Keirsten Heckel

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July 12, 2016

The Winner of our ISTE 2016 Prize Pack is...

ISTE 2016 registration: $534

Flight to Denver: $476

Three-night stay in a Denver hotel: $900

Returning home with the Squirrels Grand Prize Pack: priceless

As most educators know, spending the week at the largest EdTech conference in the United States can be a pricey expedition, and like a lot of conferences, typical “swag” consists of stickers, pens, drawstring bags and items you’ll never use. But the Squirrels team goes big.

Every exhibitor who attends ISTE has the opportunity to raffle off a large prize of their choosing. Squirrels chose to give away an all-inclusive iPad Pro Prize Pack that contained an iPad Pro, Beats Pill Speaker, Apple Pencil, iPad Pro Smart Cover, Mophie PowerStation Plus charger, licenses of Reflector 2, a $50 iTunes gift card and more. We had the thrill of watching ISTE attendees race to drop off their raffle tickets all week in hopes of being that one lucky winner who got to take it all home.

After hours of anticipation on that final day, exhibit management came to the Squirrels booth to draw our winner: Scott Silver-Bonito. The kicker? It was his first time attending ISTE. Not too shabby, Scott! He’s already put his prize to good use by taking notes with his iPad and Apple Pencil for upcoming professional conferences. We can still remember the look on his face when we handed over our most "prized" possession!

One goal we have for any EdTech conference we attend is to create a receptive and welcoming presence for educators who are unfamiliar with our company and products. We were able to successfully do that in Denver, as Scott was unfamiliar with Squirrels when ISTE 2016 began. After conducting research, speaking with our team and getting a first-hand look at our products, he is excited to incorporate Reflector 2 into his classroom.

Now that the conference is over, Scott plans to reflect (no pun intended) on what he learned while educating his friends and colleagues on the new possibilities Reflector 2 brings to the classroom.

“ISTE was overwhelmingly wonderful,” Scott said. “Connecting with tech-minded teachers across the world was a bonus! I would describe ISTE as a technologically invigorating and rejuvenating experience.”

ISTE is held in a different city each year, rotating between Denver, San Antonio, Atlanta and Philadelphia. San Antonio is up next! You can bet Scott is already planning his trip for 2017, and he even plans to take a few friends with him.

Congratulations again, Scott! Be sure to follow and connect with Scott on Twitter @SrBonito1!

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July 7, 2016

Squirrels Team Attends ISTE 2016 in Denver

Squirrels Balloons.

What a week! The Squirrels crew has returned to our Northeast Ohio headquarters after spending a whirlwind week in the mile-high city of Denver for the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference and Expo. The attendees were exceptional, the exhibitors were impressive and the memories were unforgettable. ISTE 2016 was our best conference yet!

While we push forward to prepare for what’s next, we want to reflect on the incredible experience that was ISTE 2016.

Our 3D-printed, custom-made booth that we designed and built ourselves (if you attended ISTE, we were what many referred to us as the “Tree Booth”) required a lot of man power. That’s why we took 15 of our Squirrels team members to lend a helping hand and join in on this experience. It truly was a team effort, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

One aspect that made this ISTE experience stand out from past years is that we were able to demo and unveil a new product that will be in classrooms all around the world this fall. Showcasing this new product next to our flagship apps, Reflector 2 and AirParrot 2, allowed educators to see how our screen-mirroring solutions have evolved and how they’ll transform the classroom.

We were fortunate to be able to pack so many memories and experiences into three days. Here are some of the highlights.

Alpha Squirrel social
This year we debuted our first-annual Alpha Squirrel social at Pizza Republica. It was rewarding to be in an intimate setting with the educators who love and use our apps. Plus, how could a memory involving pizza not be a fan favorite?

Scavenger hunt

We 3D-printed tiny acorns (of course we had to keep with our forest theme) and hid them around the ISTE expo hall. People who found the acorns could bring them back to the Squirrels booth to redeem for a free license of Reflector 2. Watching attendees scurry to find them was comical, but giving educators the opportunity to try out our popular classroom screen-mirroring solution was what made the scavenger hunt worthwhile.

