Keirsten Heckel

Recent Posts

August 31, 2016

Attention Educators! It’s Time to Vote for Alpha Squirrels at SXSW!

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The seventh annual SXSWedu will return to Austin, Texas, in March 2017. SXSWedu showcases four days of compelling sessions, in-depth workshops, engaging learning experiences, mentorship, film screenings, startup events and much more!

We are lucky enough to have three Alpha Squirrels in the running to be speakers at this prestigious conference. Speakers for these programs are selected in part by PanelPicker - a two-step, crowd-sourced platform that enables the community to have a voice in the programming selected for SXSWedu 2017.

SXSWedu empowers the community to use this platform to submit innovative session ideas by filling out a digital proposal. The public is then given the opportunity to provide feedback and vote on the collected submissions.

The following Alpha Squirrel EdTech Experts have submitted proposals to present at SXSWedu:

Richard Anderson (@techatwis) – Curriculum Mapping with Google Apps for Education

Katrina Keene (@techintechgal) – Adapting a Learn – Play Balance in Classrooms

Jennifer Williams (@JenWilliamsEdu) – Conversations on Diversity with Young Learners

So, what does this mean for you?

You can vote for our Alpha Squirrels by clicking on their respective session links above. Voting ends this Friday, September 2. Every vote counts! Help our Alpha Squirrels get nominated for an experience of a lifetime!

August 23, 2016

Evolution of Education Technology

This is a guest post by educational technology consultant Janet Corder. She is an organizer for EdcampIT, one of the many Edcamps we sponsored throughout the year. Janet has witnessed the evolution of education technology through her 30+ years of experience as a classroom teacher and instructional technology coordinator in Texas public schools and as adjunct education professor at a local university.

Janet specializes in technology integration, BYOD implementations, interactive whiteboard technologies and mobile learning devices. Her passion for helping educators successfully integrate technology into their curriculum has provided her with many opportunities to present at national, state and local conferences, and in school districts throughout the United States.
Janet

The beginning of a new school year always brings mixed emotions for students as well as educators. For me, the start of a new year was my favorite time of the year. Even though I am no longer in the classroom, I still get excited to see the school supply sales and observe parents and students frantically searching for just the right binder and backpack. The beginning of the year also brings back a flood of memories as I reminisce about the technological advances that have occurred since the first computers made their way into my classroom.

As I reflect on where technology has evolved during my years as an educator, I am constantly amazed at what I have seen since I first taught middle school Computer Literacy in 1984. In fact, I actually taught the course for two years without a computer or a textbook! When a few Apple IIe computers were finally delivered to my classroom, the students and I could make those “For…Next loops” and “Goto statements” actually create something on the computer screen. We could even print out the program on our dot-matrix printer and save the file to a floppy diskette!

Just a few years later, my classes were introduced to the amazing World Wide Web. We could communicate with students from around the world and find out where the latest earthquake was located. The only problem was that the school had one Internet connection and it was in the small conference room located in the library. I couldn't even fit an entire class in the room at one time. Oh, and don’t forget that it was a dial-up connection that took forever to actually work!

Those were exciting times, but I don’t believe that anything can compare to the enthusiasm and engagement students experience with technology in 2016. The looks on their faces when I take them on a virtual field trip to explore a coral reef or facilitate an online game that allows them to review their curriculum in a collaborative environment says it all.

I’ve seen the transformation of classrooms as schools have installed interactive whiteboards, purchased carts of laptops and mobile devices and allowed students to use their smartphones or other devices to enhance their learning experience. We live in an unbelievable time of transformation in our classrooms, and I believe that technology is the key to making our classrooms an exciting, engaging place to prepare our students to be successful.

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

August 19, 2016

Main Street Festival 2016

Just as summer is winding down and kids are getting ready to go back to school there is always one last hurrah for the North Canton community—the North Canton Main Street Festival! The Squirrels team is honored to be an anchor sponsor for the second year in a row!

