June 22, 2016

Meet The Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts at ISTE 2016!

The Squirrels team will be on display and more accessible than ever at ISTE 2016 in Denver next week. That’s good news because we have so much to show you this year. Stop by booth #2945 for lessons, product demos, swag and enjoyable conversation with a bunch of friendly people from the Midwest.

One of our most exciting and rewarding projects this year was our Alpha Squirrels program. We recruited prominent educators and EdTech experts into our Alpha Squirrels program to help spread the word about our classroom technology, provide us with insight and much, much more. The best news? Many of these Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts will be speaking at ISTE! We are featured in more than 30 presentations! See? It’ll be hard to miss us.

Below is a complete list of all the ISTE sessions that feature our Alpha Squirrels or presenters using and discussing our popular classroom screen-mirroring apps such as Reflector, AirParrot and Ditto.

*Denotes all Alpha Squirrel presentations.

ISTE Sessions

Saturday, June 25
8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Jennifer Williams and *Katrina Keene
Crafting the Next-Generation Classroom: An Immersive Experience with Nearpod

2:00-6:00 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Fourth Annual Mobile Learning Network Mobile MegaShare Preconference

Sunday, June 26
8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Jennifer Williams
Design Learning Spaces for Literacy, Technology and Collaboration

1:30-2:45 p.m.
*Bill Selak
ISTE Ignite Sessions: I Think I Figured Out How to Use Snapchat as an Educator

7:00-8:30 pm
Lisa Butler
Refreshing Geography So Students Crave World Knowledge

Monday, June 27
8:00-10:00 a.m.
*Monica Burns
What’s New in Scannables? Exploring Purposeful Practices

Patricia Cooper, Matthew Fox and Kirstin Riddick
App Smash Pub Part 2.0: The After Party

8:30-9:30 a.m.
*Leslie Fisher
Apps, Tools, Tips + Gadgets You Can Take to Class Tomorrow

*Katrina Keene
Problem-Based Learning Extravaganza

*Kelly Rexine
Digital Dumpster Diving

Tanya Avrith and Kim Meldrum
Rethinking the Chromebook as a Creation Device

8:30-11:30 a.m.
*Phil Hintz
The Gamification of Technology Professional Development

11 am-12:00 p.m.
*Kathy Schrock
Activator and Summarizer Strategies for Quick Formative Assessment

Megan Ryder
Life as a Coach: Build Relationships and Support Growth in 1:1 Environments

2:30-3:30 p.m.
*Monica Burns
Apple Watch Out! Transforming Teaching and Learning

4:15-5:15 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Build a BYOT Plan for Your School

*Bill Selak

4:30-7:30 p.m.
*Rob Zdrojewski
The Art of Screencasting: Flipped “Teacher-On-Demand” is Now Possible!

5:30-6:45 p.m.
*Seth Dimbert & *Rebecca Simon
Jewish Educators Network

Tuesday, June 28
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
*Angie Kalthoff
Kids Can Code

10:45-11:45 a.m.
*David Lockhart
If You Wanna Flip It, TouchCast It

12:30-1:30 p.m.
*Bill Selak
Ready, Set, Make

*Leslie Fisher
The Audience Participation Based Group Smackdown/Hug-In

2:15-3:15 p.m.
*Jennifer Williams
Combine Digital Literacy Tools for Connection and Collaboration

4:00-5:00 p.m.
*Monica Burns
ISTE Ignite Session: From Basic to ACES

4:00-6:00 p.m.
*Chris Turnbull
30+ Ways to Use Your iPad for Personalized Professional Development

*Jennifer Williams:
Trending the Positive: Using Technology to Celebrate the Good in Education

Greta Flinn, Cindy Hughes, Lindsey Insalaco, Debbie Leonard, Kitty Tripp
Coaches Choice Awards: K12 Showcase of Student Work, Lessons and Tools

4:30-7:30 p.m.
*Seth Dimbert
Getting It All Done on a Chromebook

5:30-7:00 p.m.
Emily Hendricks
Own Your Tech! Technology Management in Today’s Classroom

Wednesday, June 29
8:30-9:30 a.m.
*Kathy Schrock
Sketchnoting in Education: The Best Practices, Benefits, and How-To’s of Sketchnoting

10:15-11:15 a.m.
Nikki Vradenburg
Kindertech: Tools for Integrating Technology in the Primary Classroom

11:45 am-12:45 p.m.
*Katrina Keene
Augmented Reality: Engaging a Minecraft Generation

1:15-2:15 p.m.
*Leslie Fisher
Return of the Valley of the Gadgets!

Squirrels Booth Sessions
We also have a number of Alpha Squirrel presentations happening right at our booth (#2945). Check the times and stop by to learn from some of the brightest minds in education technology.

