June 29, 2016

How to use Ditto to Connect to a Computer Running Reflector 2

Ditto and Reflector 2Ditto is a versatile screen-sharing solution. It allows anyone to easily share their computer screen to a display connected to an Apple TV, Chromecast or any computer equipped with our Reflector 2 software.

Conference room displays and TVs are commonly powered by a computer so presenters can incorporate software for note taking and online conferencing. If that computer is also equipped with Reflector 2—a software that receives AirPlay and Google Cast connections—then others in the room can wirelessly share their iOS, Android, Chromebook, Mac and PC screens to the conference room display.

So how does our Ditto Mac/PC screen-sharing service work with our Reflector AirPlay/Google Cast receiving app? It’s surprisingly simple!

The process is similar to setting up a Chromecast or Apple TV. To begin, be sure you’ve downloaded and installed the Reflector 2 screen-mirroring receiver on your Mac or PC.

Once installed, open Reflector 2. The computer will begin broadcasting as an available receiver for iOS and Android devices. Our Ditto configuration utility will also see Reflector 2 running on the computer and allow it as a supported receiver. The configuration utility is the easiest and best way to add a Reflector-enabled computer to your Ditto account. Alternatively, you can manually add the computer to your Ditto account by entering the receiving computer’s information in the Ditto account portal.

Once the computer running Reflector 2 is added to Ditto, anyone with a computer and an internet connection can wirelessly share their screen to the Reflector-enabled computer. All they have to do is visit connect.goditto.com and enter the Reflector-enabled computer’s unique Ditto code.

June 28, 2016

The Importance of Being a Connected Educator


Any educator knows that being connected in the EdTech community takes hard work, dedication, commitment and most of all, passion. Attending conferences, engaging in countless Twitter chats and staying up-to-date with a network of educators and influencers can seem like a daunting task, but the outcome outweighs the work by a landslide.

Here are three important traits of a connected educator:

  • Learning from like-minded educators
  • Connecting with EdTech companies (we might know of one in particular)
  • Taking advantage of professional development opportunities

Learning from like-minded educators

Who knows what’s happening in the education industry better than teachers themselves? Learning from other educators is a constructive way to discuss success stories with one another, relate to their challenges, share ideas and realize that you are not alone in this journey. Tips and tricks from other educators creates value in that you hear first-hand how a new app, technology or teaching environment works. You can apply what you learn to your own classroom.

Connecting with EdTech Companies

Collaborating with an EdTech company, like Squirrels, can provide educators with many new opportunities. Most EdTech companies offer programs to provide education leaders with resources that encourage and support professional development. We are lucky enough to have our own group of connected leaders called Alpha Squirrels who are experts and advocates for our screen-mirroring technology. We provide them with the funds, opportunities and connections that will transform their profession and in return, they create discussion about their experiences with our products and how they can be used with technology that’s already in the classroom.

Taking advantage of professional development opportunities

While you’re busy learning from educators and working closely with EdTech companies, it’s important to do it in an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration. Creating an environment for teachers to learn from other teachers while discussing their favorite EdTech solutions is important. That’s why we are big supporters of Edcamps. This year alone we have sponsored 17 Edcamps all across the U.S. More recently, we sponsored Edcamp Magic, which was attended by four of our Alpha Squirrels. Most of them have never had a chance to meet in person, and this event allowed them the opportunity to do so. Each of those Alpha Squirrels came out of that experience with deeper roots in the EdTech community, ideas and friendships with colleagues they can treasure for years to come.


June 22, 2016

Meet The Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts at ISTE 2016!

The Squirrels team will be on display and more accessible than ever at ISTE 2016 in Denver next week. That’s good news because we have so much to show you this year. Stop by booth #2945 for lessons, product demos, swag and enjoyable conversation with a bunch of friendly people from the Midwest.

One of our most exciting and rewarding projects this year was our Alpha Squirrels program. We recruited prominent educators and EdTech experts into our Alpha Squirrels program to help spread the word about our classroom technology, provide us with insight and much, much more. The best news? Many of these Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts will be speaking at ISTE! We are featured in more than 30 presentations! See? It’ll be hard to miss us.

Below is a complete list of all the ISTE sessions that feature our Alpha Squirrels or presenters using and discussing our popular classroom screen-mirroring apps such as Reflector, AirParrot and Ditto.

*Denotes all Alpha Squirrel presentations.

