February 14, 2017

Squirrels Team Shares New Technology at OETC

The Squirrels team is in Columbus all week for our third conference of 2017: the Ohio Educational Technology Conference (OETC). OETC is one of our favorite conferences of the year because it gives us a chance to connect with local educators in our home state.

OETC has more than 300 vendors and more than 4,000 educational technology professionals and enthusiasts from all over the country. It’s a great place for educators and innovators to network with their peers and share their ideas. Did we mention OETC has EdTech Karaoke?

While our Reflector software will be on display as usual, OETC attendees should also get excited to see what’s next from Squirrels. We scheduled presentations at the Squirrels booth all week to give you a sneak peek at a new technology that will change the way educators use classroom devices. You’re going to love it!

Below is a complete list of all the OETC sessions that feature Alpha Squirrels presenters.

Tuesday, February 14

Leah Lacrosse (with Jon Smith)
Student Publishing with eBook Creator App
C171
2:00-5:00 p.m.

Leslie Fisher
Manage Devices
Short North Ballroom A
2:00-5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, February 15

Leah Lacrosse (with Jonathon Jarc)
3D Printing for a Purpose
C150
8:00-8:45 a.m.

Leslie Fisher
How to Make Student Devices Teacher Friendly
Union Station Ballroom B
11:00-11:45 a.m.

Leslie Fisher
Featured Speaker Session
Union Station Ballroom B
1:15-2:15 p.m.

Thursday, February 16

Marcia Kish
The Personalized Learning Playbook
Short North Ballroom A
8:00-8:45 a.m.

Laurie Green
Do You Compute? Online Assessment Skills
Short North Ballroom B-2
8:00-8:45 a.m.

Laurie Green
Make-ing it Happen
Short North Ballroom B-2
11:00-11:45 a.m.

Squirrels Booth Presentations (booth #801)

Wednesday, February 15

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.
11:45 – 12:00 p.m.
12:45 – 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, February 16

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.

Columbus is the place to be this week! We hope to see you at OETC in booth #801!

 

January 24, 2017

Meet the Alpha Squirrels at FETC 2017!

Want a chance to meet our amazing group of Alpha Squirrels or see them present? Now’s your chance (you have 31 chances to be exact)!

Below is a complete list of all the FETC sessions that feature our Alpha Squirrels. You may even hear about/see a familiar classroom screen-mirroring solution in action!

FETC Alpha Squirrel Sessions:

Tuesday, January 24
8-10:30 a.m.
David Lockhart
W133: Apple Lovers Delight
@bigguyinabowtie

11-1:30 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
W062: Effective Photo and Video on Your Mobile Devices
@lesliefisher

11-1:30 p.m.
Katrina Keene
W038: Minecraft Education Edition: Building Blocks to Engage Your Students
@teachintechgal

11-1:30 p.m.
Marcia Kish
W026: Blended or On the Rocks: Mixing Up Your Own Blended Learning Environment
@dsdPD

5:00-7:30 p.m.
David Lockhart
W136: Becoming a Presentation Master: Apple Edition
@bigguyinabowtie

5-7:30 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
W064: iPad A to Z: It’s ALL About the APPS
@lesliefisher

5-7:30 p.m.
Marcia Kish
W112: App Smashing: Tips and Tricks for IT Professionals Using Google Apps and Add-Ons to Achieve Personalized, Blended Learning
@dsdPD

Wednesday, January 25
8-10:30 a.m.
Katrina Keene
W077: BYODigital Leadership: Building a Grade-A Culture
@teachintechgal

8-10:30 a.m.
Marcia Kish
W089: Personalized Learning Playbook: Creating a Game Plan for Personalized Learning
@dsdPD

11-1:30 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
W114: Augment Your Reality
@lesliefisher

4-4:20 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
SB03: How to Set Up and Deploy Google Classroom
@lesliefisher

Thursday, January 26
8-10:30 a.m.
Kathy Schrock
W067: Visual Notetaking in the Classroom Workshop: iPad, Android, Windows Tablet, or Paper/Pencil
@kathyschrock

8:30-9:45 a.m.
Michael Meechin
General Session: STEM Excellence Awards & Keynote – A Wake-Up Call: Breaking Down Barriers to High-Impact Instruction
@mikemeechin

10-11 a.m.
Katrina Keene
C103: Top Tech Toys to Transform your Classroom
@teachintechgal

10-11 a.m.
Leslie Fisher
C120: Mobile Tools You Can Use Tomorrow
@lesliefisher

10-11 a.m.
Marcia Kish
C107: Secret Ingredients to Blended and Personalized Learning
@dsdPD

