Tablet issues continue for Guilford County Schools

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Guilford County Schools suspended its tablet program October 4 and on Tuesday it released numbers to go along with the decision.

The District asked for the return of 15,000 Amplify tablets that had been distributed to 18 of 24 middle schools.

Of those 15,000:

  •  2100 had cracked screens
  •  2100 had broken connections between the detachable keyboard and the tablet
  •  500 had chargers with broken or frayed cords
  •  9 had charges that showed heat damage, some to the point of melting.

According to Chief of Staff Nora Carr, some 300 tablets are still out there, and GCS is attempting to get them back. GCS is also in talks with Amplify and Amplify's manufacturer, Asus, to fix the tablet issues.

The District's executive director of instructional technology, Dr. Jake Henry, said GCS expected a much more durable product than it got.

"We realized there must be something else going on here besides just normal wear and tear that a middle school student would have using a tablet," Dr. Henry said.

According to Dr. Henry, the school district's contract with Amplify provides that Amplify will replace as much as 20 percent of the tablets a year if they break. That would be 3,000 tablets. The district suspended the program when it realized it was approaching that number too rapidly.

"We definitely saw that tablets were breaking at a higher rate than we previously anticipated," Dr. Henry said.

The details of how GCS will move forward are still being worked out. The District may roll out fewer tablets, and it may also not allow students and teachers to take their tablets home.

"I don't think it's ever too late to reflect on the way that you roll out an initiative, and if there's a better way to do this as we re-launch, we certainly will," Dr. Henry said.

Henry said the district is still committed to incorporating this type of technology in the future.