ISTE Sessions

Saturday, June 25
8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Jennifer Williams and *Katrina Keene
Crafting the Next-Generation Classroom: An Immersive Experience with Nearpod

2:00-6:00 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Fourth Annual Mobile Learning Network Mobile MegaShare Preconference

Sunday, June 26
8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Jennifer Williams
Design Learning Spaces for Literacy, Technology and Collaboration

1:30-2:45 p.m.
*Bill Selak
ISTE Ignite Sessions: I Think I Figured Out How to Use Snapchat as an Educator

7:00-8:30 pm
Lisa Butler
Refreshing Geography So Students Crave World Knowledge

Monday, June 27
8:00-10:00 a.m.
*Monica Burns
What’s New in Scannables? Exploring Purposeful Practices

Patricia Cooper, Matthew Fox and Kirstin Riddick
App Smash Pub Part 2.0: The After Party

8:30-9:30 a.m.
*Leslie Fisher
Apps, Tools, Tips + Gadgets You Can Take to Class Tomorrow

*Katrina Keene
Problem-Based Learning Extravaganza

*Kelly Rexine
Digital Dumpster Diving

Tanya Avrith and Kim Meldrum
Rethinking the Chromebook as a Creation Device

8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Phil Hintz
The Gamification of Technology Professional Development

11 am-12:00 p.m.
*Kathy Schrock
Activator and Summarizer Strategies for Quick Formative Assessment

Megan Ryder
Life as a Coach: Build Relationships and Support Growth in 1:1 Environments

2:30-3:30 p.m.
*Monica Burns
Apple Watch Out! Transforming Teaching and Learning

4:15-5:15 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Build a BYOT Plan for Your School

*Bill Selak

4:30-7:30 p.m.
*Rob Zdrojewski
The Art of Screencasting: Flipped “Teacher-On-Demand” is Now Possible!

5:30-6:45 p.m.
*Seth Dimbert & *Rebecca Simon
Jewish Educators Network

Tuesday, June 28
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
*Angie Kalthoff
Kids Can Code

10:45-11:45 a.m.
*David Lockhart
If You Wanna Flip It, TouchCast It

12:30-1:30 p.m.
*Bill Selak
Ready, Set, Make

*Leslie Fisher
The Audience Participation Based Group Smackdown/Hug-In

2:15-3:15 p.m.
*Jennifer Williams
Combine Digital Literacy Tools for Connection and Collaboration

4:00-5:00 p.m.
*Monica Burns
ISTE Ignite Session: From Basic to ACES

4:00-6:00 p.m.
*Chris Turnbull
30+ Ways to Use Your iPad for Personalized Professional Development

*Jennifer Williams:
Trending the Positive: Using Technology to Celebrate the Good in Education

Greta Flinn, Cindy Hughes, Lindsey Insalaco, Debbie Leonard, Kitty Tripp
Coaches Choice Awards: K12 Showcase of Student Work, Lessons and Tools

4:30-7:30 p.m.
*Seth Dimbert
Getting It All Done on a Chromebook

5:30-7:00 p.m.
Emily Hendricks
Own Your Tech! Technology Management in Today’s Classroom

Wednesday, June 29
8:30-9:30 a.m.
*Kathy Schrock
Sketchnoting in Education: The Best Practices, Benefits, and How-To’s of Sketchnoting

10:15-11:15 a.m.
Nikki Vradenburg
Kindertech: Tools for Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom

11:45 am-12:45 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Augmented Reality: Engaging a Minecraft Generation

1:15-2:15 p.m.
*Leslie Fisher
Return of the Valley of the Gadgets!

Squirrels Booth Sessions
We also have a number of Alpha Squirrel presentations happening right at our booth (#2945). Check the times and stop by to learn from some of the brightest minds in education technology.

Monday, June 27
10:15 a.m.
Natasha Rachell
Digital Learning Specialist, Atlanta Public Schools

11:00 a.m.
Toby Price
Principal, Richland Upper Elementary School

12:15 p.m.
Angie Kalthoff
Technology Integrationist at St. Cloud Area School District

2:00 p.m.
Bill Selak
Director of Technology, Hillbrook School

2:45 p.m.
Laurie Green
Technology Resource Coordinator, Buckeye Local Schools

3:30 p.m.
David Lockhart
Education Technology Specialist at Kennesaw State University iTeach Center

4:15 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
Director, lesliefisher.com