12-12:40 p.m.
Kathy Schrock
C203: Virtual Reality: Using and Creating in the Classroom
@kathyschrock

1-1:40 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
C319: The Group Smackdown: Best Teacher-Approved EdTech Tools for the Classroom
@lesliefisher

1-1:40 p.m.
Katrina Keene
C317: Don’t Be Afraid: Ed Tech Companies Won’t Byte!
@teachintechgal

2-2:40 p.m.
Jennifer Williams
Katrina Keene
Courtney Kofeldt
David Lockhart
Billy Spicer
C420: Crafting the Next-Generation Classroom: An Immersive Experience with Nearpod.
@JenWilliamsEdu
@teachintechgal
@CourtneyKofeldt
@bigguyinabowtie
@MrBillySpicer

2-2:40 p.m.
David Lockhart
C414: A Wearable World
@bigguyinabowtie

2-4:30 p.m.
Rob Zdrojewski
W141: The Art of Screencasting: “Teacher-On-Demand” is Now Possible!
@MrZtechTV

3:20-4:00 p.m.
Katrina Keene
C520: Exciting Digital Technology Tools
@teachintechgal

4:20-5:00 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
C619: Leftovers with Leslie: Technology Gadgets, Apps and Websites You Have Not Heard About Yet!
@lesliefisher

4:20-5:00 p.m.
Jennifer Williams
C615: Trending Topics in Early Literacy: Practices & Tools for the Early Childhood Classroom
@JenWilliamsEdu

5-7:30 p.m.
David Lockhart
W034: EdTech Mystery Skype! Have Your Questions Answered!
@bigguyinabowtie

Friday, January 27
8-10:30 a.m.
Rob Zdrojewski
W167: Unlimited Possibilities: Greenscreen Video Production Using iPads!
@MrZtechTV

8:30-9:30 a.m.
Kathy Schrock
Leslie Fisher
General Session: Tech Share Live
@kathyschrock
@lesliefisher

10-11 a.m.
Michael Meechin
C719: Sixty in Sixty: 60 Instructional Technologies in 60 Minutes
@mikemeechin

12-12:40 p.m.
Kathy Schrock
C803: Visual Notetaking in the Classroom
@kathyschrock

12-12:20 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
SB23: How to Use Adobe Spark Video and Spark Page
@lesliefisher

January 23, 2017

Squirrels Presents Classroom Technology at Bett and FETC

Who run the world? Squirrels!

Thirteen members of the Squirrels team will travel a total of more than 9,400 miles by plane, cab, Uber and train to Orlando, Florida, and London to attend two of the world’s premier EdTech conferences.

British Educational Training and Technology Show (Bett)
January 25-28
London, England

The Squirrels team is set to attend the Bett Show for the second time. We’re eager to show more than 34,000 educators, administrators and EdTech professionals from over 138 countries how our products and services are used in the classroom.

This international EdTech conference is designed to create a better future by transforming education and bringing people, ideas, practices and technologies together so educators and learners can reach their full potential. Every educator can make a difference in education given the opportunity, which is what Bett aims to provide.

Featured conference keynotes include:

  • Imogen Heap – Friday, January 27 2:55 p.m. in the Bett Arena
  • Sir Ken Robinson – Friday, January 27 4:30 p.m. in the Bett Arena
  • Abdul Chohan – Wednesday, January 25 10:40 p.m. in the Bett Arena
  • Anthony Salcito – Wednesday, January 25 3:10 p.m. in the Bett Arena

If you’re attending Bett feel free to stop by and say hello to the Squirrels team in booth E378! We would love the chance to meet and connect with our international customers and friends!

Future of Education Technology (FETC)
January 24-27
Orland, Florida

While four members of our team are busy in London, the other seven will be in Orlando exhibiting at the 37th National FETC conference. FETC is one of the largest EdTech conferences where preK-12 educators connect and collaborate to learn how to leverage technology for student success.

If you are attending FETC, make sure to catch these EdTech leaders at one of their sessions:

  • Blended Learning Coach, Marcia Kish
  • Director of Innovation and Co-Founder of Edventure Quests, Katrina Keene
  • Literacy Specialist at Calliope Global and Professor at Saint Leo University, Jennifer Williams
  • EdTech Specialist at Kennesaw State University, David Lockhart
  • Educational Technology Professional Development Trainer, Kathy Schrock
  • Principal at Poinciana High School, Michael Meechin
  • Instructional Coach, Billy Spicer
  • Educational Technology Coordinator at PA Leadership Charter School, Courtney Kofeldt
  • Director of Fisher Technologies Inc., Leslie Fisher
  • K-12 Director of Instructional Technology at Oakland-Alabama Central Schools and Adjunct Professor of Educational Technologies at Canisius College, Rob Zdrojewski

Squirrels co-founder Andrew Gould will give in-booth presentations featuring our new classroom technology on the following days:

Wednesday, January 25
3:15 p.m.
4:15 p.m.

