The education industry is undergoing a technological revolution. The advent of new technologies offers almost limitless scope for growth and development in schools and learning opportunities, but it also brings about a whole host of new challenges for education professionals to overcome. Teachers and IT administrators need to find the right balance in terms of keeping students safe from inappropriate online content or unnecessary distractions, while also allowing them to enjoy all of the unique benefits of the internet. Add to that a new emphasis on safe and effective remote learning, and schools have more challenges than ever.
Enter Lightspeed Systems—an industry leader making use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop a suite of tools for IT to make students—at schools or remote—safer and more effective when using the internet. Since 1999, the company has been serving schools in a variety of ways, offering a range of products and services to block inappropriate sites and even alert teachers to potentially harmful student behavior. Exclusively catering to the education industry, Lightspeed Systems partners with schools to make learning safe, managed, and mobile.
At the core of its Relay Filter solution, Lightspeed Systems leverages powerful artificial intelligence (AI)to analyze the content of webpages and essentially categorize the internet, segmenting sites and pages into categories that schools can block or allow depending on their needs. Through this, the system can then restrict access to inappropriate, distracting, or radicalized content. For instance, when it comes to accessing YouTube for learning videos, teachers and IT administrators are under constant pressure to ensure that students are making the right use of videos. Amy Bennett, the Vice President of Marketing at Lightspeed Systems, explains, “We are using AI to assess the content of the videos so that educators and IT directors can rest assured that only educational videos are available to students and not worry about the inappropriate or distracting ones.”
The second equally significant aspect of the company's solution encompasses student safety, but on a deeper level. Amy emphasizes that today, with a limited number of counselors and class sizes going up to 30 or 40 students, it can be almost impossible for teachers to really know what students are going through.
She mentions, "With a strikingly low ratio of guidance counselors to students, it is difficult to understand the emotional and mental state of each student." Fortunately, Lightspeed Systems has a solution.
Through the use of the 'Safety Check' feature of the company’s platform, students' online activity (while using search, emails, online docs, social media, or any other site) can be monitored. Real-time alerts notify designated personnel if students display any signs of potentially violent behavior, to themselves or others. With Lightspeed Systems, schools can uncover early warning signs and spot concerning patterns to curb harmful behaviors and proactively address them, saving precious lives in the process.
The company's VP of Product & Development, Carson McMillan, believes that Lightspeed Systems’ extensive experience in AI places the company in a strong position moving forward. He states, "With machine learning and AI, the more data points you have, the smarter the AI will be. Having aggregated student data for more than 20 years, Lightspeed Systems’ AI is one of the smartest, fastest, and most efficient in the entire industry."
All of these efforts to protect student safety are as important when students are learning off the school campus, in remote and distance learning scenarios, as they are on campus. AI to protect students in real-time and report activities back to school personnel makes use of school technology safer and more effective, wherever it is being used.
Steering ahead in full steam, Lightspeed Systems plans to continue investing in both safety and data analytics, hoping to expand its data points and utilizing them to help schools make the best decisions for students and teachers alike. With student safety continuing to be a major issue as the internet expands and evolves further, the company's commitment to innovation will bring forth even more dynamic solutions in the future. Lightspeed Systems is all set to lead the charge in the field of educational technology for years to come.