Are Teachers Unsung Heroes? Who Is Listening?

In the medical world, we have been giving a tremendous amount of praise and recognition to the doctors and nurses who have been combating the coronavirus. We are providing them with pandemic protection equipment, we are developing safety protocols, and we are paying them more to come into areas where additional help is needed.

Can we truly say we are doing the same for teachers and school staff or are we demanding they return to a work environment that will compromise their health? What are the challenges associated with going back to school? Here’s what teachers are asking about:

Many teachers are challenged with metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity; respiratory diseases, such as asthma; cardiovascular diseases, such as mild heart failure; and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. As well, some teachers are immunocompromised patients recovering from cancer treatment or organ transplants. Do these teachers get more robust protection equipment and special assignments to reduce their risk?

So, when we go into this new world of learning, we will still be in the fog as leadership is clearly lacking when it comes to providing direction that responds to these concerns, and decision makers have different vested interests. Moreover, we have compounded the medical crisis with a social enlightening, drawing attention to mutual equity and equal education.

Our teachers have always been heroes but in most cases have gone unrecognized.

This crisis has focused a spotlight on the education system and the value of the teacher versus the institution. And guess what? The spotlight is only going to get brighter as we move into a whole new dimension of learning and unmask the travesties of our existing school systems. And this is not the time to add additional technology to fix the crisis but rather to look at what schools are trying to deliver by way of learning and realizing that their technology is not suited for the crisis and the future.

Is it reasonable to consider online-only instruction for most students?

As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in 32 states, health experts predict that schools will not truly be able to return to some semblance of normal until May or June of 2021. Knowing that, we can begin now to address the challenges of maintaining a distance-learning environment. While there were a number of hiccups in getting started with distance learning last spring, most teachers were able to overcome the challenges – as were most students. With better support to infrastructure, addressing the inequity of Wi-Fi and device access, many students can continue with distance learning. By facilitating distance learning for as many students as possible, those who really cannot remain home, whether because of financial reasons or because of special needs that require in-person therapy and guidance, can have enough space within the school facilities to be accommodated.

Lumen Touch Is Here for You – Start with our No-Cost Audit

We don’t have all the answers, but we continuously monitor the learning space and add more capability to our platform, such as integrated video and computer-based interactivity, and Covid-19 monitoring and tracking with parent, teacher, and student portals to keep everyone informed every moment of their day.

We also have a seasoned audit team that will help you find means to pay for extra costs when your budgets are being cut. This audit is at NO COST to you and has saved some districts hundreds of thousands of dollars. Get in touch to learn more.

Transforming Education Post-Pandemic

“The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed – it needs to be transformed.” – Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Transforming education is not a new topic, and it’s something the team at Lumen Touch has been working toward for a long time. Many of the things the pandemic has forced schools to contend with are those things that should have already been in place –virtual classroom technology and comprehensive connectivity, for instance.

Education Is the Driver of Economic Development

The more educated our workforce is – the more educated our community is – the better lifestyles are going to be for all workers. Income is driven by education, as is the well-being of the citizens of a community. Unfortunately, our education system has been stagnant for decades. As a result, we have fallen to 25th in math proficiency in the world; 17th in science proficiency; and 14th in reading. To turn that around we must:

  • Transform the system
  • Personalize the learning
  • Discover the child
  • Create the environment

Teachers Should Be Engaged with Every Aspect of the Transformation

We need to start listening to the teachers.

Among all the academic stakeholders, teachers are the least likely to believe their opinions count at work. But during the pandemic, and in a post-pandemic world, teachers will be much like frontline healthcare workers – the ones who can tell us what we need to survive and thrive. What do teachers want?

  • Less bureaucracy and more quality teaching time
  • Adaptations to meet individual student challenges
  • More personal accountability
  • Personal development

Ironically, if we’d have met teachers demands to have greater access to classroom-based tech before the coronavirus, the transition to distance learning would have been so much smoother.  It’s time to completely change the way we engage with teachers. They need to be part of the leadership teams and part of the decision making. They need to be part of the redesign team top to bottom, inside and out.

Leadership and Technology Will Pave the Way to a Brighter Future

The pandemic, with its disruption, is forcing us to accelerate toward where we should have already been. In other words, we don’t need to transform education because of the coronavirus – the coronavirus just forced the transformation we’ve needed for decades. We need to take the opportunity being presented.

Leadership must protect, embrace, and support agents of change. Instead of designing homogenized schools, we need to design schools that reflect our communities. Schools should be community centers, audaciously planned to utilize capacity in ways that serve everyone. Leaders must:

  • Bring design to life
  • Remove barriers
  • Create accountability
  • Prepare for pushback
  • Continuously pursue the dream

To succeed, integrated technology will be required in all aspects of school design and education delivery – in architecture, connectivity, safety, wall space, room space, site utilization, hardware and software, furnishings, and more.

