– iPads are magical learning machines, but kids also need real keys to write proficiently.

– TextBlade brings state-of-the-art typing to iPad, while preserving all of its simplicity and fun.

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — WayTools today announced a $1,000,000 TextBlade grant program for elementary schools in need. 10,000 TextBlades will be provided at no cost to early education schools serving at-risk youth.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150128/171932

iPad in the Classroom

Apple’s iPad is the most compelling educational computer ever created. It is fundamentally different from all other machines – unmatched in its simplicity, intimacy, and power to engage young minds. Teachers see startling results from the rich interactive media made possible by iPad, which invites students to explore knowledge like nothing ever before it.

For most children today though, this amazing platform isn’t yet part of their school experience. A significant barrier exists relating to writing. Teachers know well that writing proficiency in modern times is still very much linked to the ability to touch type. Absent a physical keyboard that can be operated without looking, writing slows, and cerebral focus diminishes.

For want of keys … many schools have to settle for bargain laptops, instead of the state-of-the-art iPad learning platform. This problem is large, and schools are yearning for a better way to leverage iPad’s advances, while also teaching their kids to touch type fluently.

TextBlade

Now, a new technology called TextBlade resolves this dilemma, and transforms iPad into the most advanced and engaging platform on which to learn the craft of writing.

TextBlade is an entirely new class of touch-typing device, that preserves the classical QWERTY keymap, modernized with new technology for the Tablet Era. It blends the luxurious feel of high quality mechanical keys, with the MultiTouch precision we love in our smartphones. All in a patented, magical new combination.

TextBlade is a simpler and faster way for kids to learn QWERTY.  Ultra-smart keys, one for each finger, make it far easier to strike characters with the right finger.  All of the keys are arranged with full 19mm standard finger spacing, and have more key travel than a MacBook Pro.

TextBlade’s innovative MultiLayer Key technology brings all rows within easy reach, even for the hands of a six year old child. Its wrist-friendly design and ultra-low surface profile (even slimmer than an iPhone 6) are ergonomically superior to laptops, and desktop keyboards.

Astonishingly, TextBlade is so compact, it can easily fit in a child’s pencil pouch.

Keys for Kids Grants

WayTools found the iPad typing problem in elementary education was so acute and so widespread, the company decided to do something about it. WayTools created a new grant program for elementary schools called "Keys for Kids".

"Talking with teachers and administrators, we found a surprising ambivalence," explained Mark Knighton, CEO of WayTools. "They loved what iPad did for the dynamic in their classrooms, but they also worried about kids losing the competency to write if they exclusively pecked on glass." Knighton continued, "Improvements only come when someone takes action, so we started Keys for Kids. Particularly at the start of their lives, a child’s first experience must not begin in fear of an unwieldy machine, but instead through discovering delight in the act of writing. Writing should be a simple, wonderful sensory experience, so that children find it fascinating and fun."

At the launch of TextBlade, WayTools set up a matching donation program, to reach its goal of granting 10,000 TextBlades. As orders for TextBlade swelled from over 70 countries, in less than two days, the entire Keys for Kids mission was fully endowed.

WayTools is now reviewing applications for grants to be awarded this summer. WayTools awards grants based on merit, after reviewing the efficacy of results that schools have achieved with limited resources. Schools in need with current iPad programs may apply for a TextBlade grant by writing to edu@waytools.com.

York Academy

York Academy Regional Charter School serves students of diverse ethnicity, as well as families with a wide range of incomes in York, Pennsylvania. Lead by James Pastore, York Academy creates an atmosphere of hope and confidence for its students and parents. It has earned authorization as an International Baccalaureate School, by meeting IB standards for an academically rigorous, inquiry-based approach to education. yorkacademy.com

York Academy applied for and merited a Keys for Kids grant from WayTools, and this summer every York student’s iPad will be equipped with a TextBlade at no cost. In seeking the grant, Mr. Pastore remarked: "iPads invite kids to learn through fun, without the intimidation of 80 buttons. But to write with fluency, touch-typing is still a must. TextBlade’s simplicity completes the iPad, without spoiling the fun. It’s the paradigm shift we’ve been hoping for, combining the intuitive nature of the iPad, with the means to write at the speed of our thoughts."

Knighton explained some of WayTools’ considerations in awarding a grant to York Academy: "If you listen to Jim’s story, it is hard not to be moved. What he achieves for his community with limited resources is extraordinary. Jim lives by Margaret Mead’s maxim: ‘Teach how to think, not what to think.’ That selfless ethic defines Jim’s work, and manifests the magnificence of Teaching. The generous quest by teachers to enlighten society’s next generation should give pause to us all. Whatever help each of us can offer, large or small, we should gratefully give." said Knighton.

About WayTools

WayTools builds consumer technology where imagination drives compelling leaps forward.

WayTools co-founder Mark Knighton, is also CEO of NextEngine, the #1 best-selling 3D Laser Scanner manufacturer. NextEngine is used by more schools and universities than any other 3D Scanner. The team’s deep engineering culture spans diverse disciplines, and decades of experience in design, development, and manufacturing. WayTools builds products that solve big problems – with intelligent architecture, a passion for design, and beauty in the details. WayTools is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Beach, in Santa Monica, California.

Typed on TextBlade