Monday, June 27
10:15 a.m.
Natasha Rachell
Digital Learning Specialist, Atlanta Public Schools

11:00 a.m.
Toby Price
Principal, Richland Upper Elementary School

12:15 p.m.
Angie Kalthoff
Technology Integrationist at St. Cloud Area School District

2:00 p.m.
Bill Selak
Director of Technology, Hillbrook School

2:45 p.m.
Laurie Green
Technology Resource Coordinator, Buckeye Local Schools

3:30 p.m.
David Lockhart
Education Technology Specialist at Kennesaw State University iTeach Center

4:15 p.m.
Leslie Fisher
Director, lesliefisher.com

Tuesday, June 28
10:00 a.m.
Leslie Fisher
Director, lesliefisher.com

11:00 a.m.
Kelly Dumont
Elementary EdTech Team Lead at Canyons School District

1:00 p.m.
Dino Kiveric
Teacher, Hancock Middle School

2:00 p.m.
Chris Turnbull
Personalized Learning Specialist at Saint Paul Public Schools

3:00 p.m.
Jen Lotze
Instructional Technology Coordinator at Hudson School District

4:00 p.m.
Rebecca Simon
Director of Educational Technology at Solomon Schechter School of Queens

Wednesday, June 29
10:15 a.m.
Josh Murdock
Instructional Designer/Developer and Associate Professor, Valencia College, Florida

June 15, 2016

Introducing the Summer 2016 Class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts

Alpha Squirrels Side LogoWe’re excited to announce the induction of 15 new educators and EdTech specialists as members of our Summer 2016 Alpha Squirrels class. This is our third class, bringing the total number of Alpha Squirrels to 62.

To see who joined the team, check out the full list of Alpha Squirrels team members.

We’re honored to say that our Alpha Squirrels represent some of the most respected and knowledgeable education technology experts around the world. As Alpha Squirrels, these individuals help us better understand the needs of educators in the classroom, as well as rising trends in education technology. This gives us the ability to craft our classroom solutions in a way that improves engagement, collaboration and teacher-student interaction.

Alpha Squirrels become experts on the Squirrels suite of products to share our solutions with fellow educators. We often sponsor conference attendance and speaking engagements for our Alpha Squirrels. It’s one of the many perks of the program. You can catch some of them presenting at ISTE in Denver and many other edcamps and conferences in 2016.

Some of the other Alpha Squirrels program perks include:

  • Access to unreleased Squirrels products
  • Squirrels welcome package – T-Shirt, coffee mug/tumbler, sticky notes, water bottle, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Video interview opportunities
  • Free AirParrot 2 and Reflector 2 licenses
  • An Alpha Squirrels member certificate
  • Alpha Squirrel signature badges for Twitter, Facebook and email
  • Product training, press kits and talking points
  • A chance to visit Squirrels Headquarters
  • On-demand interaction with Squirrels product designers and managers

Congrats to all of our new Alpha Squirrels! We’re excited to see what we can accomplish together for the EdTech community.

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.

May 17, 2016

Attend the Wild Side of Blended Learning Conference at the Columbus Zoo

The second-annual Wild Side of Blended Learning Conference is set to take place at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on June 15. Organized by Blended Learning Expert and Alpha Squirrel Marcia Kish (@dsdPD), attendees will learn how to implement and improve blended learning practices in the classroom.

Blended learning experts will be on hand to share their epic “FAILs” (First Attempts In Learning), as well as key aspects of a successful blended learning environment.

“This is not your typical conference platform,” Kish said. “As a participant, you will be creating, collaborating, communicating and using critical thinking skills as you expand upon your blended learning pedagogy while overlooking African savanna at the Columbus Zoo. You will get to learn from educators, administrators and coaches that have implemented blended learning into their classrooms and schools.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 3.33.17 PM

Wild Side of Blended Learning sessions include:

  • Examining the three stages of blended learning
  • Using data to drive the classroom
  • Tools and techniques to create collaboration and creativity within the blended learning environment
  • Design and classroom ideas for the blended learning environment
  • How to use mobile device technology to engage students

“If you are starting to think about implementing blended learning into your classroom, or if you have already started the blended learning journey, then you don't want to miss this conference,” Kish said. "The Wild Side of Blended Learning Conference only happens once a year!”

If you’re interested in attending the Wild Side of Blended Learning Conference, visit http://blendedlearningbootcamp.weebly.com/register.html to register!

April 29, 2016

Introducing the newest class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts

Become an Alpha Squirrel at alpha.airsquirrels.com!

We’re excited to announce that we have selected our second class of Alpha Squirrels EdTech Experts!

This class of thought leaders and Squirrels advocates is made up of 19 teachers, principals, EdTech specialists, instructional designers, digital learning specialists and tech resource coordinators. They come from all over the United States, including Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. We also added our second Alpha Squirrel based in the United Kingdom!

Check out our full list of Alpha Squirrels team members!

These individuals are experts and advocates for the global EdTech community. Alpha Squirrels attend and speak at industry conferences around the world to introduce fellow educators to the Squirrels suite of classroom screen-mirroring solutions. You can catch some of them presenting at ISTE in Denver and many other edcamps and conferences around the world in 2016.

Don’t worry – they talk about much more than our products. Alpha Squirrels might use or mention our apps during a presentation, but sometimes they aren’t included in the presentations at all! We want our Alpha Squirrels to be well-rounded EdTech thought leaders. Our goal is to assist them in their professional development journey and provide them with resources to help other educators improve the student learning experience.

In addition to Squirrels-sponsored conference attendance and speaking engagements, Alpha Squirrels receive:

  • Access to unreleased Squirrels products
  • Squirrels welcome package – T-Shirt, coffee mug/tumbler, sticky notes, water bottle, headphones, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Video interview opportunities
  • Free AirParrot 2 and Reflector 2 licenses
  • An Alpha Squirrels member certificate
  • “Alpha Squirrel” signature badges for Twitter, Facebook and email
  • Product training, press kits and talking points
  • A chance to visit Squirrels Headquarters
  • On-demand interaction with Squirrels product designers and managers

Congrats to all of our new Alpha Squirrels! We’re proud to have you represent us in the EdTech community.

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.

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.

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!