators. But there are changes that can make a difference. Bright Learning is one such change. To learn more, get in touch.