August 15, 2018

Vote for Squirrels to Present at SXSW

Squirrels at SXSW EDU 19 Blog

Team Squirrels is going south … South by Southwest, that is. We have the chance to present at SXSW EDU in 2019! Squirrels Director of Professional Development Becky Shiring, Program Director Emily Carle Hafer and Alpha Squirrel Travis Lape have all submitted proposals to present at this groundbreaking conference on the future of education.

But we need your help. Proposals to present are accepted if the public votes them in, now through Aug. 30, 2018. You can help Squirrels present at SXSW EDU by voting for both sessions below.

Vote for Pizza, Projects, People.

Vote for It's Gettin' HOTT in Here.

What’s South by Southwest EDU? We’ll let them tell you:

The SXSW EDU® Conference & Festival fosters innovation in learning by hosting a community of optimistic, forward-thinking, purpose-driven stakeholders with a shared goal of impacting the future of teaching and learning.

Conference Date: March 4-7, 2019

Location: Austin, Texas

If you’re on the bleeding edge of education and know where it’s headed in the future, you’re at SXSW EDU.

Help Us Get There.

Here’s what you can do to get us to SXSW EDU 2019:

Vote!

Vote for both of our Squirrels presentations here: sqrls.co/culture and sqrls.co/hott.

Share!

Tell your friends, social media followers and PLN all about this opportunity to see Team Squirrels at SXSW EDU. We’ve championed education from the start, and we want the world to know how culture, technology and forward-thinking people can improve education for good.

Here’s an example post. Copy and paste this into your own Twitter feed or write your own social media post:

Team @Squirrels is all about the future of EdTech and they’ve got the chance to present @SXSWEDU. I voted to get them there. Now it’s your turn to help! Go here to vote! sqrls.co/culture

So what are we presenting? Here are the details:

Pizza, Projects, People: Creating a Startup Culture in Education

Presented by Becky Shiring, Emily Carle Hafer and Travis Lape

Schools don't have to be stuck in the past. Learn how startup culture can boost creativity, enhance communication and create collaborative environments in your classroom.

It's Gettin' HOTT in Here: Building Higher Order Thinking Skills with Tech

Presented by Becky Shiring

Preparing students for the future means they must be challenged with higher-order thinking tasks. Learn how to design cognitively challenging lessons that utilize technology to promote deep, meaningful learning in the classroom.

Session proposals are selected to officially present if they receive enough votes from the public (that’s you) and are approved by the SXSW EDU Advisory Board and Staff. So get out there and vote!

TL;DR

View our session proposals here and here, create an account and vote to see us at SXSW EDU during public voting through August 30, 2018.

Here’s to advancing the future of education with technology. Hope to see you there – and thank you!

August 7, 2018

Why I Code Like a Girl

Why I Code Like a Girl from Alpha Squirrel Velvet Holmes

Today’s guest post is written by Velvet Holmes, Information Technology Literacy Teacher for Oregon School District in the greater Madison, Wisconsin, area. Velvet works with students and staff to integrate technology efficiently into their curriculum and learning journey. She is also a member of our Alpha Squirrels program.

I don’t teach statistics, but there’s a stat from Girls Who Code that always catches my attention:

Only one in five computer science graduates are women.

That’s a problem.

The tech industry is exploding, but too often girls are left behind. Something needs to change, and it’s going to start with me.

I’ve worked to create several programs in my school district that empower girls socially, academically and vocationally. I hope my story can inspire other teachers, educators and business leaders to create environments where women are included and inspired to contribute to the tech industry.

Words I live by:

According to a study by Google, encouragement from adults and peers is the number one contributor to a teen girl’s decision to pursue computer science.

It’s no question that social encouragement and modelling positive behavior and are huge when guiding young women, especially when it comes to career choices. So how do I do it?

By coding like a girl.

In 2016, the Code Like a Girl party made its debut in our district. It’s an afternoon of celebrating women in computer science. Inspired by Made with Code, a site created by Google, Code Like a Girl teaches our district’s young women in grades one through eight how to code during workshops and collaborative sessions.

