August 7 , 2015

How Technology Yields Higher Student Engagement

The addition of technology in the modern classroom has opened up an incredible amount of opportunities to increase student engagement... although there are a few skeptics. In fact, some teachers might argue that technology and its many distractions are resulting in less student engagement. But don't count tech out just yet! By appropriately utilizing technology throughout the learning process, students can become more involved in their education than ever before.

Technology gives students more opportunities to work with their peers.

While group work and partner projects are a staple in most classrooms, that's where the collaboration stops. However, with technology, students don’t have to be in the same room to work together, let alone the same building. Tools like Google Docs/Sheets/Slides, forums and wikis let students work together, comment on each other's work and share ideas from anywhere they have internet access.

Technology provides (seemingly) unlimited visuals.

Visuals help clarify and solidify information. Instead of trying to paint a picture through imagery, technology allows students to see and experience ideas firsthand. Technology offers unlimited opportunities for students to put an image to content through image searching, PowerPoint, idea mapping and more.

Technology makes it easier to connect to the real world.

Students are no longer interested in only reading from textbooks, memorizing slides and remembering tedious tidbits of information. They want to be involved in the lesson and shown how the content they're learning makes real life connections in their world. With technology, students have videos, webcams and news resources to connect with the world around them. This makes it easier to apply class material to what is relevant in their lives.

Technology offers a variety of opportunities.

Giving students different ways to show understanding gives them more creativity, freedom and usually yields better results. Technology unleashes their potential by giving them a multitude of platforms to show off their skills. Whether they are blogging, making a video, creating a PowerPoint or designing virtual field trips, pairing technology with projects just makes sense.

The bottom line

Give your students something to remember! Think back to when you were in school; do you remember the information from the hundreds (maybe thousands) of notecards you flipped through, or do you remember the information from the labs and activities you were involved in? Utilize the technology in your environment to enhance student learning, get them moving and create meaningful memories!

Have any stories about technology increasing student engagement in your classroom? Share in the comments below!

June 23 , 2015

5 Things You Need to Know at ISTE 2015

More than 17,000 education professionals and edtech thought leaders are set to visit the City of Brotherly Love next week. That can only mean one thing: ISTE 2015 is finally upon us.

The largest edtech conference and expo of the year has something for every attendee. Educators will discover how to infuse their classroom with the latest, trendiest learning technologies from the most revered names in education. But where do you begin? 

A conference this large can be a little daunting, so we’ve compiled the following tips to help make your experience as valuable as possible:

  1. ISTE is a marathon – don’t sprint!
    The first morning of ISTE is like opening day for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Everyone is eager to become immersed in the most comprehensive edtech conference on the planet. So many vendor displays to visit. So many old friends to catch up with. So many great presentations to attend. It can be dizzying and, eventually, exhausting. Much like Phillies fans after the big game, you’ll be ready to pass out after day one at ISTE if you don’t pace yourself. 

    Make a schedule or game plan before you arrive. This will help you manage all of your to-do items. Remember that you don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. That would be like trying to see all of Disney World in a day. It’s just not possible. You will have plenty of time to visit the vendors, socialize and see quality presentations to get the most out of your ISTE experience.

  2. The tool must always be secondary to the goal
    You will come across a lot of cool new tools during your time at ISTE, but not all of them will be a good fit for your classroom. Incorporating new technology without a corresponding plan for its use in the classroom can negatively impact the student learning environment. It’s important to know exactly how you’re going to implement a new piece of technology, how it will interact with other classroom technologies and how it will yield value to your students. Doing a little research and planning before you purchase new classroom tech will ensure that you are effectively managing your class time and school budget.
  3. Stay hydrated
    This sounds like a no brainer, but it really is a big deal. Do you live life by the coffee-in-the-morning, beer-in-the-evening philosophy? That could be problematic at ISTE. We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle to keep yourself feeing awake, refreshed and healthy during the day. 
  4. Think socially
    Utilize the social media outlets at your disposal to get the most out of your ISTE experience. Industry professionals in attendance will flood the social sphere with ISTE dialogue on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You can’t be everywhere at once, but your fellow ISTE attendees will be in all of the other great sessions and presentations you can’t attend.

    Curate a list of hashtags (#ISTE2015 and #edtech) to follow all of the action. Social media is a great way to pick up speaker quotes, tech innovations, best practices and event details that you would otherwise miss.