Leaders must be outcome-driven, willing to do more with less; they must become moguls of data analytics and bring more stakeholders to the table, including volunteers, vendors, and business partners, for they are all part of the education community.

Now is the time to shift the curve – from classroom batching to personalized engagement; from brick-and-mortar to project-based virtual learning; from the family to the community; from empowered administration to empowered students and teachers; from textbook to device; from analog to digital; from teaching to wellbeing; from grades to learning trajectory – from INSTRUCTIVISM to CONSTRUCTIVISM.


Lumen Touch is dedicated to being part of the future of education. We focus on improving the learning opportunities for children with measurable outcomes. We have been diligently listening to educators and experts to develop and improve our all-in-one solution. We’re discovering through this pandemic how critical it is to have something like Lumen Touch in place for a seamless transition from the classroom to home education without missing a moment. In a potential hybrid-style future, in which split schedules are the norm and education time is divided between school and home, this is critical. We are in the process of expanding our services to all 50 states. If your school is preparing for a permanent change in instruction and delivery, get in touch.

Rising to the Challenge: Reimagining Learning

What’s the biggest challenge facing school technology directors currently? It is not a lack of devices or a deficient internet; they are working through those issues with a variety of creative solutions. The biggest challenge right now is the unknowns. Will students return to school full-time or will they learn from home full-time? Or will the solution going forward be a hybrid? Will there be split schedules? We dealt with many of these questions and more during our latest Facebook Live, which you can learn more about and watch here.

One of the biggest challenges we’ll have to deal with is the unknown. We’re planning for three scenarios – coming back, blended, and all at home. Our district is also considering making the students stay with the same teacher in the same classroom all day long. So now my high school social studies teacher has to teach trig?  – Rob Landers, Director of Technology, Washington School District of Washington, Missouri

As school leaders, teachers, and district tech directors attempt to plan for all possible scenarios, we believe the focus must shift to talking about the future of learning. The pandemic has forced changes that have been in the making for a decade, and now that we’re embracing these alternative ways of disseminating knowledge, going backward should not be the solution. It’s time to reimagine learning.

Redefining Learning: Learning Doesn’t Have to Happen in a Classroom

With all of next year up in the air for most school districts, our team is focused on the future of schools and redefining learning. Learning is not just something that happens in the classroom. 

At the very beginning [of the pandemic], teachers were tech heavy. They required students to be online all the time and tried to stick to school schedules. But kids should only be on devices for a certain amount of time, so we started monitoring what teachers were doing. What we discovered is that kids can learn even when not on the device – standards can be learned through many activities – scavenger hunts, cooking, doing laundry. We started to see a real balance between online learning and alternative learning, where kids were outside, taking pictures, being active, then coming back to write up projects. – Julie Leach, 21st Century Instructional Coach at Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools

Where Do We Go from Here?

Right now, we have a significant opportunity to revolutionize education – to move away from standardized testing and toward individualized learning. The education system has already been completely disrupted by the pandemic, so why return to a system that was already outdated and underperforming?

We’re not preparing students today to work with AI and robots or to work with code, which is what they’ll need. Redesign the curriculum – screw the standardized test. We are doing our students a complete disservice, and we’re not preparing them to be able to get a job in the workplace. – Dr. John Vandewalle, Lumen Touch CEO

Consider the long-term ramifications from which we could benefit by:

  • Eliminating grade levels – students could progress at their own speed, truly allowing for individualized education for every student
  • Keeping students with the same teacher for multiple years – literature from experts maintains that changing teachers every year is traumatizing and creates a learning gap
  • Placing more emphasis on learning and less on standardized testing – recognizing that standardized testing does not test students for functional education that they need to succeed in society; it may be time to remove standardized testing and focus instead on teaching practical, applicable topics

There have been very few silver linings over the last three months of living through this pandemic, but one very bright spot has been the way teachers, tech leaders, and the community have – many times on the fly – come up with ways to deliver real learning without the structure and schedule of a school setting. From the rural bar that opened during the day for students, simply so that they could use the internet to do their homework, to the teachers who have found extraordinary ways to reach and engage with their students, to create new ways to learn, and to work with available tools to make the best of the situation. As we move forward, we should be striving to provide teachers and students with the tools they need so that they are better prepared for the future.

It is time to redefine learning. We would love to hear your ideas. Get in touch.

The Future for Education, Revisited

Even before the pandemic, Lumen Touch was working with Kansas schools to envision the future of education. That future is technology, whether in the classroom or when learning from home. Technology doesn’t replace teachers – it frees them from the mundane, repetitive tasks of education and allows them to focus on enrichment and one-on-one development with students. It allows every student the opportunity for an individualized education. This was true before the pandemic and it remains true now.