Tuesday, June 28
10:00 a.m.
Leslie Fisher
Director, lesliefisher.com

11:00 a.m.
Kelly Dumont
Elementary EdTech Team Lead at Canyons School District

1:00 p.m.
Dino Kiveric
Teacher, Hancock Middle School

2:00 p.m.
Chris Turnbull
Personalized Learning Specialist at Saint Paul Public Schools

3:00 p.m.
Jen Lotze
Instructional Technology Coordinator at Hudson School District

4:00 p.m.
Rebecca Simon
Director of Educational Technology at Solomon Schechter School of Queens

Wednesday, June 29
10:15 a.m.
Josh Murdock
Instructional Designer/Developer and Associate Professor, Valencia College, Florida

How to Configure a Chromecast Background to Display Ditto Connection Details

When not in use, Chromecast displays a slideshow of seemingly random photos from around the world. What few people know is that the ability to change these photos does exist deep within the Chromecast settings.

If you’re using a Chromecast in a Ditto-enabled room, it’s rather handy to automatically display Ditto connection instructions on the Chromecast itself. To connect to Ditto, users only need to read the on-screen instructions.

Ditto with Chromecast

To begin, you’ll need to download the background image for the room you’re setting up.

Obtain your Ditto connection instructions background image:

  1. Visit the Rooms section of your Ditto account.
  2. Select the desired room.
  3. Click the “Room Background” button.
  4. Save the image that appears. This image explains how users can connect to the display wirelessly. 

Once you’ve saved the image, you’ll need to add it to Google Photos.

Create two new Google Photo albums for each Chromecast you would like to set up:

  1. Visit the Google Photos website.
  2. Upload your room background image.
  3. Add the previously saved room image to two new albums. Create two albums that are named similarly to the room you’re setting up. Two albums containing only the same Ditto background image are required for each room you would like to configure. The albums must be empty of everything but this image. You need two photo albums because Chromecast automatically rotates between albums. If you don’t have these two albums selected, Chromecast will rotate between the other preset Google Photo albums.

Now that the room background is in albums, you can tell the Chromecast to only use a specified image for a screensaver or background.

Set a new background image for use with Chromecast and Ditto:

  1. First, you’ll need to download the Google Cast application on a phone or tablet. The app is available for Android and iOS, and it lets you configure Chromecast options including the background and screensaver for your Chromecast.
  2. Once downloaded, connect your phone or tablet to the same Wifi as the Chromecast you would like to configure.
  3. The Google Cast app on iOS and Android works nearly the same for both platforms. Tap the “Devices” tab to be presented with a list of available devices on your network.
  4. At the top right of the Chromecast you would like to configure, tap the three vertical dots to open a menu.Step1
  5. Select “Backdrop Settings”.Step2
  6. Tap the Google Photos option.
  7. Enable this option.Step3
  8. Select the image albums that match the room you’re setting up.Step4
  9. Be sure to disable other Backdrop options like “Art” and “Earth and Space”.

That’s it! The background image will now appear on the Chromecast you’re setting up. Perform these same steps for each Chromecast you would like to setup.

You can learn more about Ditto or begin your 30-day free Ditto trial at www.goditto.com.

Related: Discover a little-known Apple TV feature that will make connecting to Ditto even easier.

June 20, 2016

Configuring Apple TV for Conference Room Display Mode with Ditto

A little-known feature of Apple TV is quite handy when paired with Ditto.

Conference Room Display mode allows administrators to display instructions for connecting to the TV. In the case of Ditto, this feature means there’s no physical printout required, and users will immediately know how to wirelessly connect their Mac or PC screen to the Apple TV.

Apple RTV Conference Room Display with Ditto

Enabling Conference Room Display mode is simple:

  1. Make sure your Apple TV is completely up to date.
  2. Go to Settings -> AirPlay -> Conference Room Display
  3. Select On

That’s it! Once you’ve enabled this setting, you’ll need to follow a few more steps to completely set up this feature for use with Ditto.

To configure Conference Room Display mode for use with Ditto, follow these simple steps:

  1. On your Apple TV, go to Settings -> AirPlay -> Conference Room Display -> Custom Message
  2. Enter message text that explains how a user connects their PC or Mac display with Ditto. You will need the Ditto room code for this.
    • We recommend the following text: ”Visit connect.goditto.com and enter [DITTO ROOM CODE] to connect your Mac or PC screen to this display.”

When the Apple TV is turned on or woken from sleep, the custom message text is displayed.