April 19 , 2016

Optimize Reflector 2 for the Classroom

We’re proud to say that Reflector 2 is now in more than 100,000 classrooms across the world! Educators use it as an affordable way to quickly, conveniently and wirelessly display mobile devices to larger screens in the classroom.

What often gets overlooked is that there are certain Reflector 2 settings educators can take advantage of to make it ideal for the classroom. The following is a list of settings that will optimize our Reflector 2 screen-mirroring technology for use in any classroom environment.

Broadcast Name
Since Reflector 2 runs on the teacher’s Mac or Windows computer, the teacher should change the Reflector 2 Broadcast Name to his or her name. This will allow the students to easily identify the appropriate computer to connect their mobile devices.

Example: Instead of naming the computer “Computer 1314" or using the teacher’s first name, use something more specific like “Mrs. Smith’s Computer."

Click the Reflector 2 icon near your computer’s clock and then click on the gear wheel in the bottom right corner to access Reflector 2 preferences. After that, click “General.” From there, you can edit your computer’s Broadcast Name.

Reflector 2 Classroom Optimization

Show Client Name
We recommend you set the “Show Client Name” option to “Always.” When a student or teacher connects a mobile device (such as an iPad, iPhone, Android device, Chromebook or Surface Pro) to Reflector 2, the device name will appear and stay on the computer screen. This will show the teacher which students are connected and displaying content to Reflector 2.

Go to Preferences> General > Show Client Name > Always

Connection preferences
We recommend that teachers change the connection preference to “Connect and Hide.” When this preference is turned on, a device will not be automatically shown on the screen when it connects to Reflector 2. The teacher can choose to show or hide each device from the Reflector 2 control panel. Turning “Connect and Hide” on prevents students and other teachers from interrupting class by displaying their device on the big screen when it isn't meant to be displayed.

Go to Preferences > Connection > On Connection > Connect and Hide Device

Enable AirPlay and Cast Connections
We recommended that teachers enable both AirPlay and Google Cast device connections in Reflector 2. Enabling AirPlay connections allows students with iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices to connect to Reflector 2. Enabling Google Cast connections allows students using Chromebooks and most Android devices to connect.

Students using Surface Pros must download AirParrot 2 onto their Surface tablet since Surface Pros do not have AirPlay or Cast technology built in. AirParrot 2 adds AirPlay and Cast technology to Surface Pros to enable wireless streaming and mirroring to Reflector 2, Apple TV or Chromecast.

Go to Preferences > Advanced > AirPlay/Google Cast > Enabled

Set Reflector to “Always on top”
This setting will automatically place your mirrored devices on top of all other open windows and applications.

Go to Preferences > General > Click “Always on top”

Director and Student - “Allow to discover this device” 
Reflector Director ($6.99) and Reflector Student (free) are our Reflector 2 companion apps.

  • Reflector Director is an app that turns a teacher’s iPad or iPhone into a remote for Reflector 2. Teachers can access the Reflector 2 controls from their mobile device. This allows them to walk around the room while remaining in control of Reflector 2 rather than being anchored at the computer.
  • Reflector Student is an app for student iPads and iPhones. It shows students the same Reflector 2 display that the teacher sees on the computer. It also provides connectivity alternatives for schools with restrictive networks.

There are two steps for this one:

  1. Go to Preferences > Director > “Allow to discover”
  2. Go to Preferences > Student > “Allow to discover”
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!

August 24 , 2015

Introducing Reflector Student

Our latest advancement in screen-mirroring technology allows students to use their iPads and iPhones to see their teacher’s computer screen in real time. It also provides new connection methods in schools with restrictive networks. Oh yes, teacher friends. We’re excited about it, too.

Reflector Student is a free Reflector 2 companion app that runs on each student’s
iOS device. The app wirelessly communicates with the Reflector 2 software running on the teacher’s computer to display a live look at the teacher’s screen on every connected student device.

Reflector Student decreases classroom reliance on SMART boards and projectors and enables schools to get more out of their Reflector Student Pairing Optionsmobile devices. Students can now view the same websites, videos, peer work and presentations displayed on the big screen in the palm of their hands. This reduces the strain on students with visibility issues. It also allows teachers to show students what’s happening on their classmates’ screens.

The Reflector Student app acts as a workaround for schools that experience Reflector 2 connectivity problems. It should resolve issues for schools that host their student and teacher devices on separate networks. New Reflector 2 connection methods include:

  • Bluetooth discovery
  • Quick Connect Codes™
  • iOS camera linking

We know educators are always looking for the latest and greatest technology to keep their classrooms ahead of the curve. That’s why we’re constantly working on new screen-mirroring solutions to bring to your students.

Stay tuned for more updates. As always, feel free to offer suggestions or feedback in the comment section below. We love to hear from our friends and fans!

Click here for more information about Reflector Student.

Reflector Student

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!

June 8 , 2015

5 Ways Apple Will Change the Classroom in 2015

This afternoon at the annual WWDC conference, Apple announced iOS 9 (among other new Apple projects) launching free to the public this fall. But what does this have to do with education? Should you care? If your classroom uses iPads, the answer is absolutely.

Advances in the iOS operating system will bring a world of possibilities to single-device, BYOD and 1-1 classrooms using iPads this upcoming school year.

Some of the innovative new features include:

1. Split-Screen

Using the iPad is much more multitask-friendly in iOS 9. Users will be able to see multiple applications on their screen at once, change the size of the split and manipulate both windows at the same time.

  • What this means for educators: Switching between applications can be frustrating when working on an assignment. Being able to view two applications side-by-side will streamline this process and allow students to complete work easier and faster.

2. News App

The News app will replace the Newsstand app. Instead of having to purchase subscriptions to publications, students will be able to instantly follow publications like The New York Times; specific interests like Technology; and popular or personal blogs.

  • What this means for educators: The News app will give students and teachers the chance to stay up-to-date on news that is important to them. Having access to a seemingly unlimited news stream will help facilitate current events discussions and give students a different perspective.

3. Notes App

An update to Notes shows vast improvements with iOS 9. This includes the ability to add bold titles, web links with previews, pictures, custom drawings and checklists to enhance the text of the note.

  • What this means for educators: Students can use the native Notes app to talk thorough notes, complete homework and more. With easy note deployment through messages, mail and social media, this may eliminate the need for a third-party note application.

4. Battery Life/Low Power Mode

These new software enhancements will add hours of lifetime to the battery of each iOS device.

  • What this means for educators: Longer use means fewer headaches keeping devices charged.

5. Keyboard

Instead of displaying an omnipresent uppercase keyboard, the keyboard on the iOS device will now use uppercase letters when the shift key is pressed, and lowercase letters when typing in lower case.

  • What this means for educators: This seems like a simple update, but imagine elementary schools. Students learning letters will be able to visualize the difference between upper and lower case letters.

The update to iOS 9 is free and is expected to be available this fall. If you’d like to try the update before everyone else, check out beta.apple.com.

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!