Guilford Co suspends Amplify program; 10% tablets broken & charger melted
Guilford Co NC suspends its Amplify program; 10% tablets are already broken & at least one of the chargers has melted
Will Klein mention this at Monday’s Education Nation on “personalized learning”?
Between this and LA’s iPad debacle, it has been disastrous month for ed tech snake oil.
Guilford County schools suspends tablet program
Posted: Friday, October 4, 2013 8:42 am | Updated: 11:54 am, Fri Oct 4, 2013.
Updated 9:33 a.m.
GREENSBORO − Guilford County Schools has immediately suspended its Amplify tablet program at the 18 middle schools that use them.
Ten percent, or about 1,500, of the 15,000 tablets have been returned to the company for broken screens. One of the chargers also overheated and melted, according to a letter sent out to parents. The school system is not sure if there have been additional problems with chargers, said Cynthia Shah-Khan, spokeswoman with Guilford County Schools.
Students were notified Friday to return the tablets, chargers and cases to the schools. Shah-Khan said students should have the items with them. Although students are allowed to bring the tablets home with them, they are supposed to bring them back to school every day.
An Amplify spokesman wrote in an email to the News & Record that the company is trying to determine if the overheated charger was caused by an electrical problem in the student's home or because of a manufacturing defect.
Justin Hamilton, the company's senior vice president of corporate communications, wrote:
"While the problem occurred with only one of the more than 20,000 ASUS chargers distributed to teachers and students across the country, one instance is too many. Nothing comes before the safety of our students, teachers and their families.
"Out of an abundance of caution, we sent notice to Guilford County School officials last night requesting that Amplify Tablet users in Guilford cease all further use of the ASUS charger until we can determine the cause of the single reported malfunction."
Shah-Khan said the school system is working with Amplify to come up with a solution.
"We've been in contact with Amplify throughout the process," she said.
The district signed a contract with Amplify Access in May to lease the new tablets and began receiving them over the summer.
The school system contracted with Amplify to have protective cases* over the tablets, Shah-Khan said.
The News & Record previously reported that Amplify replaced 220 tablets at their expense because the hard cases were not ready. The school system returned about 80 defective tablets to Amplify.
The tablets were in thin, silicone cases, rather than the hard cases they should be in.
Guilford County Schools is suspending the use of its Amplify tablets, cases, keyboards and chargers, effective immediately, according to a letter sent home to parents.
About 10 percent of the district's 15,000 devices have been returned to Amplify due to broken screens, according to the letter.
We will update this when more information is available.
Contact Sarah Newell Williamson at (336) 373-7076, and follow @snewell on Twitter.
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