Identifying the Gaps

What the pandemic has shown us is that while we already have some of the tools we need in place, there are gaps. Some students do not have access to the internet; some don’t have laptops or computers at home; some districts have no budget to provide these things. That’s where we– as edtech leaders, educators, and school administrators – need to devote ourselves as we move forward. The future of education needs to be, above all, more equitable.

Identifying the Opportunities

We have also discovered that, when done well, distance learning can lead to positive outcomes in which students are stimulated and curious and excited about learning. We’ve met teachers along this journey who are adept at leveraging technology to deliver a memorable learning experience to their students. And we’ve found unsung heroes in every corner from businesses that have stepped up to fill in the gap by providing devices and internet access to parents and teachers who collaborate to ensure that students’ needs are met.

Where Do We Go from Here?

That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Because even as we see our way through this pandemic, the world of education will be forever changed. Classrooms will not be the same and neither will schools. As we move forward, we need to consider how to design an education system that:

  • Leverages technology without sacrificing human interaction
  • Delivers meaningful, student-driven instruction that is engaging and stimulating
  • Pivots quickly as needs change and as our understanding of learning improves

We recently hosted a live streamed webinar on the future of education. You can watch it here to get more perspective on where we’re headed:

Lumen Touch is dedicated to being part of the future of education. We focus on improving the learning opportunities for children with measurable outcomes. We have been diligently listening to educators and experts to develop and improve our all-in-one solution. We’re discovering through this pandemic how critical it is to have something like Lumen Touch in place for a seamless transition from the classroom to home education without missing a moment. In a potential hybrid-style future, in which split schedules are the norm and education time is divided between school and home, this is critical. We are in the process of expanding our services to all 50 states. If your school is preparing for a permanent change in instruction and delivery, get in touch.

Distance Learning May Be Less of a Sprint and More of an Endurance Run

California just announced that all California state universities would be delivering classes online for the fall semester. It is expected that the University of California system may follow suit and that other states, in turn, may follow their lead. As this verdict trickles down, we may find that more K-12 schools (especially middle schools and high schools) will also be put in a position where distance learning becomes the only safe way forward – at least for a while longer.

Another semester of distance learning isn’t necessarily great news for anyone: Teachers have missed engaging with their students; students have missed being with their friends and learning in an environment that supports them; moms and dads were ready for the kids to return to the classroom a few weeks ago.

In This Together

For more than two months, we’ve been sharing our thoughts about surviving the pandemic, providing you with tools and resources that make it easier to engage with your students from a distance. We even shared an inspiring  glimpse inside the world of one teacher who is rocking distance learning like she was born for it. But when we say we’re in this together, it’s not just lip service. We are here – whether it’s for a month or for six – to help support teachers, students, and parents through this longer-than-expected effort.

What You Can Expect from Lumen™ Touch

We have been working diligently to make sure the teachers and districts who use our Bright Learning™ solution have everything they need – including tech support – so that they can effectively use this powerful edtech to deliver instruction, manage grading and assessment, and engage with their students. Whether you’re working from home or heading back to school, we will continue to roll out updates based on the feedback we’ve received, to give you the functionality you need.

Video Software Integration that Meets Compliance Requirements

In the next few weeks, you’ll learn more about our latest effort to support teachers, students, and families. We are in the process of rolling out a video software platform for more interactive and dynamic communication between teachers and students. This integrated platform will also allow school administrators to better communicate with families, nurses to arrange a school telemedicine system, and special ed teachers to support their students remotely, as well as a variety of other applications. Unlike the risks with Zoom and Skype, this platform offers the necessary security required to maintain compliance with FERPA and HIPPA laws.

Visionary Look at the Future of Education

We are focusing on the new future of schools. In the coming weeks, we’ll begin sharing insight, from a national perspective, on what schools can look like in the future. It’s hard right now, but there is a great deal of opportunity for meaningful and significant change. And Lumen Touch is here to help ensure that schools are supported. Our team will be available to help you navigate any technology challenge you have, whether it’s using the software or experiencing issues with infrastructure.

Let us help you keep smiling and find hope and joy in every day. Here are some favorite stories from this week:

  • Students from the Class of 2020, most of whom are not having typical graduation ceremonies,were given a very special graduation celebration.
  • An Australian design company has created a maze for parks so that people can exercise, maintain social distance, and still get out of the house.
  • As farmers struggle, Kroger stepped in and bought 50,000 gallons of milk and donated it to local food banks.

Stay home, stay safe, stay strong. We’re here for you – even if you don’t know where your here will be yet.