September 10, 2018

Squirrels Turns 10! 🎉

10 Birthday Candles

Squirrels is now 10 years old!

In the business world, that’s pretty darn successful – and in the technology world, that’s ancient.

We’re celebrating the entire month of September with #SquirrelsTurns10 around the web, so look out for more festivities here on our blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!

A lot happens in 10 years. Squirrels has been at the forefront of creating digital spaces to share ideas and information from our humble beginnings as a basement startup in 2008.

ConfettiOur community

The community support of our products is inspiring, from the teachers and students who use our classroom tech daily, to businesses presenting their screens in meetings around the world, to the blockchain champions who mine efficiently, to the media consumers who kick back, relax and enjoy content across any device.

Our team

But the heart and soul of our company is our team. A company is only as successful as the people who make it that way. Squirrels is a group of ridiculously talented people who give it their all, take care of each other and build amazing things. Double-digit years in business wouldn’t be possible without them – and they’ll take us far into the future.

Squirrels president and co-founder David Stanfill said it best:

“Squirrels has always been about our team. We have a collective of people who embrace our mission and each other’s talents. Not only do they champion our amazing team culture, they can create just about anything.”

Quotation

David Stanfill
Squirrels President and Co-founder

Squirrels company photoOur Alpha Squirrels

Along the way, we’ve been inspired by our amazing scurry of Alpha Squirrels, experts in EdTech who love what we do and tell the world. They’re training a generation and shaping the way education surges into the future. Thank you, Alphas, for being there for our schools, our students and for us.

Birthday gift

After a decade, this much is clear: It’s in our DNA to always be rolling up our sleeves, diving into the next wave of technology and creating the future.

Look out, world. Double digits are just the start.

Birthday cake with acorns underneath 

 

August 15, 2018

Vote for Squirrels to Present at SXSW

Squirrels at SXSW EDU 19 Blog

Team Squirrels is going south … South by Southwest, that is. We have the chance to present at SXSW EDU in 2019! Squirrels Director of Professional Development Becky Shiring, Program Director Emily Carle Hafer and Alpha Squirrel Travis Lape have all submitted proposals to present at this groundbreaking conference on the future of education.

But we need your help. Proposals to present are accepted if the public votes them in, now through Aug. 30, 2018. You can help Squirrels present at SXSW EDU by voting for both sessions below.

Vote for Pizza, Projects, People.

Vote for It's Gettin' HOTT in Here.

What’s South by Southwest EDU? We’ll let them tell you:

The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a community of optimistic, forward-thinking, purpose-driven stakeholders with a shared goal of impacting the future of teaching and learning.

Conference Date: March 4-7, 2019

Location: Austin, Texas

If you’re on the bleeding edge of education and know where it’s headed in the future, you’re at SXSW EDU.

Help Us Get There.

Here’s what you can do to get us to SXSW EDU 2019:

Vote!

Vote for both of our Squirrels presentations here: sqrls.co/culture and sqrls.co/hott.

Share!

Tell your friends, social media followers and PLN all about this opportunity to see Team Squirrels at SXSW EDU. We’ve championed education from the start, and we want the world to know how culture, technology and forward-thinking people can improve education for good.

Here’s an example post. Copy and paste this into your own Twitter feed or write your own social media post:

Team @Squirrels is all about the future of EdTech and they’ve got the chance to present @SXSWEDU. I voted to get them there. Now it’s your turn to help! Go here to vote! sqrls.co/culture

So what are we presenting? Here are the details:

Pizza, Projects, People: Creating a Startup Culture in Education

Presented by Becky Shiring, Emily Carle Hafer and Travis Lape

Schools don't have to be stuck in the past. Learn how startup culture can boost creativity, enhance communication and create collaborative environments in your classroom.

It's Gettin' HOTT in Here: Building Higher Order Thinking Skills with Tech

Presented by Becky Shiring

Preparing students for the future means they must be challenged with higher-order thinking tasks. Learn how to design cognitively challenging lessons that utilize technology to promote deep, meaningful learning in the classroom.

Session proposals are selected to officially present if they receive enough votes from the public (that’s you) and are approved by the SXSW EDU Advisory Board and Staff. So get out there and vote!

TL;DR

View our session proposals here and here, create an account and vote to see us at SXSW EDU during public voting through August 30, 2018.

Here’s to advancing the future of education with technology. Hope to see you there – and thank you!

August 7, 2018

Why I Code Like a Girl

Why I Code Like a Girl from Alpha Squirrel Velvet Holmes

Today’s guest post is written by Velvet Holmes, Information Technology Literacy Teacher for Oregon School District in the greater Madison, Wisconsin, area. Velvet works with students and staff to integrate technology efficiently into their curriculum and learning journey. She is also a member of our Alpha Squirrels program.

I don’t teach statistics, but there’s a stat from Girls Who Code that always catches my attention:

Only one in five computer science graduates are women.

That’s a problem.

The tech industry is exploding, but too often girls are left behind. Something needs to change, and it’s going to start with me.

