Keirsten Heckel

Recent Posts

November 15 , 2016

Welcome, Home

Google Cast to Google Home-Update

You may notice something different the next time you try to open your Google Cast application on your Android phone.

Google Cast has a new name

Google renamed and redesigned its Google Cast application for the third time (second this year). What you previously recognized as Google Cast is now called Google Home to coincide with the new Google Home device.

New layout

Although Google Home still has the same capabilities of the old Google Cast, there are a few cosmetic changes to notice. Instead of the user interface showing three tabs (What’s On, Devices and Get Apps), Google Home now has two – Watch and Discover. Consumers will be able to use the app to discover new content and manage their Google Home assistant and Cast devices, according to Google. These added tabs will make it easier to find new suggested content to watch on your Chromecast, along with a library of applications that support the device.

The icon in the upper right-hand corner is used for managing devices, and there is now a FAB (floating action button) in the lower right to use for searching. Users can still Cast their Android device screen from the navigation drawer – a panel that displays the app’s navigation options, usually on the left edge of the screen. This is where you will go to connect to Reflector 2.

New logo

The application logo got an upgrade, too. Instead of the notable round blue Cast symbol, you’ll find a colorful house icon.

Although Google Cast is no longer the name of the application, it’s still the name of the core screen-sending technology. It’s how users send content or media from the device to a receiver.

There you have it, folks! Google Home is now available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play Store. Happy mirroring, Android users!

Let us know if you have any questions about connecting to Reflector 2 using the new Google Home app in the comments section below!

 

November 14 , 2016

Say Goodbye to Classroom Connectivity Issues

Reflector Student Press Shot

Picture this: Your school finally purchased the iPads you’ve been requesting for months. You’re eager to get started and excited for all the collaborative opportunities your students will get to experience. Now it’s time to figure out how to strategically use all of these devices. You ask yourself, “How can all of my students be collaborative with one another if they are all working on separate screens?”

You do some research with your fellow colleagues and discover that Reflector 2 will allow students to wirelessly display their devices to your computer screen. By connecting your computer to a classroom projector or interactive whiteboard, you could share these mirrored student devices with the entire class.

You and your colleagues are instantly impressed with its recording, mirroring and customization capabilities, and you can’t wait to implement this screen-mirroring technology into your lesson plan. There’s only one problem. You and your students are on separate wireless networks. In order for Reflector to work, both teacher and student need to be on the same network. What’s the solution? Reflector Student.

The Reflector Student app is a free Reflector companion app that runs on each student’s iOS device and acts as a workaround for schools that experience Reflector 2 connectivity problems due to restrictive networks. This will resolve issues for schools that host their student and teacher devices on separate networks. Students can connect their iOS device to a teacher’s Reflector 2 software using the following options in the Reflector Student app:

Reflector Student Connection Types

  • Bluetooth discovery
  • Quick Connect Codes™
  • iOS camera linking

Once paired, mirroring across subnets and tricky networks is a breeze. Reflector Student remembers the pairing, allowing it to automatically display in the device’s AirPlay list to make connecting faster in the future.

Reflector Student also shows your students the other devices connected to Reflector. This allows them to see other student or teacher devices directly on the iOS device that's in front of them.

Reflector Student In Action

Discover Reflector Student for yourself, or download it for free in the App Store.

November 7 , 2016

Reflector 2 Classroom Checklist

ChecklistAs education enters a new age of mobility, classrooms are starting to resemble modern-day coffee shops. Teachers aren’t limited to standing up at the front of the room doing most of the talking. Students can collaborate through technology and take charge of their own personalized learning no matter where they are seated in the classroom. Classrooms are transitioning to more of a comfortable and collaborative learning environment.

Today’s classroom arrangement bears little resemblance to the classroom we experienced as kids. Chalkboards are now interactive whiteboards, students are turning in their textbooks and notebooks for iPads and ordinary pencils are being tossed aside for stylus pens. Who would have pictured a classroom like this 10 years ago?

We pose the question: with all of these devices and technology competing for attention in the classroom, is it possible for students to actually be collaborative with one another? How about with teachers?

The answer is yes. The Reflector 2 screen-mirroring software allows students to take a hands-on approach to their education and facilitates collaboration while they apply key concepts in the classroom. Students can share their work side-by-side, present group projects and have competitions when working with apps such as Kahoot or Quizlet. Teachers can even be collaborative with their students by showing instructions next to student results.

