August 15, 2017

How Schools Save on ClassHub: OETC Edition

We've partnered with many organizations to bring discounts to schools and other educational entities. This blog is part of a series of posts that contain information about saving when purchasing ClassHub. 

Squirrels LLC partnered with the Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum (OETC) to offer members a discount on our device monitoring and management solution, ClassHub. Members also get discounts on our classroom screen-mirroring solutions: Reflector, AirParrot and AirParrot for Chrome OSAll Squirrels products are 10% off for OETC members.

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What is OETC?

OETC is a nonprofit consortium consisting of more than 1,000 educational institutions around the United States. OETC negotiates RFP-backed contracts that make purchasing technology easy and affordable for school districts, libraries and other institutions. All products and solutions are available for purchase on their online store. 

OETC has a team dedicated to helping schools find the solution or product that fits their needs. OETC reps received product training from the Squirrels director of professional development to help them offer ongoing professional development and support.

We're looking forward to working with all 1,000 OETC members and bringing them solutions that make student devices a more integral part of the learning process. 

Save on ClassHub and other Squirrels products

So what steps do you need to take to receive discounts on ClassHub and more through OETC?

  1. Become an OETC member. Members can be:

    - Any accredited educational institution
    - Pre-K, K-12 and Higher Education
    - Public and private institutions
    - Education Service Districts
    - Libraries
    - State Departments of Education

    OETC primarily features districts in the Pacific Northwest, however, schools from every region in the United States (that means you!) are welcome. Here’s how to become an OETC member.

  1. Next, create an OETC store account with your school or institution email to begin purchasing EdTech solutions at consortium pricing.
  1. Contact OETC directly to purchase ClassHub. Reflector, AirParrot and AirParrot for Chrome OS purchases can be made by searching the products in the OETC online store. Simply add them to your cart, and go through the purchasing process.

Why we partnered with OETC

We believe that schools should have access to device monitoring, management and mirroring solutions to help improve classroom collaboration, save time and eliminate common inefficiencies caused by classroom devices. By partnering with OETC, we’re able to do just that.

OETC is committed to providing the best EdTech solutions at the best prices. We’re committed to making EdTech solutions that transform the classroom and streamline the ways teachers teach and students learn. It’s a win-win situation.

For more information about OETC visit www.oetc.org or contact the Squirrels sales team for more information on purchasing ClassHub.

August 7, 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to Stream and Mirror the 2017 PGA Championship

The PGA Championship is the fourth and final major golf tournament of 2017. The championship, which features golfers like Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and more, is set to take place this weekend at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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If you can’t catch every shot on TV (because let’s be honest, our lives are busy), or if you don't have cable to begin with, here’s how you can stream the tournament.

PGAChampionship.com

The PGA website offers viewers live streaming coverage from 8 a.m. EST until end of play Thursday and Friday. You can also catch video highlights throughout the tournament. 

Note: Streaming from this website may not give you full TV coverage. For full coverage of the tournament, use the options listed below.

 

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Sling TV is one of the top ways cord cutters can stream live TV without a cable subscription. Subscribers who choose the Sling Orange package ($20/mo.) or Sling Blue ($25/mo.) have access to TNT, which is the exclusive broadcast and airing provider of the PGA Championship. Only want to use this service for the tournament? You can try it free for seven days. This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast.

directv_now_logo_white.jpegOne of the newest solutions for cord cutters is DirecTV NOW by AT&T. This online streaming service offers more than 60 TV channels, including TNT, for $35/mo. without a contract (or you can try it free for seven days). This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast. 

 

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PlayStation Vue brings another streaming option to cord cutters trying to watch their favorite shows without cable. You can watch the PGA Championship with this solution starting at $40/mo. This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast.

 

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Aside from TNT, the PGA Championship is also notably broadcasted on CBS. CBS All Access will give you live coverage online for only $5.99/mo. This service will only give you coverage of the CBS broadcast.

Note: To use this streaming service, you will need to check market availability here. To ensure full CBS coverage, consider a digital antenna. Here’s how to choose the best antenna for you.

 

Below is the full PGA Championship TV coverage schedule.