  5. Meet new people
    This one is simple, but it might be the most important. ISTE gives you the opportunity to become absorbed in an education culture with thousands of like-minded professionals. Take the time to get to know some of them. If you are going to ISTE with colleagues, make a conscious effort to split up from time to time. You can learn a lot from interacting with peers. Their experiences become your experiences, and you just might make a lifelong connection.

Good luck at #ISTE2015! Check out what Squirrels is giving away at the conference this year (hint: it’s iPads).

Let us know about some of your memorable ISTE experiences in the comments section! What do you enjoy most about ISTE?

June 16 , 2015

How to Bag Free Trade Show Swag at ISTE 2015

Squirrels is giving away iPads, smart covers, gift cards and more

We are just a few short weeks away from the largest EdTech tradeshow of the year. ISTE 2015 promises to provide ample opportunity to network with peers, learn about the latest technology and trends and, oh yeah, get free stuff.

We get it. People love free stuff. It doesn’t really matter how trivial the items are.  If you are an exhibitor giving away t-shirts, software trials, pens, sunglasses, koozies, posters, notebooks, erasers, mugs and so on, you can expect to be in high demand once word spreads about your cool giveaways. 

As much as it pains us to admit as an exhibitor, we realize some people only stop by our booth for the free swag, and we’re ok with that. After all, ISTE attendees pay hundreds to thousands of dollars in registration fees, travel expenses, hotel accommodations and food. They are rewarded with a three-day, world-class EdTech development opportunity and endless aisles of knick-knacks to wear and display proudly in their classroom.

That being said, Squirrels is doing away with the little knick-knacks this year. We’re leaving the stress balls, notepads, pencils, slingshot rockets, water bottles and mugs in North Canton, Ohio, as we embark for Philadelphia.

Instead, Squirrels is giving away two grand-prize packages that will offer our winners much more functionality than the average freebie. 

Random Drawing

Our first grand-prize giveaway includes:

  • iPad mini 2 with retina display
  • iPad mini Survivor protective case
  • Twist Cable Lightning Connector
  • $50 iTunes gift card
  • $25 Best Buy gift card.

To enter, ISTE attendees must simply fill out the Squirrels ticket that comes with their registration packet coupon book and drop the ticket off at our booth (booth #1452). We’ll randomly select a winner before the end of the conference.

Button Prize

Our second grand prize giveaway includes: 

  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini 2
  • iPad Air Smart Cover
  • iPad mini Survivor protective case
  • Two Twist Cable Lightning Connectors
  • $50 iTunes gift card
  •  $25 Best Buy gift card

To enter, attendees must stop by our booth to pick up a pin-back button. We’ll scan their badge to enter them into the button prize package drawing. In addition, we’ll have representatives walking around the exhibitor area to find people wearing the Squirrels button. Our reps will scan their badges for additional chances to win.

Are you excited? Stop by booth 1452 at ISTE 2015. We’d love to help inspire you to transform your classroom technology and maybe, just maybe, give you some free stuff.

In the meantime, check out Reflector 2 and AirParrot 2 to get a better idea of what we do!

March 26 , 2015

Thank you MACUL!

Last week, the Squirrels girls headed to Detroit to exhibit at the 2015 MACUL conference. Enthusiastic attendees were eager to learn about an upcoming Reflector 2 release and everything Squirrels has to offer.

Full of deep conversations and sessions, the annual MACUL conference is the event of the year for Michigan educators. Check out the MACUL15 hashtag on Twitter for a great recap of the event. 

Also, a big congratulations goes out to our $500 Best Buy gift card winner: Violetta Kuzniar from Taylor International Academy!

Thank you #MACUL15 and every one who attended. Here are some pictures from the event!

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March 12 , 2015

Friday is Digital Learning Day!

March 13 marks the 4th annual Digital Learning Day. This celebration of EdTech highlights how the use of technology has evolved and strengthened learning across all age groups.

#DLDay is a time for educators across the country to share their innovations and ensure that every student has some degree of access to digital learning opportunities. Visit the Digital Learning Day site to learn more about how to get involved and the resources available:

  • Online Resources – Get inspired and incorporate #DLDay into your lessons on March 13th.
  • @OfficialDLDay – Follow Digital Learning Day to stay up-to-date as Twitter chats and celebrations unfold.
  • Digital Learning Day Live! – Watch the broadcast from 1:00-2:15pm EST as they highlight some of the nation’s most noteworthy digital learning initiatives.
  • Local celebrations – Find and attend a DLDay event in your area, or add your own to the map.

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!