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.

Bright SPED: Addressing ALL Student Needs During Uncertain Times

We know that many of you are busy making plans to support all students during these uncertain times in our community and want you to know that we are here for you! We have been diligently following both federal and state updates as they are being released and will be making any adjustments to reporting requirements if necessary.

Special Students Still Need Support

Your Bright SPED system will continue to support communication with staff and student teams, progress reports, and IEP forms and documentation. Bright SPED is a multi-user system, allowing your team to work together on an individual record at the same time (but not on the same field).  Lumen Messenger and Case Notes create a space to have constant communication between team members. Since Bright SPED is a true, data driven system, all information is updated in real time. Electronic signatures within the system can be very helpful for the signing of your forms and for your participants meeting virtually.  Access to your site is available on any device, anywhere.

If you would like to know more on how your system can help you during these ‘virtual’ times, please feel free to register for an overview here.

We are also busy making updates to include a Bright SPED Parent Portal for districts to share with their parents.  This will allow for documentation to be shared and signed virtually, to ease virtual meetings and document processing.  Be on the lookout for these features in the next week.

We will be closely monitoring all updates and notifications from both federal and state officials.  If you have any questions or need any assistance, please never hesitate to reach out to us at help@lumentouch.com.

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.

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.