Picture3

We’ve met speakers from Google and Epic Systems, been inspired by stories of real women working in the software industry, crafted binary necklaces and made many friends. It’s truly important and inspiring to see our girls learning vital skills in an environment where they’re interacting positively with each other and having fun.

At Code Like a Girl, our young women have:

  • Met special guests from Google, Epic Systems and Filament Games
  • Learned how to use HTML to create webpages
  • Explored how to prepare for jobs in the computer software industry

Student-coded website

We’re in the process of building a middle school program with Girls Who Code, a national organization that empowers young women to pursue computer science and engineering.

While creating these initiatives in our district, I’ve learned some key takeaways:

Be present.

Girls need the encouragement and presence of female role models that work in the computing field. It’s the most effective way we’ll get more women interested in tech jobs.

Trying is more important than succeeding.

The learning process is benefited most when students show up and try. It’s not about the end result at the finish line. The real benefit is if they learned a programming language or grew during the process.

Build your program from the bottom up.

We started small and used the devices available to us. We are persistent in our mission to get more girls excited about computer science and all the doors it can open for them.

Don’t give up!

I am always learning new things myself while teaching, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I may not be an expert coder, but I can encourage students and be a confident role model for problem solving and perseverance.

That may be the most important way to code like a girl.

May 9, 2017

Why We Appreciate Teachers on National Teachers’ Day

"The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth." - Dan Rather

Teachers are introduced in our lives at an early age to help guide us as we grow and mature. The countless teachers we are exposed to in our lifetime shapes our minds and helps us discover our passions, strengths and weaknesses. Their professional efforts change the world by creating the presidents, doctors, lawyers, policemen and engineers of tomorrow. They teach us not only about important subjects, but about life lessons that help us understand the world. Most of all, they inspire us to follow our dreams and to never give up. 

From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you to the teachers that have helped us, to the teachers that are helping the future and to the teachers that we are lucky enough to work with every day.

This National Teachers’ Day, members of the Squirrels team reflect on the teachers that have had a positive impact on their lives. 

Emily Carle Hafer, Alpha Squirrels Program Manager: 

“I have a love of reading today because of the positive learning environment provided for me in elementary school. I remember my teacher, Miss Ruth, reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” out loud to the class, which turned me into a Harry Potter fan for life and a fervent reader. Outside of our read-aloud time, I was picking up every book I could, which I still do today!”

Becky Shiring, Director of Professional Development and Continued Learning: 

“Hands down, the teacher that had the largest impact on my life was Rick Tubman, my high school field hockey coach. He wasn’t my teacher in the traditional sense, but he was also an elementary educator. When I expressed an interest in becoming a teacher, he let me volunteer in his 5th grade class. He knew how to find the strength in every player and every student and then use that strength to help them excel. He helped even the most timid students and players believe in themselves. He inspired teamwork and empowered others to become leaders themselves, which is what true leadership is. I learned about the type of leader and teacher I wanted to be from Mr. Tubman. It’s no surprise that he’s a school principal now.” 

Alissa McGill, Developer Relations Engineer:

“To Ms. Filliez for teaching me to pay attention to detail by mercilessly taking off points for misspelling French words and missing accent marks in her class. To Ms. Filliez for teaching me creativity with projects that required us to put on fashion shows, present mock weather forecasts and write and illustrate our own storybooks. To Ms. Filliez for rewarding good grades on exams with free homework passes and challenging us not to use them even after we had worked so hard to earn them. To you Ms. Filliez, a teacher whom I will remember long after I have forgotten how to speak French.”

Joe McCulty, Business Analyst:

“The teacher who has most positively impacted my life was Sue Bugansky, my Spanish teacher of three years. In addition to teaching me Spanish, I also learned more about the English language from her than any other teacher. Beyond that, she gave me my first real glimpse of the world beyond the familiar bubble of my rural high school. Part of that comes with the territory - it is a foreign language - but Señora B was particularly suited for this task. She has seen so much and experienced so much of the world. Hearing stories, seeing pictures and holding souvenirs from the person teaching you makes a huge impression.