Thursday, August 10

1 – 7 p.m. on TNT

Friday, August 11

1 – 7 p.m. on TNT

Saturday, August 12

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on TNT

2 – 7 p.m. on CBS

Sunday, August 13

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on TNT

2 – 7 p.m. on CBS

 

Pro tip:

Nobody wants to watch the final putt of the 18th hole around a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

Enter this link in your Chrome or Firefox browser for PGAChampionship.com, or log in to your Sling TV, DirecTV NOW, PlayStation Vue or CBS All Access account to stream the event. Then open AirParrot and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will allow you to experience all the action on the big screen.

Learn more about the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app.

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August 1, 2017

How to Live Stream Mobile Gameplay to Twitch Using Reflector and Gameshow

Did you know that 800,000 mobile games are available on the App Store? That equates to over a third of the 2.2 million apps offered to iOS users. Did you also know that 75% of revenue generated from the App Store comes from mobile gaming?

That got us thinking: If that many games are housed on the App Store and they generate that much revenue, what technology are people using to show off their skills?

Social video platform services such as Twitch, offer gamers an opportunity to turn their recreational hobby into interactive gaming experiences that others can enjoy. Programs such as Gameshow, XSplit and Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) offer a way for enthusiasts to stream gameplay and connect with friends and fans over a shared love of games. 

We decided to put Gameshow to the test (we’ve already tried out OBS) to see how it works with our Reflector screen-mirroring solution. Pairing Reflector with Gameshow eliminates the need for a lightning or USB cable to connect your device to your computer.

1. Create Twitch Account

To start your streaming experience, you need to sign up for the streaming service, Twitch. On the top right of the Twitch website, select “Sign Up” to create your account. Don’t worry, it’s free!

2. Download and Install Gameshow 

Now that you have a Twitch account, you will need to download and install Gameshow (also free) to share your gaming with the world. This software is compatible with Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Windows 10 64-bit, MacOS X El Capitan and MacOS Sierra.

3. Stream Mobile Games to Twitch

  1. To start, open Reflector 2 to wirelessly mirror your device screen to your computer instead of using a cable. Connect your mobile device to Reflector using its native AirPlay or Cast technology. We recommend mirroring your device screen to Reflector first.
  2. Open Gameshow from your computer Applications.
  3. Gameshow may prompt you to “Register” to be informed about new features and updates. Select “Skip” or “Register.”3.3.png
  4. Click “Start Streaming.”3.4.png
  5. Choose a template for your stream. You can choose one that is already formatted for the game you are streaming, or you can make your own.
  6. In this example we chose to use the “Game” template. Yours may differ.3.5.png
  7. Click “Next”
  8. Next is configuring your document
    1. Stream To: Twitch
    2. Game Title: Enter and select the game you want to stream
    3. Encoder (we are using x264)
    4. Encoder Settings (we are using Twitch: 720p30 x264 1250 kbps)
    5. Twitch Server 3.8.png
  9. Click “Next”
  10. Continue configuring your document
    1. Game Source Type: Computer 
    2. Game Process: Select Reflector 2
    3. Windows: Your device name and type should automatically appear (if your device is connected to Reflector 2) 3.10.png
  11. Click “Next”
  12. The Gameshow window will appear on your screen
  13. The document that you just configured will appear under “Master Layer 1” in the template you selected3.12.png
  14. Click on your document so it appears in your preview in the Gameshow window3.14.png
  15. Click “Output” in the menu bar and select “Output Settings” 3.15.png
  16. Select your stream settings
    1. Destination: Twitch
    2. Authenticate Twitch account
    3. Ingest Server (same as what you selected when configuring document)
    4. Encoder (same as what you selected when configuring document)
    5. Encoding (same as what you selected when configuring document)
    6. Optional: Record Settings 3.16.png
  17. Click “OK”
  18. Click “Output” in the menu bar, hover over “Start/Stop Broadcasting” and select “Start Twitch: [stream key]” 3.18.png
  19. Click “Output” again, hover over “Twitch” and select “Active Broadcast.” This will open up your Twitch account in your preferred browser. 3.19.png
  20. Click “Go” below your preview window in Gameshow

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21.  What you see in the Gameshow window should be the same image that appears in your “Video Preview” on your Twitch dashboard page and on your channel homepage. There may be a slight delay of up to 30 seconds.3.21.png

Note: It may take a few minutes to connect depending on your network conditions. Additionally, you may need to refresh the Twitch website if the stream does not appear immediately.

