Keirsten Heckel

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December 14 , 2016

Screen Mirroring Technology for 2017

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Screen mirroring technology has become more mainstream over the last few years. Prominent tech companies such as Samsung, Google and Apple have adopted screen mirroring in the form of their “Cast" and “AirPlay” technology. So what is screen mirroring and how does it work?

What is screen mirroring?
Screen mirroring is a form of wireless communication between devices that allows users to stream media, display content, record videos and more from one device screen to another. To put it simply, it’s a way for your phone, tablet or computer screen to appear on another screen wirelessly.

This technology is used in many industries to quickly and easily share content from one device to another. Educators, gamers, business professionals and general consumers use screen-mirroring technology for in-class content sharing, collaboration, meetings and mobile gameplay recording. For instance, screen mirroring can be used to take the budget reports or family photos on a little mobile device screen and wirelessly display it on a bigger, more visible screen.

How does is work?
There is no universal way to mirror device screens across all platforms. This can become confusing and frustrating to understand since each device uses different terminology and requires a different process. A lack of consistency has put an emphasis on third-party screen-mirroring solutions with cross-platform capabilities.

Here’s how screen mirroring differs among popular mobile devices and industries:

  • iOS devices: Use native AirPlay by swiping up from the bottom of the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and select "AirPlay Mirroring" to view a list of available AirPlay receivers. Available receivers to connect to include Apple TV (hardware) and Reflector (an AirPlay and Cast receiving software for Mac/PC).
  • Chromebooks: Use native Cast technology built into the device by right clicking on the user icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the Chromebook desktop, select "Cast Devices Available" and choose from the list of available receivers to mirror to. Available receivers to connect to include Chromecast and Reflector.

Here’s how screen mirroring differs among popular laptops:

  • macOS computers  - These devices can screen mirror or stream content using built-in AirPlay (only available on Apple laptops released in 2012 or later) to Apple TV (hardware) or devices that are running Reflector, such as Windows computers, Android devices and Amazon Fire TV. In addition, adding third-party screen-mirroring software such as AirParrot allows Mac users to mirror or stream content to Chromecast or Apple TV with advanced features.
  • Windows computers - These devices are not equipped with native screen-mirroring technology. However, users can add AirParrot software to a computer to wirelessly mirror and stream content to Apple TVs, Chromecasts and Reflector-enabled devices.

Cloud-based screen-mirroring technology is a more recent screen-mirroing development.

  • Ditto - Ditto is a cloud-based screen-mirroring technology that's commonly used in business, higher education and hospitality environments. It assigns unique identification codes to Apple TVs and Chromecasts. Anyone with a Mac or Windows computer can walk into a room, enter that code at www.goditto.com and automatically connect their computer to the appropriate AirPlay or Cast receiver.

Education
Educators use screen mirroring to display and compare student work, record lesson plans, allow students to compete in education games side-by-side and so much more. Schools use third-party screen-mirroring receivers such as Reflector to wirelessly display mobile devices on the teacher's computer. Teachers can then display student content to the entire class by hooking up their computer to a projector or interactive whiteboard. This is a perfect way to display art projects, compare a history report or have fun student competition with apps like Quizlet.

Gaming
Mobile gamers use screen-mirroring solutions to mirror gameplay from their device to a computer screen. They are able to record the gameplay and upload the video, or live stream it from their device directly to YouTube when using a solution such as Reflector. So if you are an avid Candy Crush player, this is how you can record your skills and upload gameplay for the world to see. 

Business
Business professionals share presentations or reports, brainstorm and collaborate with one another directly from their tablets or phones to a computer screen or share from a computer screen to an Apple TV or Chromecast. Small businesses all the way up to enterprise-level companies can benefit from a screen-mirroring experience, whether you are brainstorming on the next t-shirt design or sharing a budget report.

Do you have any screen-mirroring experience or unique applications? Leave us your feedback in the comment section below. Check out the Squirrels suite of cross-platform screen-mirroring technology at www.airsquirrels.com for more details.

December 6 , 2016

AirParrot 2 Pro Tip: Mirror Apps, Not Screens

An easy-to-use AirParrot 2 feature keeps your audience focused on the most important content during a presentation or lecture.

The “Specific-App Mirroring” feature allows you to mirror an application running on your computer instead of everything on the screen at once. Regardless of how many applications you have open on your computer (i.e.  Microsoft Word, Safari, QuickTime Player, etc.), AirParrot gives you the option to choose the one that is most relevant and display only that content.

What does this mean for you? No more dragging and minimizing all of your open windows and apps to find the right application or showcase the most important data. Easily accomplish both tasks right from the AirParrot menu.

Just follow the steps listed below:

  1. Click on the AirParrot icon in your menu bar.
  2. Hover over the “Application” option under the “From” menu
  3. Choose which application you would like to share with the group

AP App StepsPro tip: If you are not seeing the application you would like to mirror in the Application section under the “From” menu, you most likely have the app minimized. The app must be on the screen for AirParrot to mirror the application.

 

December 1 , 2016

We hope you found a friend – 2016 Edcamp Roundup

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Our 2016 Edcamp season is officially over, and we think this was our most successful year to date. We sponsored 34 events in 19 states!

In February, we revamped our Edcamp efforts and committed ourselves to empowering educators with resources to take charge of their professional development. We created a new system of submitting Edcamp sponsorship requests, updated our swag and offered higher monetary donations and special Reflector 2 deals for attendees. Most importantly, we built long-lasting relationships with educators. We appreciate all of the hard work that went into making each of these events a success!

