February 19, 2018

Squirrels Strengthens OETC Partnership at APDX and IPDX

The ingredients for a successful EdTech conference:

  1. A relevant theme
  2. Top EdTech speakers
  3. Fun, like-minded educators

AcceleratED (APDX) and IntegratED (IPDX) meet all three.

APDX and IPDX are annual events hosted by the Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum (OETC) in Portland, Oregon that focus on administrators and EdTech leaders.

Related: How Schools Save on ClassHub: OETC Edition

Relevant theme

Technology integration is a hot topic in schools around the country, so it’s no surprise that this year’s conferences focus on technology integration strategies. As educators look to understand the pedagogy of technology, integration can often be a challenge.

Here’s a thought from “10 Big Ideas for Technology Integration by Tony Vincent to get you started: Technology is integrated well when instruction is modified to meet the needs of the digital-age learner.

Top EdTech speakers

EdTech speakers offer insight, expertise, tools, tips and even a laugh or two to inspire attendees to reach their goals. Their powerful messages propel attendees forward and show them a different way of thinking that empowers and excites the idea of change.

One speaker we’d like to highlight in particular is our friend Leslie Fisher. Leslie is the director of Fisher Technologies, Inc., and the creator and operator of lesliefisher.com. She’s a former K–12 systems engineer for Apple who now consults, trains and presents with educators around the world.

We’re lucky enough to co-present with her to spread the word about Squirrels and our classroom device management and monitoring technology. Find our session information below. 

Wednesday, February 21 – APDX
Device Management for Administrators
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Cascade C

Thursday, February 22 – IPDX
How to Make Student Devices Teacher Friendly
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Cascade C

Like-minded educators

When you surround yourself with educators that inspire you, support you, challenge you and ultimately make you a better person/teacher, your conference experience becomes all the more rewarding.

APDX and IPDX are committed to offering a supportive community of educators who are all working together to improve education. Workshops are designed to be small, personalized environments where educators can teach and learn collaboratively.

Final thoughts

Whether you’re attending to see us co-present with Leslie, collaborate with your colleagues or hear industry leaders speak, we’d love to meet you! Although the Squirrels team won’t have a booth, we’ll be there to learn, connect and educate.

And remember…if you’re a member of OETC, you’re eligible for a discount on our classroom technology! Ask us more at one of our sessions or if you see us around!

March 14, 2017

How to Stream March Madness to Your Television

 MarchMadness.jpg

The occasional downside to cord cutting is figuring out how to watch the shows you want to enjoy live on your TV. It’s just a matter of figuring out where to watch and making sure you use the right streaming service.

If you’re here in anticipation of the upcoming March Madness games, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are no shortages of ways for cord cutters to watch every March Madness game on TV. While many of these services will also offer mobile viewing, this article will focus specifically on TV streaming. 

The March Madness App
The March Madness app usually requires a cable login, but if you want to watch the CBS games without being a cable subscriber, you can. Without a login, you get three-hours free for the other games, too. It’s important to note that if you want to watch the CBS games without cable, you usually have to watch on mobile devices or on a computer. Watching on TV generally requires a cable login. However, there are some work-arounds to this.

Using your computer, just go to the March Madness Live site like you would to watch the game. From there, you can wirelessly send the games from yoru computer to your TV using AirParrot software on your computer. AirParrot allows you to wirelessly display your computer screen on a Reflector-enabled device like Amazon Fire TV. You could also use AirParrot to send your computer screen to Apple TV or Chromecast. Note, if you’re looking to try this on your Roku, it won’t work at this time. 

CBS All Access
CBS All Access is another option if you want to watch CBS games on your TV. All Access is $6 a month and 80% of the country receives live stream access. On-demand access is also available. Roku, Chromecast and other streaming devices will work to allow you to watch on your TV. You get a free week trial, too. Of course, you can watch all of these games free with the March Madness app, so this may not even be necessary for you.

PlayStation Vue
The one streaming service to offer all four channels in one place is PlayStation Vue. You can watch using your PS3 or PS4, Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV. The base package starts at $30/month and includes CBS (in 80 markets), TNT, truTV and TBS, among other channels. Vue includes mobile restrictions, but that won’t cause a problem with streaming on your home TV. You also have access to a cloud-based DVR to record any games you might miss and a free one-week trial if you’re a new member.

