The orange ribbons atop four large boxes containing Amazon’s donation of 40 Kindles to the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind didn’t last long when students tore into their gifts Wednesday.
Greg Phillips, general manager of Amazon’s new $50 million fulfillment center in Spartanburg, said his organization wanted its first community outreach donation to be to the school that has been serving children for 163 years.
“We love to have the opportunity to give back to the community, and we’ve heard from educators across the country how much students love the Kindles and how excited they are to learn with them,” Phillips said, “A foundational component of Amazon’s corporate philosophy is education—inspiring young people to reach their full potential. And that’s exactly what the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind has been doing since it began in 1849″.
“Technology is changing the way we live and the ways we teach,” added SC School for the Deaf and the Blind President Maggie Park. “These Amazon Kindles will open up brand new doors of opportunity for our students”.
Students also received $2,500 in gift cards to download resources to the new devices.
“The Kindles have several features that make them user-friendly for disabled students, including text-to-speech and large print,” said Tony Merriweather, an associate teacher of technology at the school. “One of the biggest advantages of the Kindle is accessibility,” Merriweather said. Instead of waiting for an audio book or large print edition, blind students can have the same resources as their cohorts and use them immediately.
The stigma of disability begins to fade when all students are working with the same equipment to learn the same things, said Clay Jeffcoat, access technology specialist at the school. In some cases, students with disabilities learn the devices better than their non-disabled peers and are able to instruct them on using the technology.
“A blind kid finds a kindle just as cool as a sighted kid does,” Jeffcoat said.