I’ve worked to create several programs in my school district that empower girls socially, academically and vocationally. I hope my story can inspire other teachers, educators and business leaders to create environments where women are included and inspired to contribute to the tech industry.

Words I live by:

According to a study by Google, encouragement from adults and peers is the number one contributor to a teen girl’s decision to pursue computer science.

It’s no question that social encouragement and modelling positive behavior and are huge when guiding young women, especially when it comes to career choices. So how do I do it?

By coding like a girl.

In 2016, the Code Like a Girl party made its debut in our district. It’s an afternoon of celebrating women in computer science. Inspired by Made with Code, a site created by Google, Code Like a Girl teaches our district’s young women in grades one through eight how to code during workshops and collaborative sessions.

Picture3

We’ve met speakers from Google and Epic Systems, been inspired by stories of real women working in the software industry, crafted binary necklaces and made many friends. It’s truly important and inspiring to see our girls learning vital skills in an environment where they’re interacting positively with each other and having fun.

At Code Like a Girl, our young women have:

  • Met special guests from Google, Epic Systems and Filament Games
  • Learned how to use HTML to create webpages
  • Explored how to prepare for jobs in the computer software industry

Student-coded website

We’re in the process of building a middle school program with Girls Who Code, a national organization that empowers young women to pursue computer science and engineering.

While creating these initiatives in our district, I’ve learned some key takeaways:

Be present.

Girls need the encouragement and presence of female role models that work in the computing field. It’s the most effective way we’ll get more women interested in tech jobs.

Trying is more important than succeeding.

The learning process is benefited most when students show up and try. It’s not about the end result at the finish line. The real benefit is if they learned a programming language or grew during the process.

Build your program from the bottom up.

We started small and used the devices available to us. We are persistent in our mission to get more girls excited about computer science and all the doors it can open for them.

Don’t give up!

I am always learning new things myself while teaching, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I may not be an expert coder, but I can encourage students and be a confident role model for problem solving and perseverance.

That may be the most important way to code like a girl.

July 18, 2018

Introducing the Next Class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts

AS-Logo-1We’re proud to introduce our next class of Alpha Squirrels. They’re modern educators. They’re EdTech experts. They’re classroom innovators. Now, they’re Alpha Squirrels.

These EdTech professionals lead presentations and workshops around the globe, advocating for Squirrels and sharing their passion and resources for modern education. We saw many of them at ISTE this year, and you can find this growing community discussing and sharing ideas every month on our Twitter #SquirrelsChat.

The 11 newest members of our Alpha Squirrels program come from five states in the U.S., joining the ranks of more than 125 educators around the world.

Meet the Alpha Squirrels

In addition to teachers, this is a class full of technology integrationists and digital learning specialists. Meet our newest members:

  • Juli Gilbert – Instructional Technology Specialist, Georgia
  • Wanda Hanley – Instructional Technology Facilitator, North Carolina
  • John Kramer – Technology Integration Specialist, Ohio
  • Aaron Murdock – Digital Learning Specialist, North Carolina
  • Benton Palmer – Instructional Technology Specialist, Georgia
  • Valtika Rhodes – Elementary Technology Specialist, Georgia
  • Adam Rogers – CTE Technology Coordinator, Oklahoma
  • Ryan Schwartz – Teacher, California
  • Brittany Ware – Instructional Technology Specialist, Georgia
  • Marcus Williams – Teacher/Consultant, Georgia
  • Katy Wyborny – Digital Learning Specialist, North Carolina

See our full list of certified Alpha Squirrels on our website.

Hear it from them

Here’s what a few of our newest Alpha Squirrels have to say:

 
“I want to be able to share and teach other teachers as an Alpha Squirrel. I want to learn from other educators and students.”

QuoteAdam Rogers
CTE Technology Coordinator


 “Squirrels is a leading educational technology company. They really listen to teachers and educators in order to improve their products.”

QuoteKaty Wyborny
Digital Learning Specialist

 
“With our ever-changing environment, having a community of like-minded educators gives us a platform to communicate, connect and learn from each other.”

QuoteWanda Hanley
Instructional Technology Facilitator


Congratulations, Alpha Squirrels!
We have big things on the horizon: Squirrels swag, product news, EdTech conferences and expos, just to name a few. Thanks for cultivating innovation and technology in the classroom and in our schools.

AS-Badge

The selection process for our Fall 2018 class of Alpha Squirrels ends Sept. 30. Apply today at alpha.airsquirrels.com.

Are you a teacher or EdTech professional interested in becoming a certified Alpha Squirrel? Contact Emily Carle Hafer at alpha@airsquirrels.com for information about our next class of Alpha Squirrels.

July 16, 2018

Summer Reading Recommendations from Squirrels

Whether you choose to do your reading poolside or in a frosty air-conditioned room, lazy summer days are the perfect time for catching up on some reading. Once again, the Squirrels team has compiled a list of its favorite summer reading recommendations. This eclectic list of books (and podcasts) is sure to have something for everyone.

Happy Summer!