Sling TV
Sling TV offers a couple of different options, but none of them include CBS. You can watch TNT, TBS and truTV with the service, though. You can choose the Sling TV Blue package with 40 channels including these three for $25/month or the Sling TV Orange package with the Comedy Plus Extra package, which also totals $25/month. Whichever you choose, if you’re an Amazon Fire TV user, you can pay $5 more to get access to a DVR. A seven-day trial will kick off your membership and you can watch on TV using all the popular streaming devices like Roku and Chromecast.

DIRECTV NOW
DIRECTV NOW provides access to TNT, TBS and truTV in its $35/month base package. This includes 60 channels and the ability to watch March Madness games on Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. Roku access is not currently available. Like with the other streaming services, you get one free week at the beginning of your membership.  

If you’re a cord cutter planning to watch March Madness on your TV using streaming services, these are your best options. All of them will allow you to watch a mix of all the games at a price you can afford.

How To Stream March Madness To Your Television is a guest post from Chris Brantner of CutCableToday.com

July 20, 2016

Meet The Conference Screen-Sharing Solution You’ve Been Waiting For

Do you remember the last conference presentation you attended that didn’t include a visual aid? Neither do we!

Conference CenterEvery good speaker has a captivating stage presence and a thoughtful visual aid to accompany their words. Whether it’s PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or something else, the presenter almost always needs to share what’s on their laptop with the audience.

This presents a problem for the average convention center or conference room. Is the presenter using a Mac or PC? Does the room have compatible connectors and cables to display the presenter’s screen? How about wireless capabilities? Does the room have an Apple TV or a Chromecast?

With the Ditto screen-sharing service, presenters don't have to worry about any of that. Ditto makes screen sharing in conference rooms and meeting spaces simple and consistent.

What’s Ditto?
Ditto is a cloud-based service that brings unlimited and completely wireless screen-sharing capabilities to any room containing an Apple TV or Chromecast. It can be explained in two steps.

  1. Sign Up
    When you sign up for Ditto, the Apple TV or Chromecast in each room you are registering receives a unique connection code. How? Using our simple Ditto Configuration Tool. Trust us – you don’t have to be a tech genius to do this. We made the configuration tool to be used by the common professional. This configuration process is repeated for each room containing an Apple TV/Chromecast that needs registered.
  1. Begin sharing your Mac/PC screen
    After registering a room, sharing a Mac or PC screen to the Apple TV/Chromecast-connected display is easy. Anyone who needs to share their screen can simply visit connect.goditto.com and enter the unique room code. Since each code is tied to a specific Apple TV/Chromecast, it automatically knows which screen a user is trying to share their computer screen to.
    Ditto Connect Page July 2016After pressing “Launch,” Ditto will quickly save a one-time download to the user’s computer. Ditto will then give the user an option to either share their entire computer display or just a specific application (such as PowerPoint, an Internet browser, a photo app, etc.) to the big screen. When the user is done sharing their screen, they close the Ditto application and the one-time download is wiped from their computer.

Ditto is completely wireless. Presenters no longer have to fuss with those tangled, incompatible and confusing connection wires or cords often required to share content to the big screen. They also don’t need special software on their computer to connect wirelessly. That ability is built into the Ditto screen-sharing service.

Speaking of sharing content to the big screen, anyone can do it! A yearly subscription to Ditto is priced per room, not per user. Presenters, guests, employees – anyone – can immediately share their computer screen simply by entering the room code at connect.goditto.com because Ditto is completely unlimited.

Cross-platform connections
You may have realized this by now, but presenters are not bound by their computer brand in Ditto-powered rooms. Presenters using Macs can wirelessly share their screen to Apple TV OR Chromecast. Presenters using PCs can wirelessly share their screen to Chromecast OR Apple TV.

Presenters with iOS/Android phone and tablets
So what if speakers want to present from their iOS or Android device in a room that has the Ditto screen-sharing service? If Ditto is registered in a room with an Apple TV, then speakers can still present from iOS devices natively using AirPlay. If Ditto is registered in a room with a Chromecast, then speakers can present from Android devices and Chromebooks natively using Google Cast.

Reflector 2
The only perceived limitation is iOS devices in rooms with a Chromecast and Android devices in rooms with an Apple TV. This issue is resolved if the conference room or speaking hall has our Reflector AirPlay/Cast receiving software ($14.99) installed on an in-room computer. Reflector allows presenters to wirelessly display their Android, iOS and Chromebook screens onto a Mac or PC. If the Reflector-enabled computer is connected to an external display, the speaker can present from his or her mobile device.

