As a start up company, feedback is one of, if not THE most important/valuable information that you can get (aside from funding- but that's another post). I want to start off by thanking all of you parents, educators and friends who have purchased the myPC Stage I Keyboard for Toddlers and Children with special needs. For those of you who haven't made the leap, you can purchase one at http://www.mytechstart.com/ and through a number of our great distributors: http://www.onestepahead.com/, http://www.sensationalbeginnings.com/, and more (please google myPC Stage I Keyboard to see ALL of our awesome distributors- I'm sorry I couldn't list everyone). The more we grow, the more I extend my hand (in support) and ear (to listen) to our consumers.
This past week, I spoke with a mom, Karen S. in Las Vegas, who had some great feedback for me (I think she thought she was speaking with Customer Service at first! It ended up being an awesome convo!). At any rate, in response to many of the questions that have been coming up, I thought I would provide you with a quick update on where we are with product development; provide some additional product instructions; and offer a list of recommended websites for parents of toddlers using the computer (hopefully with myPC!).
First order of business: myPC works with both "PC"s and Macs. The "PC" in the brand name was never intended to alienate our awesome Mac users- just a spin on words (and easy for your tot to say:)!)
Now for your update: The TTS team has been working feverishly on enhancing the myPC Stage I Keyboard- the changes we are working on include a cohesive and more detailed instruction manual, updated packaging, decals to personalize your keyboard and more content partners. A Stage II Keyboard is slated for release next year (you can see an image of it on the mytechstart.com products page). This board will be for children ages 4+. We are also working on a device that will KNOCK kids AND parents socks off (while teaching your child). I cant release many details on the latter two products now (never know who's reading ;)), but I promise you are going to thank me.
OK, instructions. There are basic instructions included in the packaging with your myPC Stage I Keyboard, but many parents have asked how to reprogram the "smart keys" (the little pie of keys to the right of the letters). Please note, I have not tested, nor do I endorse the following link, but it is for a free utility I found called MapKeyboard: http://www.vicman.net/download/7729/. There are many other free keyboard mapping utilities online.
We included the Internet and the Favorites keys so that parents could customize a set of web pages that their children could visit. You can also set the homepage to one of the many free child friendly websites available. There is no period key on the board so they are unable to type in web addresses on their own (we recommend that you keep your keyboard plugged in so you can type web addresses). There are other programs for parents that are downloadable and will further restrict online or local area activities of your child on the computer, NetNanny is one that I am familiar with. There are also Kid friendly browsers that you can access and use to control your child's experience online. One that I have recently reviewed and enjoy is Kidoz.net; but there is also kidrocket.org and kidzui.com.
Here's an idea for parents who use a web browser other than Internet Explorer (Mozilla, etc)- why not install/use IE for your child and customize the favorites key for only the sites they can visit? That way, you dont need to reprogram the keyboard smart keys and when/if the child launches IE, it can go directly to their homepage and the favorites list will ONLY include sites for them? (Karen- this is an idea I think you should consider).
Below is a list of toddler friendly sites (thanks, kidrocket.org!)- most, if not all, have free educational and fun games for you and your toddler:
by Public Broadcasting Service
by Crayola LLC
by Time Warner
by Time Warner
If you have any more questions, links or resources to recommend, or general feedback please comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org!