Tom Crilley

Recent Posts

August 23 , 2017

Personalize student device management with new ClassHub update

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If no two teachers are the same, why is it so hard to customize classroom management settings?

That’s the question we asked when we were thinking of ways to make student device management more user friendly for teachers and administrators.

Consider these two cases:

Mrs. Smith never uses YouTube for instruction and doesn’t want her students to have access to it.

Mr. Lindon frequently uses YouTube to complement instruction and encourages his students to use it for research.

Now imagine there are tens or even hundreds of applications that need to be enabled or disabled for certain teachers at certain times on certain devices.

How do you easily coordinate that in a device management solution? In many cases, you can’t.

Sure, workarounds exist. But they are difficult to scale and become useless in certain circumstances, like when schedules change during testing periods.

Device management customization has been an IT professional’s nightmare…until now.  

Introducing Configurations
Our latest ClassHub update solves this problem with the introduction of Configurations for iOS and macOS devices. ClassHub enables hyper-focused mobile device management (MDM) not offered by other MDM solutions.

The Configurations feature makes it easy for administrators to implement teacher requests for restrictions or permissions on specific classes or devices.

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Under the new Configurations tab in the ClassHub admin portal, administrators can easily save any number of configurations, then apply those configurations to the appropriate classes.

Configurations include restrictions and permissions in addition to a suite of other functionality, like class-specific bookmarks, custom app-notification settings and room-specific printers and Wi-Fi settings.

Administrators can even apply Configurations at the school level. Imagine Wi-Fi settings that auto-apply when a middle school student comes to the high school for an accelerated class.

Using the examples above, an administrator could create one configuration for Mrs. Smith’s class that addresses her wish to have YouTube blocked along with any other apps she wanted enabled or disabled during her classes.

Similarly, the administrator could then quickly create another unique configuration for Mr. Lindon’s class allowing his students access to YouTube during his classes.

No other work needs to be done. The configurations automatically apply when a teacher begins a class using the ClassHub Class Manager. 

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Customizing student settings
What if one of the Mr. Lindon’s third-period biology students, we’ll call him Johnny, consistently used YouTube in a way that was distracting, disruptive or off task?

ClassHub offers educators multiple ways to handle this. Mr. Lindon could simply lock Johnny’s device using the ClassHub Class Manager.

Or, with the new Configurations tool, the school’s administrator could edit Mr. Lindon’s third-period biology class Configuration to disable YouTube on Johnny’s device.

This amendment could last indefinitely or for a certain time period. Problem solved. 

Bottom line: The Configurations tool presents the easiest way for teachers and administrators to coordinate and apply personalized device management settings.

We’re excited to give ClassHub users more great ways to manage student devices.

Request a ClassHub demo today
Want to see how our device management and classroom operations solution, ClassHub, can help teachers and administrators in your school or district do more with mobile devices?

We have a lot to show you, so we better schedule a demo. Oh, and don’t worry about high-pressure sales tactics. That’s not our style. Just details and a demo.

 Schedule a demo      Discover more

July 17 , 2017

How to Manage Student Devices in A 1:1 School Program

Investing in a 1:1 student device model for your school district comes with two important decisions. 

1. Device type

The first is which type of device to go 1:1 with – Chromebook, iPad, Surface Pro, Mac or a combination of these devices. This decision varies based on budget, student population, learning goals and educational philosophies.

2. Complementary technology 

Device selection is only the first step in a successful 1:1 program. You have to decide how students and teachers will interact with those devices to produce positive educational outcomes. How will the devices maximize class time, collaboration and learning? How will teachers ensure that students remain on task and distraction-free while using devices? It’s not easy in classes with 20-some students and 20-some devices.

Device management and classroom operations technology like ClassHub allows teachers to worry less about devices and focus on what’s important: educating students. Most education professionals have a basic understanding of device management technology, but what sets ClassHub apart is what it does for teachers.

The ClassHub Class Manager allows teachers to remotely manage, supervise and administer all of the devices in their classroom. ClassHub offers teachers simple, task-based actions such as screen-sharing, content pushing, device locking, alert sending and more. Simply put: Devices are more efficient, more connected and more manageable with ClassHub.

Mixed-device 1:1 programs

It’s common for school districts going 1:1 to deploy more than one device type based on grade level or class subject matter. ClassHub is ideal for these mixed-device 1:1 environments because it works with all the most common classroom technology:

  • Chrome OS
  • iOS
  • Mac OS
  • Windows

That totals 97% of classroom devices deployed today. Cross-platform compatibility ensures that schools no longer need to deploy multiple device-management solutions if they’re using multiple device types.

We created ClassHub to make device management simple for teachers and administrators in your school district, and that’s exactly what it does. Contact us to talk about device management and classroom operations in your 1:1 school or district.

June 20 , 2017

ISTE 2017: Squirrels in San Antonio

The Squirrels team is traveling to San Antonio next week for the 2017 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference & Expo. This year marks our fifth consecutive year at the show, and it’s already looking like it will be the best one yet. 

