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Lightspeed Product Spotlight: What You May Have Missed While School Was in Session

Having spent this school year working alongside many incredible Lightspeed district leaders, we know that every one of you deserves a moment to recharge. This downturn in activity will be short. Summer break is “crunch time” in the IT world, the time for small and large projects to prepare for the school year ahead.

While you’ve been busy at work supporting staff and students, we’ve been busy listening to feedback, working alongside users and developing our solutions to respond to changing district needs. This post is intended to save you time by providing a recap of the work we’ve done and the work we’re doing to innovate our products. It’s good stuff, so keep on reading.

We also invite you to dig deeper, reach out to your Customer Success Manager or register to attend a live training session – sign up here.

Learn more about key product updates made this school year and items yet to come this summer for Lightspeed Filter, Lightspeed Digital Insight, Lightspeed Classroom Management, Lightspeed Alert, and Lightspeed Mobile Device Manager below.

Lightspeed Filter primary logo

Lightspeed Filter | Key Product Releases

Scheduled Reports: This update saves IT Admins time by providing a list of pre-set set reports that can be automatically sent out to different recipients, while limiting access to student PII.

Additional resources: release notes, filter reporting blog

MacOS Easy Deploy with Certificate Management: This enhancement provides hassle-free MacOS SmartAgent implementation and automate SSL certificate updates in the cloud with MacOS Easy Deploy and Certificate Manager. Now, MacOS certificates are a one-time “set it and forget” trust process, streamlining and reducing deployment steps with updated configuration files.

Additional resources: release notes

AccessScan Chrome Extension: Gives teachers an easy way to validate students can access instructional content, and request student access to blocked resources, in advance of the lesson. Increased visibility for teachers and more efficient troubleshooting for IT is a win-win.

Additional resources: help article, video walkthrough for teachers

AI Management and Insights: Three new AI-related filtering categories provide IT easy flexibility and control to comply with school AI policies. In addition, new reporting functionality enables districts to easily identify both allowed and blocked AI-related search queries and quickly review AI activity by district, group, and user level.

Additional resources: website

Parent Portal YouTube and Social Media Controls: In addition to shutting off the internet for different periods of time and viewing their child’s web activity, with this enhancements parents can allow, restrict, or block after-school access to YouTube and social media, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

Additional Resources: help article and implementation resources, web page

Bypass Protection Initiative (in progress): This multi-layered series of enhancements is designed to strengthen and introduce new defenses to keep up with the latest threats and prevent students from bypassing your web content filter. Included in these updates are the ability to restrict sites that share domains, improved SafeSearch access, DNS Bypass Switch, Top-Level Domain (TLD) filtering, and improved categorization accuracy. While each of these enhancements is specialized in handling specific threats, they work in tandem to provide comprehensive and proactive protection and demonstrate Lightspeed’s forward-thinking approach to online safety.

Additional Resources: blog article

Lightspeed Filter | Coming This Summer

Insights Dashboard: District personnel will gain insights into trends and data based on allowed web traffic, blocked bypass attempts, and blocked security requests. These insights will reveal usage patterns, educational trends, resource allocation, and security risks, improving cross-functional collaboration.

SmartShield IP-Based Policies: Districts using SmartShield on BYOD networks will be able to bringdown VMware costs and increase scalability by applying policies based on IP address range with just one SmartShield instance. This enhancement will also provide an extra layer of security, ahead of user authentication.

Device-based Policies in Lab Mode: Districts will soon be able have a device-based class or filter policy when in a lab environment (i.e. Esports labs, a library setting, etc.) by mapping student emails to device serial numbers on Windows and Mac.

Lightspeed Digital Insights primary logo

Lightspeed Digital Insight | Key Product Releases

Risky App Reporting: Three new filtering categories help quickly identify potentially risky apps in use in a district. Categories include: SDPC agreements in your state, SDPC agreements in any state, and None. This feature makes it easier to mitigate data privacy risks, vet app security, and ensure data privacy policy compliance.

Additional resources: video

Digital Equity Module:

  • Internet Access & User Profile: The Digital Equity module provides real-time data on student device connectivity issues at school or home​. The Internet Access Report provides a district snapshot of students with poor or no internet access when out of school. The User Profile feature surfaces student level details, such as app activity, a detailed connection log, and device information. This feature supports faster, more proactive troubleshooting and ensures each student’s unique situation is accounted for in the troubleshooting process.

Additional Resources: help article, animated video, training video

  • Internet Access Map: This feature shows the geographic locations of student devices with slow speed tests, providing insight into areas with connectivity challenges. This is especially valuable for identifying needs like community center partnerships or other strategic investments.

Additional Resources: help article, training video

Artificial Intelligence (AI) App Tags and Usage Reports: Three new AI-related tags covering over 140 AI apps (and counting) have been added to Lightspeed Digital Insight. With these new tags, schools can monitor and manage AI app usage, and gain insight into the privacy policies of these apps.

Additional Resources: Blog article

Teacher App Request Workflow (cross product integration with Lightspeed Digital Insight): The Teacher App Request Workflow feature seamlessly routes teacher app requests to IT and Curriculum teams. From Lightspeed Classroom Management, teachers can search for approved apps or request new ones. The app directory they see in Classroom flows from their district-approved apps list in Digital Insight. Teacher app requests are then routed to Lightspeed Digital Insight, where IT & Curriculum teams can vet them for privacy policy compliance and instructional alignment, making it easier for teachers to participate in district’s app approval process.

