MBS’s Stafford Grant Award in Action—And Glowing Examples of Adaptive Technology

There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new-age technology, but if the teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.
—Former US Senator Nancy Kassebaum

Last spring, Malletts Bay School was awarded the Robert T. Stafford Memorial Enrichment Grant, which was offered by the Vermont chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children in honor of the late Robert T. Stafford, a former Vermont governor and US senator.

Throughout his enduring political career, Stafford tirelessly advocated for efforts in environmental conservation, and he was also long-time champion of education—so much so that Congress renamed the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan program the Robert T. Stafford Student Loan in his honor in 1988. (In that same year, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was signed into law.) As yet another nod to Stafford’s commitment to education, Castleton State College is home to the Robert T. Stafford Center for the Support & Study of the Community.

MBS’s award of over $400 from the Robert T. Stafford Memorial Enrichment Grant was used to purchase four NOOK e-readers—a brand of electronic book reader developed by Barnes & Noble—for use with special education initiatives. The NOOKs are helpful for differently abled students in a number of ways by allowing them to use the various applications built into the devices’ functionality. The students enjoy portable access to skill-building applications, and the devices are highly motivating to the students, which in turn encourages them to engage more comprehensively in their study and assume more ownership of their learning. And because new applications for the NOOK are in development all the time, MBS’s special education team, along with the help of librarian Lynn Hebert, continue to identify new resources to download onto the NOOK. Incorporating NOOKs into the curriculum is yet another way in which MBS responds to individual student needs, particularly those who benefit from assistive technology. Furthermore, use of the NOOKs implements current technology into student learning, which nods to the district’s goal of promoting and supporting the use of technology as an education tool.

MBS’s library also has a NOOK Color™ available to students that was purchased through the PTO and the library’s budget, which gives all MBS students an opportunity to experience an e-reader. Students can even access some of this year’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher titles through the library’s NOOK, and the hope is that students will enjoy reading no matter what the medium.

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