Coming Soon in January 2014…ChesterKeys&Case for the iPad Air

DSC_1850At Chester Creek Technologies, staying on top of technology trends is vital to our business and livelihood.  Plus, it’s fun to learn about the changing world of technology!

We are thrilled to announce our latest product innovation – the ChesterKeys&Case for the iPad® Air!

ChesterKeys&Case for the iPad Air features an adjustable Bluetooth keyboard with a rechargeable battery for 120 hours of continuous use.  The new iPad Air case is a soft faux leather case that closes securely with a magnetic clasp keeping all controls, ports, microphones and camera easily accessible.  The Bluetooth keyboard includes all the function keys you would need with an iPad such as, Home, Volume, Search, Internet, Select All and more!

ChesterKeys&Case for the iPad Air is available with Chester Creek’s color-coded keys for improved typing, speed and accuracy, or a black and white keyboard; both with extra-large, bold face font for increased visibility.  The iPad Air will rest securely with its built in, collapsible stand that can be angled for optimal viewing.

Contact us today to preorder your ChesterKeys&Case for the iPad® Air!

Chester Creek Technologies – 888-214-5450

ChesterKeys&Case Air Specifications:

  • Size:   10.39” x 7.17” X 1.22”
  • RoHS & CPSIA Compliant
  • Battery Life:   120 Hours
  • USB Charging Cable included
  • Bluetooth V3.0 compatible with iOS 3.2 and higher
  • Part #  TCK – Air (Black Keys); TCK-C – Air (Colored Keys)

iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple and not included.

iCanConnect

iCanConnectLogoHave you heard of iCanConnect?

iCanConnect is The National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program.  This Federal program ensures individuals who have combined hearing and vision loss access to telephone, advanced communications and information services (like the internet).

The FCC set aside funding to support one program per state plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  iCanConnect provides communications technology free of charge to low-income people of all ages who have combined vision and hearing loss.  Equipment provided can range from hardware or software applications to the varying technology needs of specialized equipment, like screen readers or braille displays.

How do you know if this program is for you?  You may be eligible for this program if you are a person who has combined vision and hearing loss and you cannot afford communication technology that enable you to use telephone, send email or access the internet.  A qualified program specialist will help you identify your equipment needs and train you on how to use it as well.

You can learn more about iCanConnect and watch a wonderful video introduction on the program by visiting their website at www.iCanConnect.org or by calling 1-800-825-4595.

To apply, contact your state’s program. For more information visit: www.fcc.gov/NDBEDP

It’s Sale Time…

wrappingIt is that time of the year when Chester Creek Technologies is all about giving!  We are about to kick off the Holiday season and we are doing it with a bang this year.  Watch for the FIRST sale – a four day sale – to start before Thanksgiving and then ANOTHER 12 DAY, that’s right – 12 day! – sale to start on Cyber Monday, December 2, 2013.  We are passing along many savings to our valued customers and cannot wait to share them with you!  We hope you all take advantage and get the technology gadgets you want for the Holidays.

Happy Holidays from the Chester Creek staff!

Travelin’

The past few months have been a rush of travels for the Chester Creek team and we still have more to come!  We set out to learn more about our customers and find what you want and need.  We have been visiting with our customers and distributors as well as attending a trade show here and there.  Here’s where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to:

August brought us out to Boston, MA, to visit some of our best customers and to a Red Sox game!

In September we visited one of our largest distributors, D & H, and visited with other Pennsylvania customers.

October arrived and we traveled to Mashantucket, Connecticut, for the 9th Annual WB Mason Trade Show and Convention.  It was well attended and we had a blast!  Also, Connecticut has Fall Colors VERY similar to Duluth…just no Lake Superior.

Also in October, we traveled down to North Carolina to visit two education customers.  Another great trip with beautiful scenery like Duluth, but still no Lake Superior.  We really are spoiled up here, aren’t we?!?!

Here’s an idea of what’s to come for our travelin’ gang:

November we travel to Washington, DC, for the 2013 NAEYC Expo & Conference.  NAEYC stands for National Association for the Education of Young Children.  We are excited about this one as a lot of our customers will be here so we will get to visit with them, face to face!

In the New Year, we travel to Orlando, Florida, to attend the 2014 ATIA Conference.  The Assistive Technology Industry Association is a great place for us to be in January.

Lastly, in April we conclude our travels right here in Duluth, MN.  We will be attending the 2014 MACHE Home School Conference & Curriculum Fair.  The Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators is held at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) every year.