Ditto screen sharing
Questions? We’re happy to answer all of them! Leave us a comment in the comment section below or contact our sales team.

Or, to bring the Ditto screen-sharing service to your conference hall today, visit www.goditto.com.

March 22, 2016

How Startups Can Compete Against Tech Titans

Apple released its long-anticipated iOS 9.3 update to iPhone and iPad users yesterday, bringing great joy to consumers and cautious optimism to app developers.

Each new iOS iteration has the potential to open a new realm of possibilities for developers. It could also collapse their business overnight by introducing a native solution that renders their app useless.

It happens so often that it’s known in the tech world as “getting Sherlocked,” a reference to a 2002 Apple update that made the Watson search program obsolete.

Getting Sherlocked is often considered a death sentence, but is that always true? In the case of AirParrot, the first app that allowed users to wirelessly display and stream content from their computer to Apple TV and Chromecast, it was an opportunity.

AirParrot was released by Squirrels LLC on February 15, 2012. Apple announced its native AirPlay solution for Mac on February 16, 2012. Sherlocked.

Apple’s iOS devices had previously been able to mirror to Apple TV, but this was the first Apple release that allowed MacBook computers to do it. The new mirroring solution from one of the world’s biggest tech companies directly competed for market share with AirParrot, an app created by a small startup.

AP 1

This story is common in the tech industry. Major companies unveil native solutions that directly compete with preexisting technology from smaller, privately held companies. The long list of Sherlocked products includes the following recent highlights:

  • 2016: F.lux, with the release of Apple’s Night Shift
  • 2015: Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, after the release of Apple Music
  • 2014: Dropbox, after the release of Apple iCloud Drive
  • 2013: 1Password, after the release of Apple iCloud Keychain

It’s easy to understand why less than one percent of apps succeed. Even if all the right market conditions are in place – cost, value, demand – and an app is developed and marketed to perfection, there’s always the possibility that a major tech company will render it obsolete with a competing solution.

But being Sherlocked isn’t always the end. Startups can turn being Sherlocked into an opportunity.

Leverage media coverage
Major tech corporations like Apple, Google and Microsoft are always in the news. A surplus of media coverage accompanies any new product or technology they announce. That media blitz is an opportunity for startups with alternative solutions that add value or serve different markets to gain media coverage.

Timing matters. Demand for news and information about newly announced technology is greatest when one of the major tech players is involved. Startup leaders should offer tech expertise, insight and alternative solutions to gain exposure for their products or services.

Rely on brand advocates
Companies that are in a position to be Sherlocked were in the market first with technology that’s in demand. They likely have a database of customers that includes thought leaders, early tech adopters and most importantly, brand advocates. These consumers can provide product testimonials and reviews. Fellow consumers are much more likely to trust the word of friends, family and people in their network than the word of a company trying to sell a product.

Squirrels took advantage of the AirPlay beta-testing period to grow its AirParrot user base and gain valuable brand advocates.

Differentiate the product
Sherlocked companies need to find ways to show consumers why their product is still relevant. The developer may need to devote resources to explore product enhancements to better compete with the larger corporations.

Three key differentiators separated AirParrot from AirPlay.

  • Availability
    Word spread through tech publications and message boards that there was an AirPlay alternative that was available immediately. Users didn’t have to wait through the AirPlay beta-testing period.
  • Compatibility
    Apple’s AirPlay solution was only available on new Mac models, making AirParrot a more accessible option for Mac and Windows users to mirror content to their Apple TVs.
  • Adaptability
    In addition to compatibility with older Macs, subsequent feature updates further differentiated AirParrot from Apple’s native AirPlay mirroring. Now four years later, AirParrot 2 has bridged the technological divide between MacBooks, Windows computers and Google Chromebooks, allowing users of any of those devices to mirror and stream their computer screens to one or more Chromecasts and Apple TVs simultaneously.

AirParrot is still a market leader in screen-mirroring technology today. It thrives because it’s a simple, cost-effective solution used by educators, developers, businesses and general consumers around the world to wirelessly share screens, test apps, extend desktops, enjoy music and make meeting rooms more collaborative.

So how can a tech startup survive when a tech titan adopts a similar solution? Leverage the inevitable influx of media coverage, rely on pre-existing product advocates to raise awareness and continue to add differentiators that make its product more accessible, compatible and adaptable than competing solutions.

To learn more about AirParrot, visit http://www.airsquirrels.com/airparrot/.

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!

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!