So, what do you need to make this collaborative, mobile classroom a reality? Here’s your Reflector 2 classroom checklist:

  1. Mac or Windows computer to run the Reflector 2 software
  2. iOS, Android, Chromebook or Surface Pro* devices that students can share content from
  3. Projector or interactive whiteboard if you want to display student content to the whole class
  4. Reflector Director (optional) for teachers to access the Reflector 2 controls from their iPad or iPhone instead of from their computer
  5. Reflector Student (optional) to show students the same Reflector 2 display on their iOS device that the teacher sees on the computer, as well as provide connectivity alternatives for schools with restrictive networks

Pro tip: You can wirelessly connect as many mobile devices to Reflector 2 as your school network allows (sweet spot is usually between four to five devices).

That’s it! Pretty simple, right?

If you would like to learn more about Reflector 2, you can watch our “How To” videos, including How to Connect to Reflector 2 and How to Record Mirrored Devices on our YouTube channel. Or, you can visit our website to learn more about Reflector in the classroom.

*Microsoft Surface Pros require our sister app, AirParrot 2, to wirelessly connect to the teacher’s computer because Surface Pros do not come equipped with a native screen-sharing functionality such as Apple’s AirPlay or the Chromebook/Android Cast technology. 

October 31 , 2016

Moving Around the Classroom with Reflector Director

If there’s one thing educators know about Reflector 2, it’s that it allows students to truly be “mobile” with their iOS, Chromebook or Android devices. If students can be mobile, why do educators seem so restricted with their devices?

We wondered the same thing. That’s why we created Reflector Director – an iOS companion app that allows teachers to move about the classroom and interact with students all while still accessing the controls of Reflector 2 from their iPad or iPhone. Goodbye to the days of teachers being chained to their desk, and hello to the new era of teacher mobility.

Reflector Director gives educators the ability to:

  • Show and hide student devices without disconnecting or reconnecting
  • Highlight one student device to spotlight important content
  • Eliminate distractions with full-screen mode
  • Change frames for optimum screen compatibility
  • Observe screen previews of each connected student device before displaying to a larger screen

Reflector Director

Let’s take a step back for a moment and ask ourselves, “why is it important for teachers to have mobility in the classroom?" All of these features mentioned above are useful, but what does that really do for the efficiency of a classroom?

Here are seven reasons why teacher mobility is important for efficiency in the classroom:

  1. Teacher mobility saves time by keeping teachers from running back and forth to their desks to control Reflector 2
  2. It’s easier to walk around and give students more one-on-one attention
  3. Teachers are able to guide and educate students on the usage of technology to prepare them for real-world environments
  4. The teacher becomes the encourager, advisor and coach of classroom technology
  5. The overall efficiency and flow of the classroom improves
  6. Teachers stay engaged with students throughout the lesson plan
  7. Technology barriers between teachers and students are removed

Reflector Director In Use

With educators being called upon to find beneficial ways to incorporate technology into their classroom, they need to find solutions that empower them and give them confidence. Keeping up with the change in EdTech can leave a teacher overwhelmed and discouraged, therefore leaving the teacher unable to influence students in the best ways. Reflector Director was designed to allow teachers to feel confident using their classroom technology by making collaborative learning via mobile devices easy.

Teachers play an essential role in every student’s education, behavior and development. In the EdTech world, it can be difficult to manage a mobile classroom by concentrating on every student. With the help of powerful remote-display-management apps, like Reflector Director, this is made easy, and each student gets the attention they need.

Check out Reflector Director for yourself. We’re sure you’ll be impressed, and want to make it part of your everyday classroom routine.

October 24 , 2016

Squirrels Attends CECA Conference

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The Squirrels team started the month of October in Oklahoma City for the Oklahoma Technology Association Encylco-Media Conference, and it's finishing the month in Plantsville, Connecticut, for the Connecticut Educators Computer Association (CECA) Conference. You can say we’ve been busy!

CECA is a nonprofit organization of professionals who promote the effective use of technology throughout schools in Connecticut. It's also an affiliate member of ISTE (hey that sounds familiar!). CECA is committed to developing a strong organization that is a catalyst for inspiring teaching and learning through its leadership and collaboration with the global education community.

We are excited to join 900 CECA Conference attendees in Connecticut this week to showcase our classroom screen-mirroring solution, Reflector 2, and to talk about a new product we're releasing in the coming weeks.

If you’re attending the conference this week, stop by booth D06 to say hello to your favorite Squirrels reps. They're excited to meet you and tell you what we've been up to!

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!