Let us know if you’ll be at one these events. We’d be happy to meet you!

Even though we are travelling, we still have a dedicated team at the office working hard to ensure everything runs smoothly!  We love meeting you, our customers, and hearing what you have to say about our products!

Celebrate Our Grandparents

Bill with VB2 whiteNational Grandparents Day is September 8, 2013. It is the first Sunday after Labor Day every year. September was chosen for the holiday to signify the “autumn years” of life.

Some people think of Grandparents Day as a “Hallmark® holiday” made up by the card and flower companies but that is not the case. Grandparents Day was founded by Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade of West Virginia. Her hope was to encourage grandchildren and other youth to tap into the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. McQuade initiated a campaign in 1970 with efforts concentrated on civic, business, church and political leaders statewide. The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore. It then took five years for legislation to pass the proclamation. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation declaring the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Here at Chester Creek Technologies, we are celebrating our grandparents in a different way. VisionBoards are on sale from Tuesday, August 20, 2013 – Friday, September 13, 2013, in honor of Grandparents Day.

It is the 40th anniversary of Grandparents Day and a lot has changed since 1973. Grandparents are now tech-savvy. They like many of the same gadgets as the younger generation. However, some suffer from some sort of vision loss or other conditions that make it difficult to use their fun gadgets and computers. Our large key VisionBoards provide a great alternative to a standard size keyboard and they come in a variety of options like wireless, wired, Bluetooth, black lettering with white keys or vice versa, and yellow keys with black lettering which is great for those with Macular Degeneration or other forms of vision loss. Visit our website below to check out more details and give us a call at 888-214-5450 with any questions you may have.

Chester Creek Technologies Website: http://www.chestercreek.com/assistiveTechnology.html

If you want to read more about Grandparents Day, visit: http://www.grandparents-day.com/

Oh PS – I almost forgot to tell you, there is also a Grandparents Day song. It is written and composed by Johnny Prill of Bad Axe, Michigan. It is called “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa”. Take a listen to it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfp0zFYdJHc

Improve Your Child’s Test Scores

Ready For TestingChester Creek is all about color and kids. Color helps kids learn. It improves memorization and comprehension. It engages students and keeps their attention. Color makes learning less frustrating by breaking up the solid, black field on most keyboards. It helps children better cope with Dyslexia about 85% of the time. These are just some of the reasons why we LOVE color and what we do here at Chester Creek Technologies.

Did you know that standardized testing is starting as early as the 3rd grade? And included in those tests is Keyboarding? But, many schools don’t start teaching keyboarding or touch-typing until middle school, if it is offered at all. To us, that can be frustrating for all involved. The child gets discouraged and loses interest in keyboarding, the parent gets frustrated at the school system, and the educator doesn’t get high test scores which can mean loss of funding. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation.

We believe that proficiency on a keyboard will help with the proficiency on the test scores. There are many advantages to children learning keyboarding at a young age versus later in on middle school, junior high or high school. Some of them include: learning proper finger placement, learning the correct layout, learning touch-typing versus hunt and peck. It is much easier to start teaching them younger with good keyboarding habits then trying to break bad habits that they’ve picked up over time by not taking a keyboarding course.

Chester Creek Technologies offers a variety of beginning keyboards for a parent to start teaching their child or for the educators to place in their classrooms. The LearningBoard is color-coded by vowels, consonants, numbers and function keys. This keyboard is great for learning the very basics. The LessonBoard is color-coded by zone to support state CORE standards for teaching keyboarding/typing and the color-coding supports correct finger placement. This keyboard helps improve precision, speed and accuracy. CCT also designs large key keyboards such as the KinderBoard and MyBoard-lc. Both are great options for a child’s first keyboard.

To learn more about children’s keyboards from Chester Creek visit our website: http://www.chestercreek.com/childrensProducts.html

 

It’s Not the End for Keyboards

Would a company that makes keyboards and mice recommend an article titled The End For Keyboards and Mice?  Yes. Man Hugging Keyboard

BBC Future wrote about the changing ways we interact with computers.  Strangely, The End For Keyboards and Mice doesn’t predict the end of these important tools.

“The mouse and keyboard won’t go away completely as they are an extremely fast and efficient way of interacting with computers,” says David Kurlander, formerly of Microsoft’s User Interface and Graphics Research Group.

Posted in autumn, the article highlights the changing ways people interact with technology.  It shares theories on where this change is going.  One scenario imagines taking existing technology that measures stress levels and using it to assign workloads…or sending your spouse’s call straight to voicemail!

