April 12 , 2016

Six Secrets to Becoming a Master Presenter by EdTech Guru David Lockhart

This article is a guest post by EdTech guru David Lockhart. He tells the story of his journey from novice to master presenter at education conferences all across the United States. 

David is a member of our inaugural class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech experts. Alpha Squirrels are a major part of the Squirrels family. While they don’t work directly with us every day, we encourage advancement in their careers and enjoy hearing about their successes. Alpha Squirrels are deeply involved in educational technology. They provide feedback to us directly from the classroom and help us make decisions that impact student learning all over the globe.

David Lockhart Alpha Squirrel

“How do you do it?”

I get that question a bunch when I present multiple sessions in a row at a conference, and hopefully I can let you in on a few secrets with this post. I recently had the opportunity (thanks to my friends at Squirrels) to present eight sessions at the KYSTE conference in Louisville, Kentucky. KYSTE is Kentucky’s state conference and an ISTE affiliate that is attended by about 2,000 people annually. I have been to many of the state conferences across the Southeast, and it definitely ranks up there among my favorites. I like the venue for the conference (the Galt House Hotel) and the city of Louisville. The conference itself has some great local presenters and the organizers usually bring in one great national presenter. This year it was Steven Anderson, a prominent educator, speaker and blogger.

  1. Apply Everywhere

I guess the question to start with is, “How did you get to do eight presentations at a single conference?” My first conference was the Georgia Education Technology Conference in 2012. At that conference, I presented my “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” presentation and I realized I had a real knack for presenting. From there, I actually asked conference presenter extraordinaire Leslie Fisher how to get in the presentation game.

Her advice to me was incredibly simple: “Present everywhere you can.”

I thought, “Well if Georgia has a state conference, I’m sure other states do as well.” So I started applying other places. My first conference outside of Georgia was in Alabama, and I continued to expand from there.

  1. Diversify your presentations

I was applying to these other state conferences with my “60 Apps in 60 Minutes” presentation, but it was only getting me into a few places. I realized I needed to diversify. Much like a reporter would, I started asking myself what new angle I could take to present relevant and timely content to my audience.

I started by expanding my 60-in-60 presentation to do separate presentations—one that was all Apple, one that was apps you would not know and one that was gadgets. I didn’t want to stop there though, so I also added topic- and tool-based presentations as well as just expanding into the world of posters and workshops. Find something you are passionate about and then diversify from there. Finding new angles will intrigue your audience and conference organizers.

  1. Add some flare to the application

Step three actually gets down to the application process. First, apply wherever you can. State conferences are usually much easier to get into the national conferences like ISTE, FETC and iNACOL.

Once you have really figured out where you want to go, the application process is usually very similar with few exceptions. Most conferences will want a title and a description. The key to this is making it catchy. Takes off of song titles usually work well. In the description, I start many of them with a question because that’s what attendees look at when they are deciding which sessions to attend. If you pose it as a question, it can be read as you personally asking them. It gives them something to ponder.

Many conferences ask for an outline. To get this, just think through how you are going to organize your presentation into sessions. Some also ask for a biography and previous experience, and really with those you just have to put your best foot forward. Now, the key to quickly applying to multiple presentations is to save all of the standard conference info in a Google Doc. This allows you to just copy and paste as new conferences come up! I would show you mine, but I don’t want to give away my secret sauce.

  1. Wait — Patience is key

Now it’s time to wait on what’s accepted. In reality, your first year will probably only get you one or two. I actually presented at KYSTE in 2015, and I only got one session in. I then stepped up in place of other presenters as needed in order to fill in for people who had to cancel because of a snowstorm. I think doing that helped push me to eight sessions this year. Conference organizers need time to build that trust, so if you find one you like, keep going to it!

  1. Make it compelling

Once you get to the conference, it’s all uphill from there. The key to doing so many sessions is not to take yourself too seriously. Have Fun! We have all been in PD’s where the presenter was so serious and it was just boring. Joke around, but also provide good content. Attendees love that. I think it’s also great to pepper videos into your presentations in order to give yourself a tiny break as you are going. This breaks up the presentation a bit, and it gives you a chance for a drink to help keep your voice going.

  1. Assess

How do you tell if things went well? I think the easiest way is to see familiar faces. If you have folks coming back to hear you again, it means they liked you! Thankfully, that was the case in Kentucky. I actually had one individual who I think spent most of her conference with me!

To close, I’d like to say thanks to that nutty Squirrels team for helping me get there. They make a great product that allows educators to be mobile in their classroom, and that’s the key to behavior management!

David Lockhart Presenting

If you would like to apply to become an Alpha Squirrel, visit http://alpha.airsquirrels.com. Or, learn more about Squirrels’ classroom screen-mirroring app, Reflector 2.

April 8 , 2016

Squirrels to Attend South Dakota Technology and Innovation in Education Conference

TIE SD Logo

The Squirrels team is excited to be part of the 30th annual TIE SD conference next week in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where we have the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase our products.

This will also be a beneficial time to gain a better understanding of how teachers in this area of the country are integrating technology into their classrooms.

We’re excited to make the cross-country trip to South Dakota to expand our physical footprint in the EdTech community and share this professional development opportunity with teachers, network administrators and educational administrators. Plus, it’s always fun to travel and experience new parts of the country!

The TIE SD EdTech conference strives to make a difference in the educational environment by providing quality resources and staying up to date with industry-leading technology. Attendees are provided with the opportunity to hear prominent speakers as well as an exhibit hall filled with vendors from all over the country, providing them with tools to help make learning more fun for teachers and students.

