The Writer


Fusion

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Frequently Asked Questions: The Writer and Fusion Keyboards
manufactured by Advanced Keyboard Technologies Inc.

 

This FAQ page includes information about both The Fusion keyboard and the manufacturer's original product, The Writer.  Both keyboards are very similar and, where necessary, I've tried to indicate where there are specific differences. 

 


 

 

 

 

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How does the new Fusion compare with the portable keyboards that have been in districts for over three years?

What kind of battery does Fusion use, how often does it need to be charged, and how much does it cost?

How long will The Writer run on one set of batteries?

Is it possible for teachers to maintain progress reports of their students' keyboarding exercises and speed tests?

When a student transmits his personal writing from the Fusion keyboard, it doesn't automatically include the "Score" for that particular document. Why is that different from The Writer, which does send the document's Score? 

Are The Writer and Fusion only available as QWERTY keyboards? Are there plans to make them available with the more modern Dvorak layout?

Are AKT keyboards 100% Vista compatible?

Does the Fusion come in other colours?

Can The Writer or Fusion be used as a "wireless keyboard" that transmits keystrokes directly to a computer screen in real time?

Does AKT supply anything to lessen the amount of reflection that sometimes appears on the large Fusion display?

How do teachers customize or add to the Good Writing Checklists on the Fusion keyboard?

How do students access the writing checklists?

What exactly does the warranty cover?

Are there any keys or keyboard shortcuts that allow the user to move quickly to different parts of a large document?

Is it possible to erase all data on a keyboard by using an initialization sequence?

Is it possible to change text attributes (bold, underline, italics, font types, etc.) on either The Writer or Fusion? And can either keyboard properly display the character accents that are often used in other languages such as French or Spanish?

Is it possible to transfer an image file to a Compact Flash card, view it on the Fusion screen, transfer it back to a computer, and then print it in colour with no loss to the image?

Are there any training modules available-perhaps in the form of whiteboard or smartboard seminars-that districts/schools can use for Professional Development?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How does the new Fusion compare with the portable keyboards that have been in districts for over three years?
Among other things, it comes with a larger display screen, more space for students and documents, pre-installed word prediction software, text to speech, password protected student desktops, one-touch font size change, memory expansion port, and many more improvements that can be seen in my video tutorials.  

What kind of battery does Fusion use, how often does it need to be charged, and how much does it cost?

a) Every Fusion keyboard is powered by a Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable battery that provides approximately 24 hours of "use time" on a full charge. This means that, in most classroom situations, it needs only to be plugged in and re-charged once per week. Most of the current Fusion users are just plugging them in on Fridays so they're ready to go the next week. 

b) The rechargeable battery is included with every new Fusion keyboard. Should it ever be necessary, replacing this rechargeable battery is a simple procedure and the battery cost will be approximately $10.

Note: NiMH batteries have a life of approximately 400 charge cycles. They do not need to be fully discharged before recharging although occasional discharging may be beneficial.


How long will The Writer run on one set of batteries?

The Writer runs for approximately 300 hours on three good quality AA alkaline batteries. A "LOW BATTERY" signal will be displayed when batteries become low. The batteries can be changed at any time without loss of file data.


Is it possible for teachers to maintain progress reports of their students' keyboarding exercises and speed tests?

Please see the attached sample report. For both The Writer and Fusion keyboards, individual student progress reports are easily transferred from the pre-installed typing tutor software by pointing the keyboard toward the I/R receiver and pressing the Send button. From there, teachers are able to either print the reports on paper or store them in their student record database.


When a student transmits his personal writing from the Fusion keyboard, it doesn't automatically include the "Score" for that particular document. Why is that different from The Writer, which does send the document's Score? 

The scoring program in both The Writer and Fusion is designed to help motivate students to write and is intended to be used as a formative assessment tool that students themselves can use for immediate feedback. Because most teachers prefer to do their own summative evaluations of student writing, the new Fusion keyboard does not include Scores in the sending routine.

Are The Writer and Fusion only available as QWERTY keyboards? Are there plans to make them available with the more modern Dvorak layout?

Currently, only the QWERTY layout is available for The Writer and Fusion. 

The Fusion keyboard is designed to provide maximum upward compatibility with ongoing technological changes. Should general user demand for the Dvorak layout increase significantly, a software upgrade will be made available and Fusion users will be able to install it themselves via the built-in Compact Flash memory expansion port and individually removable ("pop-off/on") keys. 


