Oct. 4, 2013
Guilford County Schools (GCS) has suspended the use of Amplify tablets, cases, keyboards and chargers, effective immediately. GCS made the decision due to ongoing concerns regarding the quality and safety of the products provided to the district by Amplify.
Since the start of the school year, about 10 percent of the district’s 15,000 devices have been returned to Amplify due to broken screens. Schools also have reported problems with approximately 2,000 Amplify-supplied cases.
Yesterday, Amplify executives informed GCS officials that the screens that were installed were not the more damage-resistant screens that Amplify thought had been installed, and that GCS had requested.
In addition, the district recently became aware of a potential safety problem with the tablet chargers. On Wednesday, a student turned in a charger that had overheated, causing the charger’s plastic casing to melt.
On Thursday, GCS decided that the district should suspend use of the devices, particularly the charger, as a safety precaution. Amplify agreed with this decision.
While a certain amount of technology issues are expected during major roll-outs, GCS felt the safety concern required immediate attention. Suspending the use of the devices and chargers will give Amplify and its suppliers an opportunity to properly investigate and work on the issues.
“This is extremely disappointing,” said Maurice O. “Mo” Green, superintendent. “Until this matter has been resolved satisfactorily, we are not moving forward.”
The district’s major concern is with the devices and related equipment, not the academic content and software, according to Jake Henry, executive director of instructional technology.
While GCS awaits further information regarding proposed solutions from Amplify, middle school teachers will continue to deliver instruction to students in other formats.
“We recognize that suspending the program on short notice is going to be disruptive to students, staff and parents, and for that we sincerely apologize,” says Green. “However, I’d rather act with an abundance of caution and err on the side of safety.”
The one-to-one initiative is funded through the district’s federal Race to the Top-District program. GCS was awarded $30 million for its personalized learning program. The district received another $5 million in supplemental grants aligned with the one-to-one initiative.
“We remain committed to personalizing learning and our one-to-one initiative,” said Green. “We need to get these issues resolved quickly so we can continue the good work already underway in our schools.”