May 30, 2018

Reflector Shines at Pennsylvania Capitol

What do you get when your class develops a unique video production and presentation method? 

An invitation to the Pennsylvania State Capitol if everything goes well.

Alpha Squirrel Zee Ann Poerio and her students had the opportunity to present how they use Reflector with video production technology in front of legislators in the Capitol.

Students at PAECT

The Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology (PAECT) asks students to apply to participate in an annual student technology showcase. Poerio’s Student Technology Team at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School was one of the groups selected to represent their school at the Capitol.   

The team’s video production and wireless presentation project includes three components. The best part? You can bring it to your class with a minimal amount of equipment. 

  1. An iOS application
    The St. Louise de Marillac Student Technology Team uses TouchCast for education which enables students to create content using green screen effects, filters, transitions, annotations, lower thirds and video apps that are interactive with social media feeds, polls, websites and more. 
  1. Hardware
    The students also shared the equipment they use: the Padcaster Ultimate Studio for an iPad and the Padcaster Verse for use with a smartphone. 
  1. Software
    Poerio uses additional apps to create visuals and wirelessly present iPads to a bigger screen.

    Apps like Canva allow students to create design elements for their videos. Poerio uses Reflector Teacher on a computer connected to the primary classroom display to screen mirror projects from iPads to the big screen.

    “Reflector makes it easier for presenters to share what's on their screen for a demonstration,” Poerio said. “It's great for students to share projects they create on their devices with the entire class. Everyone loves to see their work on the big screen at school.” 

    Poerio’s students also practice good digital citizenship using what they learned from
     CommonSense Media, and they use copyright-free images from sites like Creative Commons to create morning announcements and classroom projects. 


    Reflector Teacher screen mirror edtech

PAECT Student Showcase
Poerio’s team was assigned a space to present how the students use technology in creative ways. Each school presents their project for a livestream from the Capitol. 

While at the event, students had the opportunity to interview legislators, educators and other students participating in the showcase.

Poerio said the Student Technology Showcase provides an opportunity to connect with teachers and students who share the same enthusiasm for using technology in the classroom.

“It’s amazing to see the innovative ways that students use technology to create content, tell stories, use problem-solving skills, code, design and manufacture.” she said. “I encourage anyone to search for similar experiences that allow your students to share their voice, knowledge and use of technology.”

Student Tech Showcase PAECT


Reflector Teacher

Learn more about using Reflector Teacher ($15) in the classroom. 

Get Reflector Teacher

 

April 23, 2018

Should you attend EduTech Asia 2018?

Should You Attend EduTech Asia 2018?

I was inspired. I was motivated.

Everything I want in a conference was everything that EduTech Asia 2017 in Singapore gave me.

The question is: will it inspire you?

I’ve recounted my experience below for anyone who may be uncertain about attending EduTech Asia 2018 this October. I hope my thoughts give you a general idea of what to expect and help you decide if it’s worth the investment. 

Looking back at EduTech Asia 2017

EduTech Asia 2017 was the first conference I attended as a member of the Alpha Squirrels program created by Squirrels. The company helped send me there so I could speak to attendees about student voice and digital citizenship, but my time at the conference became so much more than a speaking opportunity.

What’s EduTech Asia?

EduTech Asia is a three-day conference and exhibition of innovation and technology in education. It gathers educators, EdTech specialists, education leaders and startup leaders from all around the globe to share and explore how technology impacts learning and creates positive changes in education.

That’s standard boilerplate language, but the conference lived up to its billing. I witnessed education enthusiasts sharing and learning from each other to achieve a common goal: bettering education for the world’s youth.

More than a speaking opportunity

Like I said, this was more than a speaking opportunity. I achieved my goal of sharing knowledge with others, but I also acquired knowledge that will benefit me on a professional level for years to come.

EduTech Asia 2017 showcased all that is great in education technology innovation. It was amazing to experience the keynote presentations, panel discussions, roundtables, collaborative EduSlams and innovative on-floor activities.

I was treated to an exciting array of technology products and services on display on the exhibition show floor. I found technology that helps me prepare my students for the future globally competitive and technologically equipped workforce. 

Designed to fit your goals

The conference is constructed in a way that makes it easy to find topics that align with your needs. Attendees can choose between eight tracks designed to provide an in-depth understanding about how technology shapes the following education sectors: 

  • K-12 leaders
  • Tertiary leaders
  • IT leaders
  • Special needs
  • Early years
  • Educational policy
  • Vocational
  • Business leaders

Events and exhibitions included sessions for educators by educators, live demos of the latest innovations and technologies, a tech showcase and startup theatre featuring the latest EdTech deployments in schools, institutions and classrooms, and an AR/VR Zone that demonstrated how this emerging technology is used in the classroom.

Robotics

Want to explore robotics? You're in luck!

The EduTech Asia robotic pavilion hosted mini robotics and coding workshops, as well as the 5th Singapore National CoSpace and RoboMaker Challenges 2017.

Additionally, the IMDA Digital Makerspace provided a series of workshops to nurture a new generation of digital natives with a passion to create with technology.

Looking forward to EduTech Asia 2018

EduTech Asia 2018 returns to Singapore Oct. 8-11 where a ton of talented educators and EdTech coaches will be on hand to share stories and expertise with attendees.