In contrast to our presence at the 2015 North Canton Main Street Festival, this year the Squirrels team will have a fun, interactive and engaging play area for members of the community to spend time with their family. We’re hosting family-friendly games including corn hole, potato sack races and the popular summer game, Kanjam.

As an added bonus, anyone who participates in our games will receive a pair of custom Squirrels sunglasses. Cool, right? Plus, incase anyone forgets to bring a pair of shades for the event, we’ve got them covered!

If you’re in North Canton this weekend, stop by Bitzer Park from 10am-6pm Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday, say “Hi” and play a game or two with us! We play a mean game of corn hole.

We’re looking forward to meeting the members of the community we’re proud to be a part of. See you there!

August 2, 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Edcamp Roundup – July 2016

Summer 2016 has been one of the busiest seasons to date for us. Between launching a new product, attending the largest EdTech conference in the country and developing another new product that’s due fall 2016, we have remained committed to supporting educators. As we start to round out the warmer months in Ohio, it’s time to reflect on the Edcamps that made this summer one to remember.

  • Edcamp IT – Fort Worth, Texas
  • Edcamp Leadership Michigan – Jackson, Mich.
  • Edcamp Leadership Ohio – Gahanna, Ohio
  • Edcamp Literacy – Boston, Mass.
  • Edcamp PBL Ohio – Columbus, Ohio

We were honored to sponsor these events and hope our contributions helped exceed attendees’ expectations. Our donations went toward supplies, door prizes and most importantly, sandwiches (YUM)! We worked with five phenomenal Edcamp organizers who are passionate about what they do and want to share that passion with educators around them. Seeing that drive from these individuals inspires us every day to make software that promotes creativity and a fun learning environment.

Edcamp Prizes

Each of these Edcamps showed us what educators are talking about and what ideas are important to them. Here are just a few of the many topics educators discussed during the month of July:

  • iPad apps
  • Chromebooks and Google Classroom
  • New tech tools
  • Planning Edcamps
  • Becoming a connected educator
  • Formative assessment using technology

July was a great month of professional development for 550+ Edcamp attendees! The best part? This year isn't over yet! We'll be updating you about more Squirrels Edcamp sponsorships in the coming months.

EdCamp

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

July 28, 2016

Get ready, higher education! Here we come!

Squirrels Campus Tech 2016

Next week, two members of the Squirrels team will travel to Boston, Mass., to attend the 23rd Annual Educational Technology Conference (Campus Technology 2016). Thought leaders and industry experts will explore innovative EdTech solutions and develop strategies fit for a campus setting.

Our Reflector, AirParrot and Ditto screen-sharing solutions are a hit in K-12 schools all across the world. It’s time to bring those collaboration tools to colleges and universities.

Exhibiting at this higher education conference will allow Squirrels to explore a side of the education industry that we have not had much exposure to. Connecting with 300+ colleges and universities represented at this must-attend event will show us how the needs of educators change from K-12 to higher education. Plus, we will be demoing our most recent screen-sharing solution, Ditto!

Ditto is a smart screen-sharing service that allows anyone in a room to immediately share their computer screen to an Apple TV, Chromecast or Reflector-enabled display by visiting connect.goditto.com and entering the room’s unique code.

If you made plans to attend Campus Technology 2016, you must stop by the Squirrels booth (booth #400) to see how we make sharing content in the classroom easy.

Here is a peek at the Campus Technology 2016 speakers and exhibitors:

Speakers

  • Sadik Al-Abdulla – Director of Security Solutions, CDW
  • Sarah Horn – Vice President of Retention Services, Helix Education
  • Jill Albin-Hill – Vice President for Information Technology and CIO, Dominican University
  • Matthew Karlyn – Partner and Co-Chair of Technology Industry Team, Foley & Lardner LLP

Exhibitors

  • Schoology
  • Freshdesk, Inc.
  • HoverCam
  • Panasonic
  • Sony Electronics

So, stop by booth 400, say "hi" and let us open you up to the world of possibilities that our screen-mirroring solutions create!

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!