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.

May 5 , 2015

Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Day 2015

Teachers are the foundation of the future. They mold minds and inspire students to find their passions and unique set of skills, all while encouraging students to apply them in meaningful ways.

#TeacherAppreciationWeek 2015 is May 4-8. As a part of the week, Teacher Appreciation Day (May 5th) is a special opportunity to thank a teacher that has changed you for the better. Take the time today and the rest of this week to reflect on the value of educators in your community and our society as a whole.

Check out these resources to get your appreciation efforts started:

  • How To Appreciate a Teacher – Celebrate a teacher that has impacted your life. Change the tone of education news and show the world the positive impact of educators.
  • 10 Quotes About Teachers – Teachers have impacted a lot of the prominent figures in history. Read what they have to say about the influence of educators.
  • Get Involved – Take to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hash tags #ThankATeacher and #TeacherAppreciationWeek to spread the word. 

Teachers, enjoy these resources to get the most out of your week:

November 17 , 2014

Learn More About American Education Week

American Education Week is an annual event celebrating the education field as a whole. Held from November 17- 21, #aew14 is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the individuals who ensure each student receives a quality educational experience. American Education Week is about everyone from the teachers themselves to the cafeteria staff.

The theme this year is “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility.” Each day’s agenda is molded to commemorate a different sector of the public education ecosystem.

Monday, November 17th – Kickoff Day

  • Schools across the United States will host kickoff events.

Tuesday, November 18th – Parents Day

  • Parents will be invited into classrooms to get a better idea of a day in the life of their student.

Wednesday, November 19th – Education Support Professionals Day

  • Education Support Professionals often go unrecognized as a crucial part of the safety and wellbeing of each student. Bus drivers, maintenance workers, secretaries and cafeteria staff keep schools running smoothly. Use this day to acknowledge the commitment of each ESP to their jobs and the community. 

Thursday, November 20th – Educator for a Day

  • Schools will invite community leaders to shadow an educator as an opportunity to experience the triumphs and challenges of meeting the needs of each and every student.

Friday, November 21st – Substitute Educators Day

  • The final day of #aew14 honors substitute teachers and their role in maintaining daily education. 

We encourage everyone to take the time each day to thank a professional in the education field for their dedication. Visit the American Education Week Tour – Nashville on Storify for updates all week long. 

November 4 , 2014

AirParrot for Chrome: The New Teacher’s Pet

Last Monday, Squirrels launched AirParrot for Chrome OS, becoming the first screen mirroring solution for Chromebooks! Many have welcomed this functionality, but the field of education has taken a particular interest. Gaining the ability to mirror entire Chromebook screens has opened new doors for educators and administrators alike.

The affordability and manageability of Chromebooks has made them perfect for classroom environments. With AirParrot for Chrome, you’ll get the most out of your device! Our software is loaded with features that have many uses in the classroom:

  • Wireless screen mirroring – Unlike Chromecast, AirParrot allows you to wirelessly mirror your entire screen. Show presentations and student work on the big screen to captivate the classroom.
  • Easy use, recognition and deployment – AirParrot for Chrome OS is completely based through Google accounts. See Chromebook usernames when mirroring, and switch licenses from account to account at the end of the school year. We deploy the licenses, Chrome Application Deployment does the rest.
  • Quick Connect Codes – If traditional discovery isn’t an option because of limited network connections, connect to your destination using Quick Connect Codes. See your common destinations in a recent receiver list: a part of our beautiful new interface.
  • Allows mirroring to popular destinations like an Apple TV or Reflector – Wirelessly mirror your screen to Apple TV, Reflector and more; hardware and software that’s already common in today’s classrooms.

 Like Chromebooks, AirParrot for Chrome OS is a budget friendly option. The software can be purchased through the Chrome Web Store for $9.99 individually or purchased in bulk through the Squirrels sales team. Try AirParrot for Chrome OS today and unleash the potential of your classroom! 

June 17 , 2014

Squirrels in the Classroom

The Squirrels team visited Mrs. Melissa Vetrick’s 5th grade science and language arts class to see how they use Reflector with their classroom set of iPads.

She loves Reflector because it gives her the ability to walk around the classroom and monitor students while still changing the content and teaching. She also likes demonstrating assignments to all of her students simultaneously. “I used to walk around to 6 different tables to explain what the students need to do. With Reflector, I teach it once.” 

Her students love it too! They are now enthusiastic to share their projects, papers and creativity with the entire class. In one assignment, Mrs. Vetrick used the Educreations app to have groups of students create individual steps for the scientific method. Once finished, the entire class had to collaborate and put all of the steps together and present their end result with Reflector.

We had a great time and thank Mrs. Vetrick and her class for letting us come to their school. Check out some of the pictures we took during our visit:

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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!