January 22, 2018

Vote Alpha Squirrel Session Proposals to ISTE 2018

For the first time ever, the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is asking you to help pick session topics for its annual conference and expo in Chicago!

The People’s Choice contest allows anyone to vote for their favorite proposal ideas. ISTE will include the top vote getters in the final conference agenda.

We’re proud to announce that we have 10 Alpha Squirrels in the running to present at ISTE 2018, as well as Squirrels director of professional development Becky Shiring. 

Vote now through January 26 until 5 p.m. Browse proposals and vote for as many as you like. As Cady Heron from the movie “Mean Girls” would say, the limit does not exist!

Click the links below to vote for Alpha Squirrel sessions.

Phil Hintz (co-presenter Carl Hooker, Leo Brehm, Adam Phyall)The 4 Horsemen of the APPocalypse
Phil HintzCoding Across the Curriculum: Building a Culture of Coding in Elementary Classrooms
Travis LapeEliminate Grade Levels and Empower Learners to Drive Their Learning
David LockhartBuilding it up with Bloxels
David LockhartThe Super Spark: 60 Tools to Start the Fire
Natasha Rachell/Felissa Ford/Melissa Dandy WalkerPeanut Butter and Jelly, Google and Microsoft, You Don’t Have to Pick
Natasha Rachell (co-presenter Aleigha Henderson-Rosser)Facebook/Twitter Took Over Our District and We Couldn’t Be Happier
Tricia LouisIs Your District Web Content Accessible
Billy SpicerSmart Video Creation to Empower the Student Broadcaster, Reporter and Reflective Learner
Rosalyn WashingtonElevating Student Voice with Hip Hop and Instructional Technology
Jason Davidson (co-presenter Eric Bennet)Pod Save the Classroom: Podcasting in Education
Angie Kalthoff (co-presenter Diana Fenton)Beyond the Hour of Code
Raymond Africa - Empowering Student Voice Through EdTech Apps
Becky ShiringIt’s Getting’ HOTT in Here: Promoting Higher Order Thinking with Technology

Get ready. Get set. Get voting! This is your chance to help shape the 2018 ISTE Conference and Expo. 

Attend the winning sessions starting Sunday, June 24, at ISTE 2018 in Chicago.

December 22, 2017

Squirrels LLC Introduces New Class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts

The next Alpha Squirrels class adds 10 EdTech experts from three countries (U.S., Canada and the U.K.) and eight states (Michigan, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio). Our Alpha Squirrels program now includes more than 125 education professionals from around the world.

Meet the newest members: 

Check out our full list of Alpha Squirrels team members!

What is the Alpha Squirrels program?

The Alpha Squirrels program brings together a community of like-minded individuals. Alpha Squirrels are experts and advocates in education who attend and speak at industry conferences around the world. They share expertise with fellow education professionals and have the opportunity to influence the direction of our technology advancements. 

Alpha Squirrels receive free licenses of Squirrels products such as Reflector Teacher and AirParrot 2 to use in classrooms or during presentations. They also receive first notice of new product releases.

Want to meet an Alpha Squirrel? Over the next few months, you can catch some of the Alpha Squirrels at FETC in Orlando, CUE in Palm Springs or ISTE 2018 in Chicago.

Alpha Squirrels benefits include:

  • Squirrels-sponsored conference attendance
  • Squirrels-sponsored speaking engagements
  • Opportunities to appear in video interviews
  • Feature on the Squirrels blog or social media accounts
  • Product training
  • #SquirrelsChat moderation
  • Welcome package including T-Shirt, coffee mug/tumbler, sticky notes, water bottle, headphones, pens, pencils
  • Chance to visit Squirrels headquarters

The entire Squirrels team congratulates all of our new Alpha Squirrels! We’re excited to do big things together in the education community. 

We will begin the selection process for the Spring 2018 Alpha Squirrels class in March 2018. Apply today at alpha.airsquirrels.com.

Are you a teacher or EdTech professional interested in becoming a certified Alpha Squirrel? Contact Emily Carle Hafer at alpha@airsquirrels.com for information about our next class of Alpha Squirrels.

December 20, 2017

#SquirrelsChat Recap: Computer Science + Coding in the Classroom

Students need certain skills to survive and thrive in our digital world.

Problem solving. Critical thinking. Designing. Creating. 

These are the skills that worksheets and busy work simply cannot provide.

But coding can.