Summer Reading Twitter Cards

Becky Shiring, Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning

“A Secret Gift: How One Man's Kindness and a Trove of Letters Revealed the Hidden History of the Great Depression” by Ted Gup

This book shows how the smallest acts can counteract some of the greatest problems. This true story takes place in Canton, Ohio, and includes a ton of historical information about my new town!


Emily Carle Hafer, Alpha Squirrels Program Manager

“Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling

It's never a bad time to read the Harry Potter series. You can read it in tandem with Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the mobile role-playing game. 

“Tasks Before Apps: Designing Rigorous Learning in a Tech-Rich Classroom” by Monica Burns

Monica creates amazing resources for educators implementing technology in their work. She includes personal experiences from her work in education as well as her travels around the world. This book allows educators to start with a strong foundation and build up to effective technology integration. 

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

A powerful message to provoke meaningful conversations in and out of the classroom. It's been a must-read for over a year now, but this fall you'll see the book come to life as a movie.


Erica Betz, Admin/HR Rep

“Anya's Ghost” by Vera Brosgol

This graphic novel is a sweet and spooky coming-of-age story. I got the digital version and read it on my phone in just a few hours. Great for traveling and car rides!

“The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook for Your Instant Pot” by Kathy Hester

This book is full of really simple, healthy and DELICIOUS recipes. I love the lentils and rice recipe, but there are a variety to try!

“When You Are Engulfed In Flames” by David Sedaris

This collection of essays will have you lost in thought and laughing aloud as you read. Sedaris is famous for witty, dark humor and anecdotes that leave readers wanting more. I loved all his books, but this one is my favorite. Perfect to pick up and read one essay at a time or all in one sitting!


Matt Elsey, Director of Web Technologies

“The World According To Mister Rogers: Important Things To Remember” by Fred Rogers

Few people have the ability to encourage and uplift like Fred Rogers. This book is a great collection of quotes, thoughts and reminders of what's important. It's a quick and easy way to get perspective in your daily life.


Jon Zelasko, Senior Developer

“The Old Man and The Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

Though brief, this book is meant to be consumed leisurely like a fine whiskey. Its plain language disguises deeper meaning that changes over time. And like all classics, it tells a story that somehow captures a moment in time perfectly. I recommend enjoying it by an ocean as a way to escape a world filled with too many distractions.


Mike Bruin, Junior Developer

“Locke And Key, Vol. 1” by Joe Hill

This is a great graphic novel that combines horror, interesting art and a story that you can't help but follow. If you aren't familiar with graphic novels, this is a good one to start!


Jon Bishop, Creative Director of Marketing

“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

A book that'll make you think twice before playing Candy Crush or tuning in to 24-hour news.

“1984: New Classic Edition” by George Orwell

This book is full of eerie correlations to current affairs: demagoguery, authoritarianism, information control, deletion of government records, the list goes on. I deleted my Facebook!


Nate Wendell, ClassHub Support Specialist

“One Second After” by William R. Forstchen

An extremely grim look into life after a catastrophic failure of the power grid. You will cry at several points, but you won't be able to put it down either. 


Christina Lamanna, Implementation Specialist

“Lilac Girls” by Martha Hall Kelly

The book was inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine. The story revolves around three women who experience life in unimaginable ways. It's one of those books you feel bounded with after reading.


Joseph McCulty, Business Analyst

“Frasier: A Cultural History” by Joseph and Kate Darowski

This book provides an excellent overview of the greatest sitcom of all time. Whether you are looking for a guide as you watch Frasier for the first time, or you’ve already watched it in its entirety five-plus times like I have, it offers a lot of great insight.


Alissa McGill, Developer Relations Engineer

“Limited Resources” (Podcast) by Marshall Sutcliffe and Luis Scott-Vargas

I love this podcast because it is the perfect combination of funny and deep strategy for the best trading card game to ever exist - Magic the Gathering.


Alisha Pero, Sales Administrator

“Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where The Hell Are My Keys?” by Billy Crystal

I love hearing about his life. He is hilarious, thoughtful and keeps you engaged throughout the whole book. I like the audible version because he actually reads it himself! Try it. It is fantastic!


Connal Kelly, Account Executive 

“In the Dark” (Podcast) by Madeleine Baran

A true crime podcast about the failures and cover-ups of two county sheriffs' offices. The first season investigates a well-known child abduction case. The second involves a man who has been tried six times for the same crime and has remained in prison for the past 21 years even after winning appeals. So mysterious and engaging!


Aaron Rinier, Director of Support

“They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock'n'roll” by Shep Gordon

Shep Gordon is an amazing storyteller and a very interesting man. Pretty easy, fun read.

 

Those are just a few of our favorites we’re taking to the beach. What are your favorite summer reads? Comment below or tweet us @Squirrels with your own recommended page-turners.

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. We create high-quality, budget-friendly screen mirroring and device management software that’s compatible with today’s most popular devices. To date, our software can be found in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, businesses and homes. Follow our blog for all the latest product updates, Squirrels news and technology insight!