Tom Crilley

Recent Posts

October 16 , 2017

Ditto update offers organizations a custom screen-mirroring experience

The Ditto wireless presentation solution received a number of highly requested feature updates that will make each screen-mirroring experience feel unique to your organization.

The new customization features allow schools, businesses and other organizations to offer their users a personal and familiar screen-mirroring solution. 

So what's new?

Custom room codes

Ditto room codes are what users type into the Ditto connect page to wirelessly display their screen to the AirPlay or Cast receiver in the room. Previously, these codes were randomly assigned to each room by Ditto. An organization had no control over their codes.

That all changed.

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You can now customize Ditto room codes instead of using randomly assigned codes. The custom codes can incorporate your school name, company name, building name, room name or anything else.

For example, a school can now create a code like “Franklin Hall 101” to align the Ditto room code with the actual room. Custom codes are more memorable and more appropriate for each setting.

Custom-branded connection pages

Easily create your own branded Ditto connect page. Upload a logo, a unique background image and colors. Even insert a custom message for your users containing connection instructions or pertinent organizational information.

Using a branded connect page makes it feel like Ditto is a screen-mirroring solution tailored to your organization rather than a service provided by a third party.

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Custom subdomain

When you create a branded Ditto connect page, you receive a special URL that’s needed to access the page. You’ll want a simple way to direct your end users to the branded page so they can enter their Ditto room code there instead of our generic Ditto connect page.

That’s easy when you create a custom subdomain. Pair your branded connect page with a domain alias such as ditto.yoursite.com for an even more immersive experience and easier access. Learn how to create a custom subdomain.

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Room list view and search

The list of rooms in the admin portal can get lengthy if you have many Ditto rooms. Now you can easily search and find any Ditto-enabled room to make adjustments to rooms as needed.
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Customize your screen mirroring now

These features are free and available now for all Ditto customers. This update takes Ditto way beyond your standard screen-mirroring solution. Ditto provides quality and reliable screen mirroring during presentations and meetings. That’s a given. Now you can turn Ditto into a solution that’s completely in tune with and connected to your brand.



More to come

We're excited to bring even more user-requested enhancements later this year. Stay tuned: More updates to come.
September 25 , 2017

How To Connect An iPad To A Projector

Here’s an important piece of advice for anyone looking for a way to connect an iPad to a projector: 

Don’t do that.

Why?

Because if you’re looking for a way to connect an iPad to a projector, what you’re really looking for is a way to show a group of people in the same room what’s on your iPad.

Whatever method you’ve come across so far probably isn’t the best way to do it.

For instance, you might be inclined to manually connect the iPad to the projector via cable.

Nope. Don’t do that.

Why?

There are a number of reasons. Here are three big ones.

  1. Cables are restrictive and often require you to remain within a few feet of the projector. Limiting a presenter’s mobility makes it difficult to captivate an audience.

  2. Cable-based projector connections require outdated VGA and HDMI adapters. This is a problem because Apple has shown a tendency to change the connection ports on its devices.

    These adapters are not compatible with all iPads in use, and they will likely be incompatible with future iPad models.

  3. Connecting via cables is a huge time waster, especially if other people in the room, such as peers or students, need to share from their devices as well.

    Each new connection requires the individual to walk their device to the projector. This process interrupts the flow of any meeting, class or speech.

We know what you’re thinking.

What about connecting an Apple TV to the projector and wirelessly displaying the iPad to the Apple TV?

Nope. Don’t do that, either.

Apple TVs are expensive. A new one will cost about $200. That adds up if you need iPad presentation capabilities in multiple rooms.

Apple TVs only allow one device to wirelessly connect at a time. That’s not ideal for collaboration or comparative analysis purposes.

So what are you supposed to do?

The best way to connect an iPad to a projector

The best, most cost-effective way to connect an iPad to a projector is with a $15 computer application called Reflector 2.

Reflector is an application that runs on Mac or Windows computers. It allows you to wirelessly display one or more iPads on your computer screen.

Read: How to wirelessly connect an iPad to Reflector

To display the iPad to your audience, all you need to do is connect your Reflector-enabled computer to the projector with a cable. Whatever you do on your iPad will display on your computer, and the connected projector will show the iPad to your audience. You will be free to walk around the room and wirelessly present from the iPad in your hand.

Thinking about using Reflector?

Do that.

Reflector is more cost effective than Apple TVs, and it allows you to mirror more than one device at a time. It also gets rid of all of the HDMI and VGA cables and adapters required to connect an iPad to a projector.

You just solved at least three presentation problems with a $15 computer application. Exciting, right? 

Get Reflector today to begin wirelessly presenting from your iPad.

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. 

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!