Thursday, January 26
9:45 a.m.
2:45 p.m.
4:00 p.m.

Friday, January 27
9:45 a.m.
11:15 a.m.

Stop by booth #1945 to say hi to the Squirrels team, demo our products and learn about our newest EdTech solution!

Happy learning, all! To see where the Squirrels team will be this year, check out our 2017 conference schedule.

November 16, 2016

Oh, Brazil: Alpha Squirrel Guest Post, Part Three

This is the third post in a three-part blog series* featuring Alpha Squirrel EdTech Expert Marc Faulder. Marc is an educator and Interactive Technologies Leader at Burton Joyce Primary School in the U.K. He has spent the past two years working with the University of Nottingham in England on a research project about closing the math gap for marginalized students using tablets and math apps. They used math apps from onebillion, a London-based nonprofit, to measure the impact that this intervention has on learning.

Marc is traveling to Brazil with his team to continue the research project and scope out the possibility of launching the onebillion initiative in Brazil. They’ll also train teachers on the use of technology in the classroom. Read part one and part two of Marc’s journey.

Oh, Brazil
Our time in Brazil wrapped up with a visit at the mayor’s office and a meeting with the University of Pernambuco at the British Consulate. Both of these meetings were organized to plan for the future. Great progress has been made with local schools and partners here over the last 13 days. Moving forward with the onebillion math intervention seems likely. On my final visit to ABA Global school, I was presented with a gift from Francisco Gomes de Matos, peace linguist and President of the Board at ABA Global Education:

“Oh, Brazil, about you what can I foresee well? You will be internationally admired. You will be educationally developed. You will be scientifically and technologically advanced. You will be interculturally comprehended.”

This resonates with me and our trip here. This articulates our goal to work with Brazil and assures me that Brazil makes a perfect partner for our projects and research.

In my first blog post, I explained three projects we brought to Brazil:

  1. Closing the Gap in Math – “How can mobile technology and the onebillion software support marginalized learners?”

MarcF3.1MarcF3.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March 2017, Laura Outhwaite (Ph.D. student in the School of Psychology at the University of Nottingham) will return to Recife, Brazil, to work with ABA and DAMAS schools to pre-test children. Teachers will then implement the math gap intervention for 12 weeks. This will happen in English, Portuguese and with a control class – a design based on an international model used in England, Canada, South Africa and Malawi. During my visit, teachers have been trained to use the onebillion software. They are excited about this intervention. The teachers have also had a hand in designing the study so that it works with their curriculum and timetable. Laura will return again in June 2017 for a post-test and to receive feedback from teachers. Afterwards, the findings will be included in an international, cross-cultural evaluation of the software. And as the research is teacher-led, the schools will continue using the software and support the likely expansion of this project in Recife. Beyond the pilot study, there has been great interest with other partners in this work. We look forward to the possibility of expanding this project beyond the pilot study.

  1. Stories of a Lifetime – “How might we keep local legends, myths and fables alive while also sharing our place in the world?”

MarcF3.3MarcF3.4MarcF3.5

 

 

 

 

 

ABA and DAMAS schools both joined the project, and in our second week here a third school, Red Balloon in San Paulo, Brazil, joined as well. These three schools will use the project with different aged children who will research and retell folklore from Brazil and Recife. On my final project day in Recife, I taught a group of children at ABA Global School. Part of this lesson time introduced them to the Stories of a Lifetime project. They learned the story of Robin Hood, designed their characters and retold the story in their own words using Puppet Pals. I will share this response to the story back in my school with Digital Leaders and upload this work to the Stories of a Lifetime website.

  1. Connecting Classes Across Continents – “How might we develop deeper understanding through the use of global connections to broaden learners’ perspectives?”

MarcF3.6

In my second week, I returned to ABA Global School to work with a group of Year Five children on this project. They spent time with me learning about Nottingham and they read the book about Burton Joyce, authored by Year Six children form my school. They met with the Burton Joyce children over FaceTime and exchanged knowledge about their place in the world. Following this visit, they will work on their own school book to share with Burton Joyce children and a second call will take place when I return to work. These two books will be combined as a case study text and published to the iBooks Store in the same style as the collaborative book my school published with St. Francis Xavier, Goa.