Now you’re ready to share your gaming skills with your Twitch audience. Get the Reflector screen-mirroring software to begin live streaming your iOS or Android devices to Twitch. 

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.

July 11, 2017

That’s a Wrap! Our ISTE 2017 and EdTech Karaoke Roundup

We spend plenty of time planning and prepping for the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference and Expo, and for good reason! ISTE is the largest education technology conference in the United States, providing 21,000 attendees with access to workshops, sessions, keynotes and nearly 500 exhibitors. It’s hard to believe this was our fifth time exhibiting.

Our fifth experience as an exhibitor was unforgettable. We wanted to thank you all for the memories and share our key takeaways. 

Here are six points to note about ISTE 2017:

  1. ISTE continues to grow every year! The number of educators from ISTE 2016 to ISTE 2017 grew from 16,000 educators to 21,000 educators – and it showed! The expo hall was packed with educators ready to learn, connect and discover everything and everyone in the EdTech world. This enthusiasm is what makes ISTE a can’t-miss event for exhibitors like Squirrels.
  2. The expo hall had a variety of products – there wasn’t just one that ruled the floor. ISTE had it all - from device-management solutions and interactive whiteboards, to cases for student devices and flexible seating.
  3. EdTech Karaoke is VERY important to us. So much so that we were one of the main sponsors this year. More on that in a minute.

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  1. Putting together and taking down our tree booth will always be taxing, but it’s a great team-building exercise….literally! How could moving 800 pounds of wooden walls for 10 hours not bring our team closer together?

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  1. Our Alpha Squirrel EdTech experts ROCK! We were lucky enough to connect and meet with more than 30 Alpha Squirrel educators who use and love our classroom products. If any of you stopped by our booth, you may have seen one or two of them presenting with our COO, Andrew Gould, or our Director of Professional Development, Becky Shiring.

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  1. The Squirrels team loves Mexican food, and Texas has some of the best. We hosted our second annual Alpha Squirrel Social at the Iron Cactus, located along the San Antonio River Walk. The margaritas were cold, the queso was hot and the company was delightful.

EdTech Karaoke 2017

Remember when we said that we were a sponsor for EdTech Karaoke? It was certainly a night to remember as our team serenaded the theater with “Sweet Caroline,” did an EdTech Karaoke Twitter takeover and threw stress-ball microphones into the crowd. Our singing may be out of tune and our aim might be off, but that didn’t stop us from having a good time!

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EdTech Karaoke Winner Interview

EdTech Karaoke isn’t just for fun. A champion is crowned. We were lucky enough to speak with the winner from the night, Susan Grigsby. Grigsby is the District Media Specialist from Forsyth County Schools in Atlanta.

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We actually knew her before she was karaoke-famous because earlier that day, she stopped by to check out an in-booth presentation on our awesome new device-management solution. Talk about a brush with greatness.

Grigsby started out the competition with her rendition of “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi and won with the crowd favorite, “Proud Mary,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Good move, Susan. Good move.

Turns out this wasn’t her first time at ISTE, and it wasn’t her first time singing at EdTech Karaoke either.

“I’ve been coming to ISTE since 2014,” Grigsby said.

When asked if she has been singing at EdTech Karaoke since 2014, Grigsby responded modestly and with a smile, “I sang in 2014, yes.”

But, she didn’t just sing in 2014, she also won that year. Clearly Susan is no rookie when it comes to EdTech Karaoke. So how does this new accomplishment make her feel?

“It feels amazing! I’m going to Disney World,” Grigsby said.

Grigsby may be going to Disney World, but her EdTech Karaoke title also won her a trip to ISTE 2018 in Chicago. All the best, Susan, and we’ll see you there!

Stay tuned for our next big conference (or EdTech Karaoke) adventure. Until then, enjoy all the songs performed at EdTech Karaoke – ISTE 2017 edition -- with this Spotify playlist.

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!