The December #SquirrelsChat took a dive into the topic of coding as innovative educators shared strategy, real-world examples, advice, resources and more for teaching computer science. This chat focused on the first three practices of the K-12 Computer Science Framework.

Building an inclusive computing culture

Considering the needs of all students is essential to producing an inclusive computing culture. Start by involving all students and make coding part of everything they do. Build it into the curriculum, form computer science teams, create after-school clubs, etc. This allows all students to experience coding, incorporate it into what interests them and increase their enthusiasm about the topic.

Collaboration in the classroom

Effective collaboration can lead to better computing outcomes in the classroom. Give students opportunities to work together, talk, build and create. Encourage leadership and team building by allowing students that have more experience to help and teach others.

Applying computational skills

Being able to recognize opportunities to apply computational thinking is a skill that is central to coding. Let’s take a look at a few real life applications from educators using this approach in the classroom.

Hour of Code

This year, 153,941 events registered for the Hour of Code. This global movement is a way of bringing awareness to coding and an introduction to computer science. Anyone can participate in and organize an Hour of Code event. Here are some first-hand experiences.

Coding and computer science resources

There are many computer science resources, programs and applications that help educators jump into coding – Kodable, Minecraft and Code.org to name a few. Take some time to research the tools that make it easy to introduce concepts to students. Remember, start small!

Related reading: Are We Too Late for Computer Science?

How to bring computer science into the classroom

Implementing computer science into the classroom is daunting. Many educators don’t know where to start. A good place to begin is to connect with others, do research, don’t be afraid to ask students for help and jump in. Coding is fun, it’s everywhere and anyone can do it!

Want more great insight into the world of education?

Join #SquirrelsChat every first and third Thursday of the month starting in January 2018. You can stay up-to-date on topics, moderators and any time/date changes by following us on Twitter (@Squirrels). 

Coming up on January 4: Tasks Before Apps with host Monica Burns.

November 8, 2017

Squirrels Team Attends Georgia Educational Technology Conference

The temperatures are dropping, and that means one thing –  the Squirrels team is headed south for the winter.

Okay, not really. But members of our team are traveling south this week to exhibit at the 30th annual Georgia Educational Technology Conference (GaETC) in Atlanta.

Technology coordinators, media specialists, district administrators, superintendents and more will have the opportunity to learn about the latest in education technology and understand how technology plays a key role in education. And most of all, the more than 4,200 education professionals in attendance can join Squirrels to learn how to easily monitor and manage the wide range of student devices used in their schools (booth 733). Sounds enticing, right?

GaETC is dedicated to professional development of educators and gives attendees access to more than 250 concurrent sessions, nationally-known speakers, workshops focusing on the latest in technology innovations and over 200 exhibitors. 

What are some sessions that should be on your radar?
We’ve got a few in mind from our director of professional development, Becky Shiring, and certified Alpha Squirrels. Check out the session details below. Plus, our friend Leslie Fisher presents 12 times. View her session details here.

Wednesday, November 10
David Lockhart
What if We Ran Our Schools Like Google?
11 – 11:55 a.m.
Italian 1-2

The Best Setup…Googlifying Your Apple Device
1:30 – 2:25 p.m.
Kenyan 1-2

Super Spark: Tools To Start the Fire
4:30 – 5:25 p.m.
Gulfstream I

Thursday, November 9
Katrina Keene
BYODigital Leadership: Building a Grade A Culture
8 – 8:55 a.m.
Swiss 1-2

Leadership Discussion Panel – Interoperability
11- 11:55 a.m.
Salon 6

David Lockhart
Become Future Ready! Start Coding Today!
11 – 11:55 a.m.
Salon 7

The Wallet Killer Gadget Extravaganza
3:15 – 4:10 p.m.
Salon 7

The 5 Steps to Blend that Classroom Up
4:30 – 5:25 p.m.
Salon 7

Becky Shiring
Rethinking Assessment: Digital Tools to Engage, Assess and Differentiate
3:15 – 4:10 p.m.
Room Swiss 3-4

Friday, November 10
David Lockhart
Become Future Ready! Start Coding Today!
9:45 – 10:40 a.m.
Australian 3-4

Ready to talk EdTech with the Squirrels team? Stop by booth 733!

GaETC 2017
November 8 – 10
Georgia International Convention Center
Atlanta, Georgia
Booth #733

June 5, 2017

Squirrels Summer 2017 Reading List

SUMMER READING.png

The school year is over, vacations are on the horizon and oh yeah, ISTE is this month! After the seemingly endless hours of grading papers and preparing lesson plans, summer is the perfect time for educators to relish in the successes of the school year and rejuvenate for the next. So we ask - what better way to do this than with a good book in hand?

