GREENSBORO — Guilford County Schools' goal to get tablet computers to every one of its 15,000 students is on hold after students reported melted chargers and a 10 percent rate of broken screens.
The system decided earlier this month to shelve the tablets and delay the $3.2 million program until officials can work out the problem with Amplify, a New York-based education technology company that provides the tablets. The students had the tablets for about six weeks.
"It may take a while for us to get tablets back, which is of course disappointing. But when we do this again, we want to make sure we do it right," Guilford County Board of Education Chairman Alan Duncan told the News & Record of Greensboro (http://bit.ly/168OPGc).
One immediate problem that must be fixed is the failure to put more durable glass in the tables. The school district paid extra for a kind of glass called Gorilla Glass, but the tablets were given regular glass, Amplify spokesman Justin Hamilton said.
Amplify buys the tablets from Taiwan-based Asus and is trying to determine why its instructions were not followed, Hamilton said.
Guilford County Schools have reported about 10 percent of the tablets had broken glass, compared to about 2 percent in other districts Amplify has worked with before, Hamilton said.
The school board is reviewing its decision to buy the tablets from Amplify. The company had the lowest bid of $199 a tablet, which included a built-in platform teachers can use for lessons and to get students involved with each other. The Amplify bid was picked over other offers from companies like Apple, Lenovo, Dell, HP and Samsung.
Board member Darlene Garrett, who cast the lone no vote against the Amplify deal, said less than two weeks after the vote the board should have had more information.
"We should have asked for it," she said. "But I think we were in a rush to approve it."