We are honored to be a part of the experiences that help educators gain confidence, ignite their passion for education and share ideas with one another in a comfortable environment. These motivated educators inspire us to continue making products that help them accomplish their professional goals.

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If you’ve been to a Squirrels-sponsored Edcamp before, you know that we provide fun goodies for you to take home, including Squirrels lanyards, prize packs with various swag items and free copies of Reflector 2. We also provide monetary donations to organizers for breakfast, lunch, refreshments or any other expenses. Speaking of lunch and breakfast, we’ve seen some tasty-looking lunches come out of our donations! Whether you attended one or many Squirrels-sponsored Edcamps this year, we hope our contributions helped make these professional development experiences the best ones yet.

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Check out the Edcamps we sponsored in 2016:

We would love your feedback on how we can improve our sponsorship efforts as we gear up for 2017. Feel free to leave a comment telling us how we can make your experience better as an attendee or organizer.

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship for 2017, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

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November 23 , 2016

Where's the Beef?

Squirrels Chili Cook-off

If there is one thing you should know about us, it’s that we take chili very seriously.

Squirrels celebrated its fourth annual chili cook-off last Friday. Seven unique employee-made chilis were entered into the contest. We’re just now coming out of the food coma, and we have absolutely no regrets about the amount of food we consumed. We’ve learned that it’s best to view the chili cook-off as Thanksgiving preparation. Although it was 70 degrees and sunny outside, that didn’t stop us from enjoying the chili utopia and copious amounts of deserts that employees graciously made for the day.

Also, we are forever thankful to whoever provided the cornbread.

After sampling all of the goodness and tallying up votes, the “Jons” continued their Squirrels chili cook-off dominance.  Reigning champion Jon Bishop was crowned the winner once again with his “Cornquistador” chili. Cornquistador is a thick, spicy pork and corn chili with a cheesy base and a lasting–but bearable–heat. It contains three types of meat (bacon, chorizo and ground pork), six different spices and six kinds of veggies, all sliced to perfection.

Here’s the complete recipe:

VEGGIES:
1 yellow onion, diced small
1 bag of small sweet peppers (yellow and red), deseeded, diced small
1 shallot, minced as finely as possible (it’ll basically dissolve overnight)
4 jalapeños, chopped, seeds in
2 serrano chili peppers, thinly sliced

Veggies go into the crockpot first.

MEAT:
1lb. of ground pork, browned in Sriracha, salt and pepper
1lb. of chorizo, crumbled, browned in the same skillet
9 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into bits, drizzled in honey and seared in the same skillet

Throw all of that into a bowl, drain the fat. Add to chili after the veggies and before the sauce and spice.

SAUCE:
1 can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese sauce
1 6oz can of tomato paste
1 can of Rotel diced tomatoes with lime and cilantro

SPICE:
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
Spread the sauces over the meat, add spice and stir. Cook on low for 6 hours.

AFTER 6 HOURS ADD THIS:
2 cans of corn, drained
2 extra jalapeños, chopped
1 extra Serrano chili, thinly sliced
1.5 packages of tex mex shredded cheese
The juice of 1 lime
Season to taste (I added a little extra salt, paprika and chili powder)

This is Jon’s second consecutive win, following two-time champ Jon Zelasko. Will anyone ever dethrone the “Jons?”

Sam Coffman came in second with her “Give Thanks” chili, which was an all turkey, Thanksgiving-inspired recipe. This sure gave us all the warm, cozy feels with Thanksgiving just days away.

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Although only one chili was crowned champion, we couldn’t have made this day happen without the rest of the amazing chilis that are all winners in our hearts: Coco B. Crisp (Ashley Swinehart), Wine Chili (Andrea Sommers), Chili – by name only (Mike Bruin), Burnt Nose (Aaron Rinier) and Membabeans N’ Meat (Jessica Chevalier and Kyle Gritzan).

Squirrels Chili Cook-off Winner

 

November 22 , 2016

From the Classroom to the Real World: How EdTech Increases Student Success

Every student going through school is taught concepts that can be applied to real-world experiences. For example, learning the Pythagorean Theorem in math class may cause students to question when they would ever need to know it as an adult. Although the student may not understand it at the time, this theorem can be applied to a number of real-life experiences, including taking a road trip, determining what size TV to purchase or calculating how far it is to throw a baseball from first base to third base.

Can this same logic be used to determine if technology used in the classroom prepares students for future careers and experiences?

About 20 years ago, students learned basic computer skills in a specially designated computer classroom. Now it’s hard to find a classroom that isn’t using computers and technology. Some educators argue that schools have a responsibility to give students the confidence and skills to use technology. Colleges and employers expect students to be digitally literate when they graduate. Digital literacy helps students navigate the workforce, college and use creative thinking to solve problems.

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Students develop essential skills and knowledge when they are exposed to technology at a young age. They need to be taught to think and understand what technology is and how to use it in the right way to prepare themselves for a tech-infused post-grad world. They can use educational games to learn how to read, use classroom devices to develop research skills and participate in Makerspaces to creatively explore their ideas.

Education technology decreases learning gaps that appear most often in early childhood. A student who struggles to learn early may find it difficult to prepare for college or the workforce because learning is cumulative. Identifying these gaps is important because early learning facilitates later learning. If you notice a student is struggling with reading or math skills, try using one of the many learning applications, such as Math Shake, DoodleMath, Photomath and BrainPOP to get the student back on track.

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Have any comments or feedback about how education technology increases student success? Feel free to share in the comments below!

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. Our excitement and passion lies in creating high-qualty, budget-friendly software that can be used to enhance the devices already found in today's home and work environments. Follow our blog for all the latest product releases, #TeamSquirrels news and industry insight!