Are AKT keyboards 100% Vista compatible?

Yes. The Writer and Fusion run with proprietary operating systems that are specifically designed for special needs and education. Because there is a vast diversity of technology being used in these areas, Advanced Keyboard Technologies (AKT) has designed its products to include full backward and forward compatibility.


Does the Fusion come in other colours?

No, not yet. This is because manufacturing it in additional colours would drive up production and inventory control costs, and subsequently increase the price. The Fusion is a new product and AKT wants it to be available to as many students as possible. 


Can The Writer or Fusion be used as "wireless keyboards" that transmit keystrokes directly to a computer screen in real time?

No. During the research and development process for each of these keyboards, this was not one of the features that educators had indicated as a priority on their "wish-lists."


Does AKT supply anything to lessen the amount of reflection that sometimes appears on the large Fusion display?

No, however many computer stores sell anti-glare film for computers which, in certain circumstances, could be easily trimmed to fit over top of the Fusion display screen.

How do teachers customize or add to the Good Writing Checklists on the Fusion keyboard?

To access special "teacher only" functionality teachers need to access the "Super User" mode by turning the Fusion on and pressing Ctrl/Alt-P. In this mode, teachers can easily add to or edit the nine checklists that are included with every new Fusion. They can also change student passwords at any time, thus making it easy to manage all available student desktops (maximum of 16). 


How do students access the writing checklists?

Students can easily select the appropriate Writing Checklist by pressing Alt-C. The Fusion keyboard automatically "remembers" the last one that was used by the student, thus making it unnecessary for a student to select one every time. If desired, the writing checklists can also be turned off completely.


What exactly does the warranty cover?


The Writer Warranty
"Advanced Keyboard Technology, Inc. warrants The Writer and display to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of five years from the date of original purchase. During this period, if a defect should occur, AKT Inc. will, at its option, repair or replace The Writer at no charge. The Writer must be returned during the warranty period to AKT Inc. This warranty is invalid if The Writer has been damaged by abuse, accident or modification. There are no other warranties, express or implied."

Fusion Warranty
"Advanced Keyboard Technology, Inc. warrants the Fusion and display to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of three years from the date of original purchase. During this period, if a defect should occur, AKT, Inc. will, at its option, repair or replace the Fusion at no charge. The Fusion must be returned during the warranty period to AKT, Inc. This warranty is invalid if the Fusion has been damaged by abuse, accident or modification."

These warranties include the keyboards as well as the peripherals that come with them (infrared receivers, a/c adapters, etc.).


Are there any keys or keyboard shortcuts that allow the user to move quickly to different parts of a large document?

Yes, the Home, End, PgUp and PgDn keys work the same as in a Microsoft Word document. The key combinations of Ctrl-Home and Ctrl-End also work the same as in a Word document. 

Furthermore, on the Fusion, you can turn "Keyboard Repeat" on or off just by pressing the Alt-R combination.

Is it possible to erase all data on a keyboard by using an initialization sequence?

a) The Writer: Yes, this sequence is explained on page 10 of the user manual.

b) The Fusion: by entering Super User mode, teachers can change or remove student passwords, then simply use the "Delete" key to erase the student data that is no longer needed.

Note: Accessing Super User mode requires the use of one of the 16 master passcodes that are printed on page 8 of the Fusion user manual.

Is it possible to change text attributes (bold, underline, italics, font types, etc.) on either The Writer or Fusion? And can either keyboard properly display the character accents that are often used in other languages such as French or Spanish?

Not yet, but it will be possible to provide that capability on the Fusion because it has the large, clear graphics capable screen and the Compact Flash memory expansion port.


Is it possible to transfer an image file to a Compact Flash card, view it on the Fusion screen, transfer it back to a computer, and then print it in colour with no loss to the image?

With Fusion's large, clear graphics capable screen, this will be possible in the future. Additional programming is needed to enhance the Compact Flash memory expansion port and, once that has been developed and tested, it will possible to download an upgrade from the AKT website and install it via the memory port.


Are there any training modules available-perhaps in the form of whiteboard or smartboard seminars-that districts/schools can use for Professional Development?

Yes!  Click here to view the latest tutorials.  Also, there is a PowerPoint walkthrough presentation available here.. Fortunately, these keyboards are so well designed that, even with little or no formal training, most users can intuitively master most of the key functions.