Connect with me on Twitter, and be sure to look me up if you decide to go. I look forward to meeting you and swapping education adventures.

Raymond Mitchel Africa is a Middle Years Programme (MYP) science teacher at an international school in Xiamen, China, and a member of the Alpha Squirrel program

March 29, 2018

Squirrels Visits Duke University

Squirrels visits Duke University to share Ditto screen mirroring

Squirrels met with the Duke Digital Media Community (DDMC) at Duke University this month to share how Windows device users can wirelessly connect to Apple TVs using Ditto

The DDMC is evaluating Ditto as it looks to deploy a simple and cost-effective solution that allows both Mac and Windows users to share content to campus Apple TVs. 

Read the DDMC's initial Ditto review after testing the service at Duke.  

 

March 27, 2018

#SquirrelsChat Recap: Designing for #FutureReady Learning

Classroom design has remained largely the same for centuries – heavy metal desks and chairs lined up in columns and rows, while a teacher lectures at the front of the room.

Despite the stagnant classroom design, lesson plans have evolved to include technology, collaboration, innovation, creativity and flexibility. This leaves a major disconnect between today’s innovative curriculum and outdated classroom furniture.  

This month’s #SquirrelsChat explored how teachers can transform their traditional classroom into a space where students feel welcome and want to learn. You’ll learn how the physical environment of a classroom impacts learning, what factors to consider when redesigning, how to involve students, design hacks and more! 

Related: #SquirrelsChat Recap: Student Engagement

Join #SquirrelsChat the third Thursday of every month for the best education tips, strategies and ideas at 8 p.m. ET. You can stay up to date on chat topics and moderators by following us on Twitter (@Squirrels). 

How physical environment impacts learning + collaboration

A physical classroom environment can either foster collaboration and promote learning, or it can limit it. Every space has its own vibe – make yours positive!

 

What factors to consider when designing a learning space

Start by looking at what your goals are for the class and students. Design your space around that. A learning space should be a combination of things that benefit students and make sense for you as the teacher.

How to involve students

Simply put – go straight to the source! Ask students to describe their favorite place to hang out. Sometimes the best ideas come out of the most creative answers!

Design hacks for making a future-ready classroom on a budget 

Dish racks, ironing boards, beach chairs and tennis balls are all options for redesigning on a budget. Take a look at how educators are using these easy-to-find items below.

Advice to overcome redesign obstacles

We can’t stress this enough…start small! Something as small as changing sound and lighting in a room can bring positivity and inspiration to a space.

Don’t miss the next #SquirrelsChat on April 19 at 8 p.m. ET!

March 6, 2018

Cut The Cord On Your Cable Subscription With These Five Tips

The days of cable television’s dominance in entertainment are clearly coming to an end. With a wealth of online streaming content and HD local channels, it’s easier than ever to live without a cable subscription. If you’ve been thinking about cutting the cord, there are a few bases to cover to make sure you’re not stuck without your favorite shows.

cut-cable-today-logo-.png

Life without a cord

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google Play pour millions of dollars into content production, hoping to draw audiences away from cable subscriptions. Even traditional cable channels like HBO release enough web content to satisfy any binge session. This gamble is paying off, and people continue to become “cord cutters.” With that said, you should consider a few key things before you cut your cord.

  1.   Pick your favorite streaming services

There’s no clear winner in the world of online streaming. Netflix, Google and Amazon all have headlining shows and vast libraries, making it hard to run out of things to watch. The additional perks of Google Play and Amazon Prime make it easier to stomach the cost of subscriptions to all three.

  1.   Measure your reception strength

TV reception has changed drastically since the days of bunny ears. Today’s antennas pick up TV channels in HD, adding local channels like Fox, CBS, NBC and more to your entertainment library for free. However, these channels don’t have reception everywhere. Confirm that you actually have access to a digital signal before you get rid of your cable subscription. Use a calculator like Tablo to determine which channels reach your particular neighborhood.

  1.   Upgrade to a Smart TV

Smart TVs combine a traditional TV with a built-in operating system and a host of apps for viewing additional content beyond your typical channel selections. These operating systems work similarly to a smartphone or tablet; you can download apps for things like YouTube, the weather or some of your favorite channels.

If your TV is newer, it may already have smart TV capabilities. If it doesn’t, consider installing a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV, or add a video game console like a PlayStation or Xbox to give your TV a little intelligence boost. These devices open up other possibilities, such as mirroring your TV’s programming on other handheld devices like a tablet or smartphone.

  1.   Wirelessly mirror your computer screen

You can also consider using your laptop or a dedicated computer as the “brain” of your smart TV. Computers allow a substantial level of customization for the interface, but generally require a bit more research and technical savvy than the plug-and-play devices. Use solutions like AirParrot 2 to screen mirror your Mac or Windows computer to receivers such as an Apple TV or Chromecast.

  1.   Calculate your savings

Cutting the cord might not be viable for everyone. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the cost of new hardware and the amount of content you want to access. You can use an online calculator to determine what your final savings will be. And last but not least, you might want to figure out how to spend all the extra money you’ll save.


Cut The Cord On Your Cable Subscription With These Five Tips is a guest post from Alex Haslam of CutCableToday.com.

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!