Additional Resources: blog article, help article, video

Lightspeed Digital Insight | Coming This Summer

Role-Based Access: Create custom dashboards and provide appropriate access to stakeholders

Block “Not Approved” Apps: Easily block apps in Lightspeed Filter that were reviewed and marked “Not Approved” in Lightspeed Digital Insight

Identify Apps with Public VPAT: A new “VPAT” tag, supports accessibility compliance with the first inventory of apps with a public VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) available

Lightspeed Classroom Management primary logo

Lightspeed Classroom Management | Key Product Releases

My Classes Homepage Enhancements: The My Classes Homepage enhancement is designed to support more customization and streamlined instruction for teachers. This update allows teachers to organize classes with color-coded tiles, find important details directly in the class tile (including schedule type, teacher initials, and the number of students enrolled), and view how much time remains.

Additional resources: help article

Web Rules UX Enhancements: This update makes it easier to set up, edit, and apply class web rules. As part of this update, co-teachers can view and apply each other’s Web Rule lists from the Web Rules module, improving visibility and collaboration among co-teachers.

Additional resources: help article

Merge Classes: This feature is found on the My Classes homepage and allows teachers to combine multiple classes together. This ability to quickly merge and unmerge classes saves teachers time and enables them to more effectively monitor and manage students attending the same class.

Additional resources: help article, teacher training video, blog article

AI Notify: AI Notify, the first AI usage helper for teachers, empowers teachers with real-time visibility of student AI activity to help introduce and manage AI in the classroom. Teachers receive real-time alerts when students access AI-categorized websites during class, ensuring complete visibility of AI use and prompt response to inappropriate activity.

Additional resources: blog article, help article, teacher training video

Teacher App Request Workflow (integration with Lightspeed Digital Insight): Seamlessly route teacher app requests to IT and Curriculum teams. From Lightspeed Classroom Management, teachers can search for approved apps or request new ones. The app directory they see in Classroom flows from their district-approved apps list in Digital Insight. Teacher app requests are then routed to Lightspeed Digital Insight, where IT & Curriculum teams can vet them for privacy policy compliance and instructional alignment. Not only does this integration making it easier for teachers to participate in their district’s app approval process, but it also improves collaboration across teams and enhances data security.

Additional resources: Blog article, help article, teacher training video

Lightspeed Classroom Management | Coming This Summer

Co-Teaching Assignments: Directly assign co-teachers with control and monitoring permissions in-product

Device-Based Control in Lab Mode: Map student emails to device serial numbers to monitor and manage students in lab-type environments

Lightspeed Alert Primary Logo

Lightspeed Alert | Key Product Releases

Lightspeed Tip Line: The Lightspeed Tip Line allows districts to prevent safety threats and identify students in need by offering a confidential channel for the school community to report concerns. All tips are reviewed, triaged, and processed by LightSpeed Student Safety Specialists, and escalated to district emergency contacts if necessary. Opt-in for customers with human review enabled.

Additional resources: blog article, release notes

Spanish Monitoring: Monitor student online behavior for signs of self-harm, bullying, and violence in both English and Spanish, fully supported by Lightspeed Safety Specialists in both languages. Our AI uses Spanish-trained machine learning models, ensuring high-quality and accurate alerts without translation. Alert text is presented in both languages, allowing staff to review and act without needing to understand Spanish. This enhancement expands protection for students.

Additional resources: blog article, release note

Drugs and Weapons Categories: Drugs and weapons categories added to provide more control to districts of the types of alerts being monitored. Also expands monitoring of concerning digital behavior related to illicit drugs and weapons.

Additional resources: release note

Alert Monitoring Preferences: This update adds the ability to customize alerts based on the level of concern in each category. By setting these controls, districts decide when an alert should be created. For instance, a district might want alerts for any level of violence but only high-concern alerts for explicit content. This customization saves time by filtering out irrelevant cases, allowing districts to focus on their top priorities.

Additional resources: release note

Guardian Information: Student guardian data added to Lightspeed Alert via a new, easy-to-use contact upload process. For many of our customers, having quick and easy access to this information, without having to switch systems, can be crucial when there is a critical alert.

Lightspeed Alert | Coming This Summer

Insights Dashboard: Districts will be able to improve decision-making and cross-functional collaboration with easy access to trends in student safety & wellness based on Alert data for the school year. They’ll also be able to access incident data categorized by the Human Review team based on risk level and category.

Device Location Data: Districts with Lightspeed Filter and Lightspeed Alert subscriptions can now view Chrome device location data directly in the Alert interface or on Human Review escalation emails This will allow safety personnel to enhance escalation and intervention efforts with the most recent device location data.

Lightspeed MDM primary logo

Lightspeed Mobile Device Manager | Key Product Releases & Coming This Summer

User Experience Updates: Continued small improvements in the user interface reduce clutter and make it easier use.

Return to service: This update saves admins time when resetting Mac, iOS devices and readying them for new users. Return to service will allow all reset devices to maintain Wi-Fi access instructions, making it unnecessary to manually connect to the school Wi-Fi network to reprovision the device.

Declarative Management: With this update Lightspeed supports Apple’s declarative management protocol, an exciting step forward to keep devices updated, reduce management and allow you to leverage all available Apple education features.