Things you need to know about Squirrels at ISTE

    1. We are sponsoring EdTech Karaoke on Tuesday, June 27th. If you’ve never heard of EdTech Karaoke, you might be thinking that we’ve been duped into helping a nightclub that didn’t save any of its budget for a DJ. EdTech Karaoke has become a legendary event at education conferences around the country, and there’s no bigger education conference than ISTE.

      If our years at ISTE have taught us anything, it’s that EdTech Karaoke is one of the great highlights of the week. Be sure to get your tickets to the event at Aztec Theater soon, as EdTech Karaoke sells out quickly. We will also have additional EdTech Karaoke tickets to give away at the Squirrels booth (#626) in the ISTE expo hall. We’ll take entries all day Monday and randomly draw the EdTech Karaoke ticket winners on Monday night.

    2. The Great Redwood of ISTE is back for year two. The 18-foot tree that was built by Squirrels attracted the gaze of ISTE attendees from all over the expo hall like a field of moths gliding toward a distant garage light at night. Come see it. Take your picture with it. Tell your grandkids about it. Just know that nobody has actually ever called it the Great Redwood of ISTE.3k1a3659.jpg
    3. Our brilliant team is hosting ClassHub demos every hour on the hour. Our new classroom device management and monitoring technology will be on display and at work for you. This is a great opportunity to see it in person. We created ClassHub to address a number of needs expressed to us by educators and improve the ability for students to collaborate, share and learn with the devices they use every day. We think ClassHub is a home run, and we can’t wait to show you.Schedule Print.png

    4. Our classic education technology Reflector 2, the Reflector suite of companion apps and AirParrot will be on display as well. Our team can also tell you all about using Ditto, our smart and unlimited screen-mirroring technology, in K-12 education.

    5. We have a number of Alpha Squirrel EdTech Experts presenting at ISTE. These presenters are some of the best and most knowledgeable individuals in their profession. We can’t wait to hear what they say and have them join us at the Squirrels booth.

      Get the full list of Alpha Squirrel session times and topics at ISTE.

Another year of ISTE is upon us, friends. Embrace it and make the most of your time there. ISTE is an opportunity for all of us – educators, administrators, IT professionals, tech integration specialists, entrepreneurs and EdTech companies – to grow professionally and improve our knowledge of our craft.

As always, stop by the Squirrels booth (#626) to see what we’ve been working on for you and to put a few faces to our unique company name. 

June 12 , 2017

Finally! Teachers Can Now Monitor Every Student Device During Class

Educators no longer need to peer over a student’s shoulder to monitor progress or gauge how the student is progressing through a task. In fact, they don’t even have to leave their desks.

While students are busy using their devices to work on an assignment, complete group work or take a test, teachers can use device management software called ClassHub to see what is happening on every student device in real time.

The ClassHub Screen Peek feature allows teachers to see student devices from their computer to ensure students are on task and using devices in the classroom as directed. 

How it works
Once a teacher starts a class in the ClassHub Classroom Manager, each student in the classroom is listed along with a student avatar. Selecting the Screen Peek View option in the Classroom Manager presents a live view of every student device in the classroom. The teacher can see what each student is working on (or not working on) and how each student is performing in a matter of seconds.  

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To access a larger view of a specific student’s device, teachers simply click on the device in the Classroom Manager. The enlarged view also presents several device management actions, including the ability to:

  • Send a message to the student’s device
  • Open a webpage on the device
  • Lock the device into a specific application
  • Lock the device entirely
  • Begin mirroring the device to an AirPlay or Cast receiver
  • Manage applications

Does ClassHub sound like something you’ve been wishing for since the day devices appeared in the classroom? We’re happy to help bring it to your school or district.

Contact us today to chat about ClassHub or schedule a demo.

May 30 , 2017

Why we made ClassHub?

Let’s play a quick round of “JEOPARDY!” where you are the contestant and we are the gracefully aged Alex Trebek. 

You: “I’ll take Nobel Prize Winning Authors for $1000, Alex.”

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Us: “Answer: This 1954 recipient once stated, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” 

You: [Clicks clicker] “Who is Ernest Hemingway?”

Great job. Now you’re 1000 fake dollars richer, and we just laid the groundwork for the point of this post.

Hemingway was a brilliant author who knew the value of listening. When people ask us why we created ClassHub, the answer is simple. We listened to you, our audience. Educators and district administrators give us feedback at education conferences, on social media and through our customer support team. We listen, read, observe and analyze. Then we act.

Our Reflector software catapulted us into education and introduced Squirrels to educators around the world. Teachers loved that it allows them to wirelessly display and record classroom devices. It’s simple and cost-effective.

Through the years, many educators requested additional features that were outside the scope of Reflector:

  • The ability to wirelessly push content to student devices and manage apps
  • The ability to view what was happening on every student device at once
  • The ability to send a mirror image of the teacher’s screen to every student device
  • The ability to lock student devices, or lock the devices into specific apps

While it wasn’t possible to add those features to Reflector without changing its identity, we heard you. We listened. You asked for ClassHub, and we made it for you. ClassHub ushers in a new era of mobile technology usage in the classroom.

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We’re ready to show you what student device management and monitoring looks like in your school or district.

Visit our website to learn more or contact us to talk about ClassHub.

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!