If you want to learn more about our products, be sure to stop by booth 101 or one of these sessions:

  • “Digital Dumpster Diving” presented by Kelly Rexine (@kellyrexine) on Monday at 10:55 a.m.
  • “Secrets to Saving your District Money and Time Using Technology” co-presented by Eli Harden and Jordan Braa (@jorbaa) on Monday at 2:25 p.m.

Also, catch active member of the EdTech community and Alpha Squirrel, Travis Lape (@travislape), presenting on “Student Driven Digital Portfolios – SeeSaw,” on Monday at 10:55 a.m.

If you’re in the area next week, be sure to stop by and say hello at booth 101!

March 1 , 2016

The Squirrels Monthly Edcamp Roundup – February 2016

 

The Squirrels team had a busy February coordinating Edcamp sponsorships around the country. South Dakota was first on our list in February followed by Edcamp Phoenix and Edcamp T-County.

@edcampPHX in discussion and taking charge of their learning. @edcampPHX in discussion and taking charge of their learning.

Nearly 300 educators, administrators, tech coordinators and more attended these Edcamps to discuss the latest industry trends, as well as challenges that are faced in the classroom.

Alpha Squirrel Travis Lape Alpha Squirrel Travis Lape

One of our Alpha Squirrels, Travis Lape, organized Edcamp South Dakota! We’re lucky to have ambassadors from all over the globe in the EdTech community representing our company and our products. Travis is also organizing another Edcamp in South Dakota for April.

Edcamp T-County was in our neck of the woods— Northeast Ohio. We had two members of the Squirrels team attend and soak up how teachers are (or are not) using technology in their classroom.

Although we were not able to attend Edcamp Phoenix, we were able to follow their Twitter feed throughout the day to see how everyone collaborated together.

If you weren’t able to attend any of the Edcamps this month, here are some of the popular discussion topics:

  • Foldables in the classroom
  • SeeSaw
  • Google classroom
  • High school technology training in the classroom
  • One-to-one tech strategies
  • Chrome extensions and google add-ons
  • Hyperdocs
  • Technology integration
  • Social media in the classroom
  • Flipped classroom

We hope that all the Edcamps we sponsored this month provided each attendee with a positive experience full of learning and professional development!

Edcamp T-County Edcamp T-County was just a short drive from the Squirrels office!

If you are hosting your own Edcamp and are interested in a Squirrels sponsorship, fill out our Edcamp Sign Up Form. Sponsorship may include monetary or swag donations, discounts on our products and more!

As always, let us know if you have any questions, comments or feedback in the comments below!

March 1 , 2016

Squirrels Attends North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES)

 

NC Ties 2016

We’re excited to join the annual NCTIES conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, this week to showcase our products and observe how the latest education technology is integrated into classrooms.

Two members of the Squirrels team will make the 500-mile trip from North Canton, Ohio, to Raleigh to join teachers, tech facilitators and coaches, administrators and media specialists at North Carolina’s premier conference.

This North Carolina EdTech conference is an ISTE affiliate that provides a multitude of professional development opportunities, including more than 150 sessions, informal meet and greets, keynotes, featured speakers and a vendor exhibit hall.

Blended Learning Coach and Alpha Squirrel, Marcia Kish, will feature our industry-leading Reflector 2 screen-mirroring app in her session, “Explore the 7 C’s of Blended Learning,” on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. Marcia is an active participant in the EdTech community and also runs http://dsdprofessionaldevelopment.com. If you want to contact her directly, you can message her on Twitter at @dsdPD.

If you’re planning a trip to NCTIES this week, be sure to stop by and say hello at booth 621!

August 27 , 2015

Teach Like an Alpha Squirrel

Become an Alpha Squirrel at alpha.airsquirrels.com!

It’s no secret. Educators are some of our most devoted and passionate customers. We hear from teachers every day about how they use our screen-mirroring technology to connect classroom devices and enhance the student learning experience. That's why we're excited to announce our new Alpha Squirrels leadership program for educators.

The Alpha Squirrels program will allow educators who love our products to spread the word as certified Squirrels product experts. This advocacy program gives Alpha Squirrels members exclusive access to:

  • Squirrels-sponsored conference attendance
  • Squirrels-sponsored conference speaking engagements
  • Unreleased Squirrels products
  • Squirrels welcome package – T-Shirt, coffee mug/tumbler, sticky notes, water bottle, headphones, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Opportunities to appear in video interviews
  • Free AirParrot 2 and Reflector 2 licenses
  • Alpha Squirrels member certificate
  • “Alpha Squirrel” signature badges for Twitter, Facebook and email
  • Product training, press kits and talking points
  • Chance to visit Squirrels Headquarters
  • Alpha Squirrels features on the Squirrels blog, Instagram and Twitter
  • On-demand interaction with Squirrels product designers and managers

Become an Alpha Squirrel at alpha.airsquirrels.com!Our Alpha Squirrels will become product experts on the Squirrels suite of products – Reflector 2, Reflector Director, Reflector Student and AirParrot 2 – to help fellow educators improve their classroom technology solutions. It is our goal to empower Alpha Squirrels to elevate their status as EdTech experts, share knowledge within their professional network and support the Squirrels community.

We’re ready to find our Alpha Squirrels. If you’re an educator committed to EdTech or Squirrels products, you just might be one of them. For more information, visit alpha.airsquirrels.com or give us a call at 1-855-207-0927. Or, fill out the nomination form to become one of the world’s first Alpha Squirrels!

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. Our excitement and passion lies in creating high-qualty, budget-friendly software that can be used to enhance the devices already found in today's home and work environments. Follow our blog for all the latest product releases, #TeamSquirrels news and industry insight!