To help you find the perfect summer book, members of the Squirrels team share their recommendations below.

 Becky Shiring
Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning

“The Curious Case of Sidd Finch” by George Plimpton
A hilarious book that stemmed from an April Fools’ Day joke article in Sports Illustrated about a baseball player that can throw 168 mph. What more do you need?

“Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World” by Bruce Schneier
This book is a totally shocking look into how governments and corporations collect data on us every day. Most people are apathetic about privacy issues, but this book will change your mind.

“Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell
This is an epic book that beautifully weaves through time. Mitchell has an amazing ability to write with a different voice through each period of time. 

“The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why” by Amanda Ripley
This book totally changed the way I look at the situations I'm in. It basically says that people survive because they practice what to do in emergencies. Also, always look for the exit when you enter a new room!

Jessica Chevalier
Director of Business Intelligence

“Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia” by Elizabeth Gilbert
It's a great reminder that we learn a lot about ourselves when we step out of our comfort zones. 

Joseph McCulty
Business Analyst 

“Sula” by Toni Morrison
"Sula" is close to "Sulu" and Toni Morrison kind of looks like Uhura. The book itself is decent, but sadly not about Star Trek. 

Connal Kelly
Account Executive 

“The Good Girl” by Mary Kubica
Thriller that keeps you turning the page!

Alissa McGill
Developer Relations Engineer

“Mistress of Dragons” by Margaret Weis
Unique and epic fantasy. Written by one of the authors of the Dragonlance books. It is like Eragon but with more grit and adult themes.

Aaron Rinier

Director of Customer Support

“Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard
I really enjoyed reading about Kennedy's time in WW2 in the Navy, and how it influenced the rest of his life. There are a lot of interesting facts about him that I was never taught in school.  Very easy to read also.

Stephen Gerstacker
Senior Developer 

“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert A. Heinlein
This book is an interesting reflection on the current political and cultural climate that we're experiencing today. 

Ashley Swinehart
Jr. Front End Web Developer

“Filters Against Folly: How To Survive Despite Economists, Ecologists, and the Merely Eloquent” by Garret Hardin
This book tells you how to think and make decisions through these 'filters' in judgment which must be considered. It's a timeless reference for problem solving.

Mike Bruin
Technical Support Rep

“The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism” by Naoki Higashida
I like this book because it is a quick but vivid and fascinating look into the mind of a special needs child.

Keirsten Heckel
Communications Strategist

“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins
I love any book with elements of suspense and emotion. The Girl on the Train leaves you questioning whether to empathize with the main character or feel sorry for her, while uncovering a mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Llaran Smiles
QA Analyst

“The Last of the Renshai” by Mickey Zucker Reichert
This is the first book of an often overlooked fantasy trilogy. It’s very well written with a compelling story.

Emily Carle Hafer
Alpha Squirrels Program Manager

“Along Came a Leader: A Guide to Personal and Professional Leadership” by Kelly Croy
Written by one of our Alpha Squirrels, Kelly Croy's “Along Came a Leader” transcends educational leadership. It's a must read for educators, but the lessons, humor, and insight can be applied in any situation.

“#FormativeTech: Meaningful, Sustainable, and Scalable Formative Assessment With Technology” by Monica Burns
Written by one of our Alpha Squirrels, #FormativeTech tackles two major topics in education: assessment and technology. It can be daunting to connect the two, but Monica does so in a way that is easy to understand and practical. Plenty of "try on Monday" tips for all educators!

“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle
“A Wrinkle in Time” is a classic YA novel for all ages that dives into the world of science and fantasy. Bonus: it will be released as a movie in 2018, so you can get a jump start on the story now!

“Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty
If you heard the hype around the HBO mini-series of the same name, you need to take the time to read this book. Moriarty knows how to add twists and turns that will keep the reader engaged until the very end.

Jon Bishop
Creative Director of Marketing

“The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger” by Stephen King
The movie is coming out this summer (ft. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey), but it seems to just borrow from King's self-described magnum opus series "The Dark Tower." If you like westerns, horror and sci-fi, it's a great read. Even more, the series connects pillars of King's canon–like IT, The Stand, Salem's Lot and Hearts in Atlantis.

 

If you have any recommendations for us, feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

We want to wish all educators a happy, relaxing and safe summer! Happy reading!

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!