Squirrels speakers

We were grateful to the EdTech experts who presented at our booth throughout the duration of the conference. Hearing influential tips and tricks from these industry leaders was an added bonus to anyone who stopped by the Squirrels booth. We hope this is something that will continue in San Antonio for ISTE 2017.

The tree

Watching the look of amazement on attendees faces as they approached our booth was a proud moment for us. It was nice to see the attendees appreciate our efforts after months of hard work. That look was even pretty common on all of our faces when we got a moment to marvel at our 18-foot tree. In fact, it even helped us win the award for best booth at ISTE 2016.

Ok, so maybe that’s not a real award, but we like to imagine we would have won it if that type of honor existed.

$1,000+ prize pack

Our iPad prize pack created a buzz around the expo hall, as everyone wanted a chance to win our giveaway that included an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Beats by Dr. Dre speaker, carrying case and a $50 iTunes gift card. Although, there were thousands of entries, there was only one lucky winner.

Building relationships

Meeting and connecting with so many talented and passionate educators from all around the world was the most rewarding part of it all. We don’t often get the chance to engage face-to-face with educators, so when we get an opportunity like ISTE, we gladly seize it.

Thank you to all of the attendees, exhibitors and ISTE staff who helped make this conference one to remember! We are grateful to be part of the EdTech community and lucky to be surrounded by such outstanding professionals.

We hope to see everyone next year in San Antonio for ISTE 2017!

June 28, 2016

The Importance of Being a Connected Educator

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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 8, 2016

Squirrels Creative Team Attends HOW Design Live Conference

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One of the perks of being a member of the Squirrels team is the opportunity for professional development. We believe professional development is vital to the growth of our employees. Plus, it’s always refreshing to meet and learn from new, creative-minded individuals.

Our entire creative team took advantage of this ideology to travel to the hot city of Atlanta to attend the HOW Design Live conference. Yes, the rest of us were jealous.

The HOW Design Live conference is a five-day event that gives attendees the chance to network with industry leaders, join breakout sessions to learn tips/tricks to apply to their work and hear from keynote speakers who challenge conventional thinking.

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The conference thrives on creating positive energy through outside-the-box ideas and events including a 5k run through the streets of Atlanta, a costume-themed closing party and many other opportunities to allow people to explore what they're passionate about.

When reflecting on which sessions were a home run, it was hard for our creative team to pick just one. Here are a few that stood out:

  • David Lesue – 7 Things Every Designer Should Know Before Becoming a Creative Director
  • Stefan Mumaw – Storybuilding: Using Story to Connect Brands with Humans
  • Von Glitschka – Seek, Hustle and Create

These sessions gave our creative team a new outlook on how to manage a team of highly creative people, engage consumers by creating a brand storylines and how to pursue a graphical design career in small, practical steps.

If you’re wondering how to sum up the work done at a creative conference, we’ll leave you with this quote by graphic designer Chip Kidd:

“The design has to work when I leave the room.”

June 3, 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Edcamp Roundup – May 2016

It’s that time again, folks! As we look forward to warm summer days, we reflect on all the wonderful professional development opportunities we helped sponsor at Edcamps in May. Our sponsorships spanned across Maryland (EdcampMayaF), Tennessee (Edcamp GigCity), Illinois (Edcamp Illinois) and finished up in our home state of Ohio (Edcamp Cleveland). Now that’s a recipe for a successful month!

Edcamp Gig City

Since we are not always able to attend Edcamps, we love to follow along with the attendees on social media to see what educators are talking about and, of course, how much fun they are having.

Among other things, our May sponsorship donations provided breakfast, lunch, coffee and even a salad/fruit bar for the Edcamps. We’re hungry just thinking about it!

The following discussion topics produced the most hype in May:

  • Blended learning
  • Google Classroom
  • Tech coaching
  • Tech to support reading
  • Flipped classroom
  • Classroom management with tech
  • 1:1 classrooms and managing student behavior
  • 21st century teaching practices
  • Student blogging
  • Gamification

All in all, it was a great month, and we are grateful to all of the Edcamp organizers who allowed us to be part of the experience! We are always so impressed to see how dedicated educators are to their work.

Edcam Illinois - Amanda Kriegl

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!

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!