I have learned that visiting schools is a great way to share knowledge and expertise. Being in a setting gives many more opportunities to collaborate and provide practical ideas bespoke to that place. I’ve learned this through my own consultancy role in England and from managing the Apple Regional Training Centre in Nottingham. Applying this to an international context has been a beneficial way to further develop my skills as a leader and advocate of educational technology.

An international visit is much different to working with schools at home. Even though we had an agenda planned, opportunities arose that were unexpected. New relationships brought about detailed discussions that allowed our plans to evolve quickly. We had no contacts to rural schools before this trip, but we were able to make a visit because of the relationships we formed in our first few days. The advice from The British Consulate gave new avenues for collaboration beyond our visit. We have so many more contacts and ideas to explore now.
Meeting teachers in schools with technology gave new opportunities for me to share my projects and develop them in new, exciting ways with educators beyond the Apple Distinguished Educator network. Our priority was to launch a pilot study of the onebillion software in Recife, and this was finalized by the end of our trip with training provided to teachers and an implementation designed with school coordinators.

MarcF3.8Working with researchers and academics has been very interesting as well. My partnership with The University of Nottingham began over 18 months ago with the evaluation of the onebillion apps in the U.K. I’ve been involved in study design, implementation and evaluation of this research in the U.K. To have an involvement in the beginnings of a new pilot study in Brazil is very rewarding. I offered my own, first-hand knowledge and experience as a teacher and leader who has implemented a similar, successful pilot study. I explained the positive impact this study had on the children that I teach in math and other areas of learning. I look forward to offering support to these educators as they begin implementing their pilot of the onebillion software in Recife.

Working internationally has taught me three things:

  • Time is precious
  • Relationships are key to success
  • The work is hard

Moments of high energy and inspiration are met with moments of complications or exhaustion.  Problem solving, decision making and patience are needed as agendas change and challenges arise. Our plan altered on a daily basis. We were always on the go preparing for the next unexpected meeting whilst reflecting on the one we had just had. But when you see the children who deserve quality education, and you believe that technology can unlock talent, you know that the hard work for these children will pay off.

MarcF3.9
Jose Guido Correa de Araujo, Emeritus Professor, International Relations Officer, University of Pernambuco

As I board my first of three flights back to the U.K., I leave Recife looking forward to collaborating with all of the friends I have met here. I look forward to seeing Connecting Classes grow with a new link school and case study publication growth. I look forward to seeing Brazilian legends told in Stories of a Lifetime. And I look forward to working on Brazil’s first pilot of the onebillion software in March 2017.

MarcF3.11

“Oh, Brazil, what will be your legacy to every coming generation? Oh, Brazil, may all of these things happen to you; may you inspire Brazilians only good things to do” 

I would like to thank Squirrels for their support with this visit, for sharing my story and showcasing what is possible when technology enables quality learning. I need to thank the Apple Distinguished Educators who work tirelessly on projects which have a truly global reach. I thank them for committing their own time to these innovations and for encouraging me to share them beyond our community. I also send much love to Marie Neves for her friendship before, during and after this trip; see you in December! And also to Ricardo; our dedicated driver, intelligent interpreter and gracious guide.

I must end with a thank you to my partners at The University of Nottingham, particularly Dr. Nicola Pitchford. The time that you invest in my work, and the support you give me, means so much. This trip has been a career highlight. Thank You.

*Marc submitted this post to Squirrels on November 3, 2016. You can contact Marc and follow his education journey on Twitter

November 7, 2016

Alpha Squirrel Guest Post: Using Technology To Improve Math Education In Brazil, Part Two

This is the second of a three-part blog series* featuring Alpha Squirrel EdTech Expert Marc Faulder. Marc is an educator and Interactive Technologies Leader at Burton Joyce Primary School in the U.K. He has spent the past two years working with the University of Nottingham in England on a research project about closing the math gap for marginalized students using tablets and math apps. They used math apps from onebillion, a London-based nonprofit, to measure the impact that this intervention has on learning.

Marc is traveling to Brazil with his team to continue the research project and scope out the possibility of launching the onebillion initiative in Brazil. They’ll also train teachers on the use of technology in the classroom. Read part one of Marc’s journey.

Learning Gains in Brazil
It was a successful first week in Recife, Brazil, and our agenda took new directions each day. Our time was flexible because we initially dedicated much of it to observation and knowledge exchange. We were able to follow the lead of our local partners to maximize the opportunities for this scoping visit.

Recife2

Projects Shared
During the first week, we met with teachers, researchers and professionals from various organizations and schools. Marie Neves from CESAR was instrumental in initiating these relationships, arranging meetings with ABA Global School, DAMAS School and The British Consulate. In all three meetings, we spent time learning about their positions in this region. We also agreed to visit a rural school based outside of the town of Escada, Brazil.