We love technology; that’s a given since Technologies is part of our name.  It’s wonderful seeing how devices evolve.  Yet the fastest way to get what’s on your mind onto the screen is still your keyboard and mouse.

 

Read the BBC Future article here:  http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20121023-the-end-for-keyboard-and-mice

Tablets in Schools

Since the iPad came out, it has become, remained, and grown more popular.  Today, many schools use tablets – both Apple branded and not – in the classrooms for various functions.  These new technologies are finding a particular home in the special ed departments in many districts.  Like computers, touchscreen tablets have been of huge benefit to those who often struggle in school.  With the advent of the PC, we had  not just another medium for research, but a new medium for communication.  For many disabled and struggling individuals, grasping a pencil to write or even speaking may be of considerable difficulty.  Computers can help us bridge the communication gap we sometimes see.
The tablet can take this a step further.  While it may not be idea for quick writing due to the lack of a physical keyboard, the tablet as a technology presents a huge opportunity, especially for the nonverbal kids.  There are loads of apps out there designed not just to engage and educate, but also to assist less verbal user.  Users can click through screens of pictures or words.  Taking works and making them visual can be especially helpful to many autistic students, who are often nonverbal as well as other symptoms.
By adding a keyboard to a tablet, you can make it almost as functional as many full computers, with full typing capabilities and speed, but with more mobility and  a slew of apps, both free and paid.  Chester Creek offers a lovely tablet case with portable, color-coded keyboard.  The color coding can improve typing skills, and is a fun addition to a child’s school supplies.

Technology in the Classroom

While the advent of widespread technology has left huge footprints in the education world, there are a number of ways it can be utilized that haven’t yet been implemented in most school.   In fact, many of the recreational websites and services used everyday can be turned to education.

Take Tumblr for example.  This micro-blogging service has been around since February 2007, and, according to their website:

 

“Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be.”

This can also function as a neat way to save, organize, and share notes and research for school, especially since for upper grades and college, computers are gaining ground on traditional notepads.  Teachers can use it to host resources and to post class syllabi, as well.

Another great organizational tool that can be used for schools is Trello.  Trello lets you track the details of anything a group is working on.  It includes notes, lets you move things to different people, lets you watch deadlines – and it’s all free.  The website describes it as a “whiteboard with superpowers.”  This could be great for teacher to organize a whole classroom, or for students working together on a group project.

Scribblar is a multi-user online whiteboard.  It lets you chat with group-members while revising images or outlines.

Wallwisher is a free website where you can post online notices – due dates, test schedules, assignments, and more.  It also lets you share sites, have discussions, ask questions and get answers,  and generally share or collaborate on a number of projects.

Another of my favorite tech-based learning tools is actually from a very popular video game: Portal.  Teaching with Portals is a website they built in response to teacher demand.  The game Portal lets you play with physics in some very specific ways to complete challenges.  The website includes free lesson plans for teachers to take advantage of, as well as a teachers-forum to share information, ideas, and feedback.

A new Pew study addresses this phenomenon

http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Digital-differences/Overview.aspx?cnn=yes

One in five adults in the US doesn’t use the internet. (I assume this means with any frequency. It would be almost impossible to never use the internet today.) Of those individuals, roughly half of them don’t bother going online because they believe that the internet doesn’t have anything relevant to offer them. They get their information through the TV or newspaper, they make phone calls to keep up with friends and family, they shop in local stores, and they presumably do research only in books.

Other reasons to not use the internet include cost – computers are too expensive – or difficulty.

As you may have guessed, most of these people are older. Almost 60% of US seniors don’t go online. Likewise, about 60% of adults who did not complete high school don’t use the internet. Non-internet users also tend to have lower incomes. Interestingly, ethnicity doesn’t have much to do with it. I say interestingly, because we often see race and socio-economic discussed in studies as being extremely highly correlated. Even more interesting, growth in high-speed/broadband internet adoption is significantly higher among African Americans. They are more likely to be switching to broadband than other groups at this time, though other groups may have a higher percentage who already have broadband.

Mobile phones are making an impact on this number as well. With the internet in a $50 smart phone in yoru pocket, the barriers to internet access dwindle.

My grandfather, until recently, had dial-up. While he did use the internet, it was generally only for checking email or stocks, and not frequently. Now, he has a smart phone and accesses and browses the web daily. Perhaps the most shocking part of this study – for me – was that a good portion of the non-internet-using adult population in the US has never been online. This might explain why they believe it is irrelevant to them. They literally don’t know what they are missing in terms of resources offered.