I’m not the only one who has been impacted by her. All her students were automatically members of Spanish Club. She would have the senior students organize events at one of the nearby Mexican restaurants every couple of weeks. Spanish Club was a great boon to students who didn’t normally sign up for extracurricular activities. Señora B has since retired, but the Spanish Club tradition lives on. A good group of her former students still calls her up to plan new events, including paella days! She’s pretty much the coolest.”

Happy National Teachers' Day to all the teachers of the world! You make learning fun and that’s a reason to celebrate you every day. 

October 29, 2013

September Got Swag? Winners

Last month, we asked you how you used Reflector and AirParrot. We’ve gathered the most interesting and creative stories for you below. 

An integral part of football.

Christian is a network administrator for a credit union in California. He uses Reflector for training and presentations in their boardroom. They also have several employees who work remotely and can attend meetings using Facetime broadcast through the boardroom PC and projector. Remote attendees can see and hear the meeting through Facetime, and employees in the boardroom can see and hear the remote user’s input via the Reflector set up.

In addition to Christian’s network administrator job, he is also a high school football coach. He bought a copy of Reflector for his school after using it at work. When his team plays a game, the first half of that game is recorded. At halftime the head coach grabs the iPad and goes through the film that was just recorded to make adjustments on both offense and defense.

“The film is projected on the wall and we are able to see mistakes and opportunities that we might have missed until the next day’s film session,”he said.

In the first three games using this practice, Christian’s team scored 64 points in the second half while giving up only seven.

“Reflector has played a huge part in our success. We now use it in our Saturday film sessions as well, as it allows the head coach to move freely throughout the film room rather than being locked down to the desk with the PC that is projecting the game film.”

Flip the classroom.

Krystle, a teacher in Utah, uses Reflector in her classroom. She likes not being tied to the projector or computer with wires, and she explained that when using Reflector with certain applications, Reflector can be extremely valuable.

“I have the power to navigate wirelessly and to teach actively. Reflector changed my life.”

An unconventional use.

Nicholas, an iOS developer in California, uses Reflector to demo applications he’s made and to create tutorials for iOS. He also used Reflector in a rather unconventional way.

 “I felt something fall inside of my ear. I used the camera on the iPhone and airplayed it to reflector to checkout the inside of my ear.”

QA made easy. 

Evan is a quality assurance engineer in New York. Reflector is a crucial part of his position. It allows him to easily capture processes and review a lot of data that’s captured over extended periods of time.

 How did you do that?

Patti is a middle school librarian in Massachusetts. She uses Reflector to display student work on iPads to a whiteboard. Patti currently has 27 iPads under her supervision. Her first thought when using Reflector was, “Let’s see how much the software and the network can take before I bring it to its knees.”  

After showing one student how to start mirroring, the library erupted with, “How did you do that?”

“Even the most uninterested students were sitting there with their mouths open,” Patti said. 

After discovering more than one device could connect at once, Patti asked all of her students to connect to AirPlay. Patti was able to connect ten students before there was any issue.

She also tried using Google Docs on multiple devices.

“The kids loved how two people could work on one document at the same time. Talk about engaging, huh?”

Video conferencing from any room in the house.

Luis, a software engineer in San Francisco, CA, works remotely. He uses AirParrot to extend his display to a television while he uses video conferencing software. Using a tv as a wireless display means he can work from anywhere in his house! Check out Luis using his TV as a monitor.

Present without wires.

Khiem is a creative director in Florida. He uses AirParrot to show creative work and presentations. His office uses AirParrot for easy presentation from multiple users.

“It’s great as there are six people in the office, and during a meeting we are able to just throw items up on the TV.”

Stream your favorite shows.

Perry uses AirParrot when watching TV shows. He keeps his computer in another room and streams shows wirelessly.

“It makes marathoning a series easy.”

AirPlay, even on Windows!

Bobby is a programmer in Florida. He uses AirParrot to stream content from Windows 8 tablets to a bigger screen. Bobby streams movies and educational content for his toddler.

Cut the cord.

Joonas replaced his cable TV programming with AirParrot.  He streams online content from networks like NBC and CBS to his TV without the need for wires or cable programming. He has also paired AirParrot with a wireless keyboard and mouse to turn his TV into a remote display.

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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!