With each partner, we shared three of the projects that we are bringing to Brazil:

  • Closing the Gap in Math – How can mobile technology and the onebillion software support marginalized learners?
  • Stories of a Lifetime – How might we keep local legends, myths and fables alive while also sharing our place in the world?
  • Connecting Classes Across Continents – How might we develop deeper understanding through the use of global connections to broaden learners’ perspectives?

Recife3

DAMAS school picked up two of the three projects we presented. They are particularly interested in joining the global research project in Closing the Gap in Math, as well as Stories of a Lifetime. ABA Global School will be joining us on all three projects. At The British Consulate, we gained expert advice on how best to scale up these projects in Brazil and who to approach for support in further developing our outreach here in Recife.

Recife5

One school visit we made on Friday was extraordinary. Driving inland, we saw life in rural Recife and found our way to the town of Escada. Just beyond the town, we stopped at a village built by a sugar cane factory. The villagers work on the planation, and the State of Recife provides schooling for the children at Dr. Jose Henrique Municipal School. Local people helped us find the school and introduced us to Regina, a school coordinator. She was very welcoming and showed us around. We met other staff and children at the school. It was a good opportunity to make the comparison between city and rural life in Recife. We also had a chance to share the onebillion math project with the head teacher, who had never used tablet technology before. Amazed by what she saw in the Portuguese version of the app, she agreed that this would transform math learning in her school.

Recife7

This visit allowed me to make use of the Book Creator text that the Burton Joyce children authored for ABA. The staff and children at Dr. Jose Henrique Municipal School were able to step inside Burton Joyce through the use of technology and see what life is like elsewhere in the world. The U.K.’s green fields and open spaces were a contrast for them but similarities were drawn from soccer and music. After an hour at the school, we exchanged contact information, and we plan on working together on a project in the future.

Recife6

Knowledge Exchanged
Meeting Roberta Ferraz at ABA Global School has been a highlight of my trip. Roberta is the Educational Technology Coordinator at this primary school and is a passionate educator who brings new ideas to the school curriculum. Working on many initiatives herself, including podcasting programs and student cinema projects, she was very inspired by Stories of a Lifetime and Connecting Classes Across Continents. Roberta will coordinate the pilot study of the cross-cultural math evaluation of the onebillion software.

Recife8

Leading up to my visit, children at my school authored a Book Creator text about Burton Joyce Primary School and life in their village. Roberta invited me to co-teach with her when I return to the U.K. next week and share this book with students at ABA. We have organized a FaceTime call between our classes at Burton Joyce and ABA so that children can connect over this personal text. Following this lesson, students will begin working on their own book about ABA school and Recife, which will be sent to us at Burton Joyce. This exciting project builds on the work I did with St. Francis Xavier School, Goa, back in 2015. I look forward to publishing a second global book in this series at the end of this collaboration, as well as extend the reach of the Connecting Classes Across Continents program.

Daniella, a coordinator at DAMAS school, is going to bring Stories of a Lifetime to her school alongside Roberta at ABA. Stories of a Lifetime celebrates local legends, myths and folklore in localities. Children who work on this project will research, script and illustrate their retelling of this local story. This can be in their first language with English subtitles or told in English. Once their story project is complete, teachers upload this three-minute video story to Vimeo and share the link with myself and ADE Jason Milner. We embed their video story in their country portfolio on the Stories of a Lifetime website for other schools to use as a learning resource. Those schools who access these stories are encouraged to respond in their own way via their school blogs and share this work as comments on the school’s Vimeo profile. You can find out more about this project on YouTube. 

Professional Learning
Daniella (DAMAS Coordinator) and Roberta (ABA Coordinator) have invited me to visit their schools next week to provide training to their staff. I will help their teachers learn how to best utilize their tablets so they can work with Stories of a Lifetime. We will also train staff to use the onebillion software and show them how to implement this teacher-led intervention in their part of this cross-cultural study. Roberta is very keen to develop the use of technology in early years at ABA, and I will be showcasing my class’s work with iPads to the ABA teaching staff.

My own professional learning has benefited from working internationally. There have been many opportunities to reflect on my practice and learn how best to collaborate with teachers abroad. As an Apple Distinguished Educator, I am experienced in collaborating with teachers inside of this network. To apply this skill internationally, as an educator visiting from abroad, has been very useful to me. With four days left on this trip, I look forward to a week of professional development and project implementation with our new partners.

*Marc submitted this post to Squirrels on October 31, 2016. You can contact Marc and follow his adventure on Twitter